RICH PYRAH is calling for a franchise Twenty20 tournament in England as he prepares to further his coaching experience in the Australian Big Bash.
The Yorkshire coach believes England should follow the Australian example by introducing a similar competition in this country.
Pyrah’s comments echo those of England one-day captain Eoin Morgan, who has repeatedly said that the current domestic T20 tournament – the NatWest T20 Blast – is not of sufficient standard to assist England’s progress on the world stage.
Earlier this year, a Professional Cricketers’ Association survey revealed that most players want a Big Bash-style competition in England, although some counties are resistant to change because of plans for city-based cricket and fewer teams.
“I’d love to see a franchise system,” said Pyrah, who flies to Australia on Boxing Day to link up with Yorkshire first- team coach Jason Gillespie at Adelaide Strikers.
“I think it’s crying out for it if we’re going to go forward in England.
“If the England captain, Eoin Morgan, is coming out in press conferences after games and saying it all the time, then you know that the players are desperate for it.
“You see it working all around the world, and I know that the lads at Yorkshire come in and say, ‘Did you watch the Big Bash?’ or ‘Did you watch the IPL?’, so it excites the players.”
Pyrah believes it would be difficult to have a franchise tournament in addition to the T20 Blast. However, he says that is for the administrators to determine.
“There has to be a balance,” he added. “We have to think about the amount of fixtures that we play in England, because in other countries they don’t play as much cricket, and it would be tough to have two T20 competitions because of the fixtures schedule.
“I’m not sure how it would work with two, but that’s not for me to decide. There’s a lot of politics around it, but as an ex-player and now as a coach, I think we have to have the franchise system to move forward and attract the best players.”
Pyrah – the first Englishman to take 100 T20 wickets – will be working with many of the world’s top players Down Under.
He will spend two weeks in Adelaide alongside Gillespie, followed by two weeks with former Yorkshire batsman Aaron Finch’s franchise, Melbourne Renegades.
Pyrah will work under Renegades’ head coach David Saker, the ex-England bowling coach, before spending a final week with Melbourne’s four-day team, the Victoria Bushrangers.
Pyrah returns to England at the end of January.
“I’m really excited,” said Pyrah, who retired from playing to take up a full-time coaching role at Headingley in October, having coached and played for the previous few months.
“All I’ve experienced in professional terms is Yorkshire, so to go to Australia and experience other professional teams is invaluable for me really.
“I’m going to go there with an open mind. I don’t know what to expect – it’s a completely different competition – and hopefully I can bring some useful things back to Yorkshire.”
Pyrah expects to be more hands-on with Strikers, who have Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid in their ranks.
Pyrah knows Gillespie will push him hard, with the former Australia fast bowler having suggested the sabbatical after signing a two-year deal to coach his home-town franchise.
“I think I’ll have more of an input with Adelaide because Dizzy (Gillespie) knows me and he trusts me,” said Pyrah.
“He’ll throw me in at the deep end, he’ll get me running sessions, he’ll get me running the fielding drills and dealing with the bowlers before games and things like that, so I think I’ll have quite a big input.
“I don’t know David Saker that well; I’ve met him a couple of times, so I’m not sure what input I’ll have with Melbourne, but just to be around him and learn from him and see how they go about things will be great. I’ll be working with some fantastic people throughout the trip.”
Pyrah, 33, reiterated his desire to one day follow in Gillespie’s footsteps by becoming head coach at Yorkshire. He is certainly well-placed should the chance arise, with Gillespie sure to attract further international attention after being interviewed for the England job last summer.
“My long-term ambition is to be head coach at Yorkshire,” confirmed Pyrah. “I’ve got a lot to learn, but it’s my job to make sure that I’m in the right position if the chance comes along.
“I’ve been coaching at Yorkshire for the last year now really, and it’s gone really well.
“I’ve been working with the first team, right down to the scholarship and the pathways, so it’s been a very interesting and varied role.”
Pyrah – two months into his Level Four coaching qualification – feels coaching comes more easily to him than playing.
He carved out a niche as a quality T20 and one-day performer who was also a very handy asset in four-day cricket.
“I actually find coaching more natural than playing,” he said.
“I was always in-and-out as a player, but the fact that I was a batter, bowler and a fielder helps me as a coach in that I think I’m technically quite good in all three areas.
“It also helps me that I’ve been at the club for a long time, and I don’t have to come in and suddenly earn the trust of the players.
“I’ve got that already, and I just want to help them get the best out of themselves because they’re absolutely determined to keep winning trophies.”