ECB format is the right way to go, says coach Krikk
DERBYSHIRE head coach Karl Krikken has welcomed the format that the England and Wales Cricket Board, at last, seems to have settled on as the right way forward for the county game.
After a summer in which the county cricket calendar has yet again been under scrutiny, the ECB Board has announced changes to come into effect between 2014-17 that are less radical and more downright sensible.
First and foremost, the County Championship is to stay a competition of 16 matches played in two divisions. Former ECB chairman David Morgan, in his much-publicised review, suggested a cut in the number of first-class matches but his proposals proved unpopular with players, coaches and supporters.
However, the ECB is to follow other recommendations of the Morgan Review in the one-day competitions.
The twenty20 will be expanded from the current 10 games to 14 but will be played throughout the season, rather than in one mid-summer block, and mostly on Friday evenings.
The 40-over competition is to be scrapped in favour of a return to 50 overs, mirroring the international game. Counties will play eight group games, which means Netherlands, Scotland and Unicorns will no longer take part, and there will be a quarter-final stage.
The new format also opens the way for a regular pattern to return to the fixture list, suggesting Championship matches to start on Sundays, t20 on Fridays and 50-over matches in between.
"I quite like it," said Krikken. "I'm happy that they are keeping the County Championship the same, going to 50 overs is great and I'm glad the t20 is to be played over the year.
"Suggesting we should knock the Championship down to 14 games and have divisions with different numbers of teams was stupid really.
"I know some people are worried it might be difficult to go back to the four-day game after playing a t20 on the Friday but we'll just have to get used to that and I'm sure it is better from the supporters' point of view to spread the cost of going to games.
"Personally, I think 40-over cricket is a better game than 50-over but it's 50 overs in the international game and if you're not playing that at county level, how are you going to get better? It makes sense to change.
"Settling into a bit more of a pattern through the season helps you as a coach. It was good last year early on until all hell broke loose and I'd certainly be happy to see that more regimented in the new fixture list."