The new ‘franchise’ idea, whether people like it or not, is going to be the future down the line. I am excited about it, but not so about the new format. I just donot see any need to change it from T20. Is there really a difference between 100 balls and 120 balls?
Over the years in cricket, limited-overs games have gone from 60, 55, 42, 40 to 20 and there is now T10, which is growing, as well as the Hong Kong Sixes. And now there are plans for 15 six-ball overs and a 10-ball over in these new ECB ‘100-ball’ plans.
For me, they have purely done it – although they have not admitted it yet – for terrestrial TV and the scheduling. They do not want to miss News at Ten or something like that. If they had come out and said that, I would get the idea more.
If they said they needed to fit it into two and a half hours to get it on terrestrial TV, I would understand that. So in that case, why not go for 20 five-ball overs? Now it is confusing with so many questions.
And because there is a backlash they are saying it might be three different bowlers bowling the final 10-ball over.
Seriously, how can a fast bowler bowl a 10-ball over? Six is hard enough under the pressure they are under.
I am all for jazzing cricket up and heart-rate monitors, for example, might be a good thing for the batter or bowler and I like all the gadgets associated with T20.
But changing something that works really well just to please the counties, I just do not get it. I think we are messing here. There is no international tournament which has 15 overs and a 10-ball over, so how is it going to benefit our national team? It is not whatsoever.
It has also been said that the 100-ball format would make it easier for some women, children and the wider public to understand. Is that the most embarrassing statement you have ever heard? I can’t even understand the proposed tournament, how is anyone new to the sport going to?
We have rinsed the public to bits. Would 15 traditional six-ball overs and a 10-ball final over bring more people to Yorkshire versus Lancashire, which always sells out every T20, or Middlesex v Surrey, who also do? All these counties sell out in these big limited-overs games. What new audience can we grab onto?
I am all for giving everything a go, but disappointed we have tried to change this. The best things sometimes don’t need fixing. The Big Bash in Australia is an amazing tournament and going from strength to strength and they are trying to take many successful aspects into the IPL. I want our new tournament in England to be a really good one, too.
For me, the new franchise system will bring in new people anyway as people will be fascinated by it. We do not need a 100-ball concept to get a new audience in.
We invented T20 cricket and when it first came into the game, we did not know quite what to make of it and thought it would be a little slog in the park. I remember the players being excited; it was a new form with music, a quick three hours, although we did not have a clue how to play it at first! The clubs did not buy into it straightaway as we had two days preparation before our first T20 game and I remember it clear as bell at Yorkshire. It was like: ‘what is going on here?’
But it has been exciting and brilliant for the game and now they are planning on changing the format again. I just do not get it.
Ed Smith has been named as England’s new national selector and for me, it is very much a case of ‘like for like’ in replacing James Whittaker and pretty much getting the same thing.
Like James, Ed played for England just a handful of times and does not really understand the ins and outs of playing at the highest level for me.
So I find it a strange decision, but I hope he does well and makes some brave decisions because they need making.
I just think it is very difficult appointing a guy who has never toured with England to make decisions regarding players on statistics, when he does not know what it is like.
Cricket is a strange sport; the mental side is very tough and it is very hard for someone who has not ‘done it’ and toured for months and months to understand what a player goes through mentally and physically on a long tour.
I actually do think Ed is a very intelligent man and we could definitely use his cricketing brain in other areas.
I just think he would be more suited to helping develop county cricket moving forward and making it fresher after playing for many years and captaining a side. County cricket is something he has seen on a daily basis for 10 years.