Friday, March 31, 2023
HomeCricket FaktRichard Thompson pledges to resolve 'worst sport of Jenga' in concentrate on...

Richard Thompson pledges to resolve ‘worst sport of Jenga’ in concentrate on County schedule


New ECB chair Richard Thompson has described the present County schedule as “the worst sport of Jenga ever”, and has promised to make sure the County Championship holds its personal within the jostle with three different codecs within the English season.

Thompson, previously chair at Surrey, started a five-year time period in his position firstly of August. The primary merchandise in his inbox, as he put it in an introductory weblog on the ECB web site, is to push by way of the proposed modifications to the home sport put ahead by the excessive efficiency assessment being overseen by Andrew Strauss, chair of the Efficiency Cricket Committee.

Talking on the Kia Oval on the opening day of the third Check between England and South Africa, Thompson insisted that first-class cricket must be the very best product it might probably presumably be. For that, he says, it wants consistency. Any new schedule will solely be in place for 2024, with subsequent summer season set to comply with the identical sample of 2022.

“I don’t need to diminish the red-ball competitors,” Thompson stated. “For me, it is the gold normal. It is the place you make historical past, the place you outline your profession. However I feel we form of get fixated on quantity and never schedule.

“In the event you knew each championship match goes to start out on the Thursday, there will probably be a rhythm, however our season by no means has a rhythm. Each different sport has a rhythm and a sample to it. And so no matter comes out of this there needs to be a schedule and a rhythm to the season that I’ve not skilled in 12 years.”

That Thompson occupies the place he does now has comforted many county traditionalists. Throughout his chairmanship at Surrey, which started in 2011, he constantly took principled stances in opposition to the ECB, notably in 2018 when he was the one county chair to vote in opposition to the Hundred. To many, he’s an ally, although he admits his new position requires better diplomacy.

He admits to having softened his stance on the Hundred, relating to himself as one thing as a convert to facets of the competitors which have come to mild up to now two seasons. And it was instructive that, when drawn on the prospect of third-party possession of the eight city-based groups, he didn’t dismiss the concept.

“It is a good query however I do not need to get too drawn on that, as a result of there’s quite a bit enjoying out in the meanwhile on that one. Everyone knows in the meanwhile there’s a gold rush for TV rights. What are there now – Fourteen T20 franchises on this planet? There’s a lot curiosity within the Hundred for many causes. Let’s simply pull it again, we’re solely in 12 months two.

“I’ve a desire for maximising worth. No matter choice we take, if the Hundred can generate important worth to the sport then that is acquired to be a superb factor. You have to decide on when’s the appropriate time”

He additionally ceded the Hundred is a stumbling block within the schedule given it can block off the entire of August going ahead, that means the Championship, T20 Blast and Royal London Cup – the 50-over competitors – must scrap for area within the remaining months.

“I am a convert to the viewers that it is clearly reached,” Thompson stated. “And I feel from a broadcast perspective, as a lot because it did not fairly hit the massive numbers, it hit some nice numbers. It hits audiences when it comes to profile that different sports activities, not to mention cricket, aren’t reaching. So that you see the response from the BBC and Sky and so they’re throughout it. I imply, they’ll see the worth of it.

“However what I do not need to do is have a Hundred that diminishes the Blast. The Hundred can work and can work. The Hundred was pre-sold in that pocket that goes by way of between the Premier League seasons. And we have we have to make it work.

“I’ve acquired to discover a steadiness, I’ve acquired to maintain all people completely happy right here. I feel the purpose is, once I’ve been up in opposition to the ECB as chairman of Surrey, I am representing 18 counties and rabid red-ball followers and I’ll struggle tooth and nail. Now I can see the completely different context and I’ve acquired to have a look at the broader sense of maintaining 41 stakeholders completely happy.

“If there are trade-offs available, they have to be trade-offs of a superb schedule, with the very best gamers at all times out there and different methods to introduce extra red-ball cricket.”

Amid all of the discuss of funds, with the enrichment on T20 leagues and groups set to proceed, Thompson is eager to future-proof English cricket to make sure it’s not a part of the collateral. Because the panorama modifications at tempo, not simply with the SAT20 and ILT20 on the horizon, however the rising urge for food for IPL groups to retain their gamers on year-long contracts, the sentiment throughout the ECB is they should assist shield the counties from doubtlessly shedding gamers that they’ve reared into the skilled sport.

“We do not desire a state of affairs the place now we have the pathway from Below-9s to academy after which, at that time, that participant now we have nurtured and developed for the final 11 years, we lose to the sport. If that have been to occur, cricketers successfully grow to be like golfers and comply with the solar and simply go on excursions. That appears to be the place this might play out, so our capacity to handle and management our expertise is essential to this. And that is not nearly cash.

“So in 5 years’ time, if we have misplaced our greatest expertise to a number of world tournaments, then that is a tragedy. I recognise in the meanwhile, for those who take my earlier life as chairman of Surrey, I would like the Currans [Sam and Tom] to assume that that is their dwelling. I do know Sam performs for one more 4 sides, Surrey’s No.5, so it is a very completely different world now and I settle for it is altering even quicker as a result of the urge for food for cricket is rising so dramatically.”

Thompson appears broadly in favour of a six-team prime division within the County Championship – one of many proposals that will probably be hardest to get settlement amongst 12 of the 18 County chairs – and bringing among the prime nationwide counties right into a FA Cup type 50-over knockout competitors. Not solely does he imagine the present 18-county system may be high-quality and financially viable, however he needs to have interaction “with 39”, too.

“Take Berkshire as an illustration – they have Studying and Slough, absolute hotbeds for variety. We’re lucky that now we have a sport that’s performed in all a part of the nation.”

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an affiliate editor for ESPNcricinfo




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments