Full steam ahead as ECB’s plans revealed
FURTHER details of the ECB’s proposed radical new T20 competition starting in 2020 have emerged this week.
The proposals still need to be ratified by the ECB board and all the first-class and county boards at the end of May, before the ECB go out to the broadcast market for bids.
One of the elements missing from these proposals, and which is likely to be quite contentious, is where the new teams will be located and what they will be called. An external consultancy firm is undertaking market analysis, reviewing a wide range of options which will include looking at the eight teams playing their four home matches at more than one venue.This could include non-Test grounds and non-traditional cricket venues. Other details include: The eight teams will be made up of 15 players, including three overseas stars.
Thirteen players for each squad will be picked during a player draft, which the ECB hope will be a televised event. The other two players in each squad will be picked as ‘wildcards’ after the Blast has been played
Players in the draft will be put into salary bands and each team will be given the same budget to be spent on salaries. There will also be a salary cap imposed.
Players picked up in the draft will be allowed to play at their ‘home’ county venue – something that had concerned a number of counties who did not wish to see their stars being based at another Test venue.
The competition will be played over a 38-day window in July and August and played alongside the county 50-over competition. Teams will be able to call up players from that competition into their squads in the case of injury. Similarly, the plan is that their coaches in the new competition can release them back to their counties in the event they aren’t getting picked and they want them to play some competitive cricket.
Players will be signed on an initial one-year contract with an option to extend for a second year. A proportion of a player’s existing county salary will be deducted if they play in the new competition, and it is anticipated that the player’s salary from taking part in the new competition will more than make up for any shortfall in his county salary
Coaches and support staff from county cricket will be eligible to work in the new competition should their counties be happy to release them. A proportion of their county salary would be deducted. However, head coaches and Director of Cricket from county cricket that work in the new tournament will NOT be permitted to coach at their local county venue. The memo explains that this is borne out of a desire that the proposed new competition is not a facilitator for player movement from smaller counties to the larger Test venue counties.
The briefing memo to county executives sets out further details of how the governance and ownership of the competition will work. There was concern amongst many with the original idea that the whole competition and the new teams would be essentially owned by the ECB. However, the proposal now is that the competition itself will be owned by the 18 first-class counties and the teams will separate legal entities with an independent chairman, but controlled by two to three first-class counties with their chief executives sitting on the management board of the team.
The new competition will be played over 38 days, but with 36 games rather than the 35 it was originally thought it would contain. This is because there won’t be semi-finals.
The finalists will be decided on the results of three play-off games. The team which finishes top of the table will play against the second placed team in what is being called ‘the qualifier’ – the winner going straight through to the final.
The third and fourth-placed teams will then play each other in what is being called ‘the eliminator’.
The loser of the qualifier will play the winner of the eliminator to decide the second team in the final.
Blast off! Two players from the Blast will be picked as ‘Wildcards’ for the new T20 competition in 2020