Full steam ahead as ECB’s plans re­vealed

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By El­iz­a­beth Am­mon

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.

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

Blast off! Two play­ers from the Blast will be picked as ‘Wild­cards’ for the new T20 com­pe­ti­tion in 2020

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