Outgoing ECB chairman Colin Graves suggests radical county plan
Colin Graves, the departing chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has advocated some counties renouncing their first-class status and becoming white-ball only operations.
Graves, who will be replaced by Ian Watmore on September 1, has said some teams who have struggled to stay competitive in the County Championship should “concentrate on what they are good at”.
Having spent 13 years as Yorkshire chairman before replacing Giles Clarke at Lord’s five years ago, Graves has plenty of experience of the domestic game but his comments are likely to be seen as an unwelcome intervention by many within it.
Major cost savings are likely to be introduced as the sport reckons with the financial losses attached to the coronavirus pandemic but there would be considerable opposition to streamlining the oldest and most prestigious format.
“Yes the counties can survive, but I think it might be in a different role or position to where they are now,” Graves told the Daily Telegraph.
“In white-ball cricket that is easy. They can play 50-over, 20-over cricket and compete. But I just don’t see the point when looking at the bottom end of our red ball game, where it is producing nothing.
“This is just my opinion, but I would like them to look at that – it would be better for everybody in the game.
“On my last conference call with the county chairmen, that is one of the things I said to them. Be prepared to sit down and discuss the future for the good of the game and not just you individually.”
Graves had hoped to see the inaugural season of The Hundred take place under his watch, but was unable to do so when it was postponed for a year in aftermath of societal lockdown.
Watmore could yet choose to review its place in the new cricketing landscape, but Graves believes the franchise tournament should proceed as a priority.
“If it doesn’t go ahead I would be very disappointed and the ECB will have missed a massive opportunity,” he added.
“I think The Hundred is one of the keys to the long term future of the ECB.”
Middlesex relegated from Division One as Kent survive on dramatic final day
Middlesex fell just short of the victory they needed at Nottinghamshire to stay up instead of Kent.
England captain Jos Buttler believes India are favourites for World Cup
The last three editions of the Cricket World Cup – India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 – have been won by the host nation.
Surrey retain County Championship title after Essex batting collapse
The holders have been crowned champions for the 21st time.
Geoffrey Boycott: Everybody in Newcastle hates Mike Ashley amid Headingley links
The PA news agency understands the Frasers Group, where Ashley is chief executive, is one of the parties interested in purchasing Headingley.
Essex’s slim hopes of winning County Championship dented by Northamptonshire
Essex need at least 400 to have any chance of claiming top spot.
Matthew Mott: Jofra Archer ‘desperate to play but realistic’ ahead of World Cup
The 28-year-old is not expected to be ready to return to action until the tournament is close to a conclusion.
Umpire Sue Redfern makes history in County Championship match at Glamorgan
Redfern became the first woman to stand as an umpire in a men’s first-class match in England and Wales.
England’s summer ends in soggy fashion and prompts a call for innovation
The one-day international against Ireland at Bristol was abandoned.
England win ODI series against Ireland after play is abandoned at Bristol
Ben Duckett had scored a century and Phil Salt 61 off just 28 balls before rain stopped play.