Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tradition Is Trampled in Charge for Twenty20 Gravy Train; Is Greed Good? Sir Allen Stanford ( Third from Right) Parades His Impressive Money Box, on Offer Only through the Twenty Game, to Some of the Great and Good of World Cricket

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tradition Is Trampled in Charge for Twenty20 Gravy Train; Is Greed Good? Sir Allen Stanford ( Third from Right) Parades His Impressive Money Box, on Offer Only through the Twenty Game, to Some of the Great and Good of World Cricket

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN AGNEW

EVERY day, it seems, the mad rush to cash in on Twenty20 cricket generates another controversy, another row, and yesterday's announcement of the new domestic structure will inevitably court further argument.

Market research by the England and Wales Cricket Board indicated that cricket lovers want more of the shortest version of the game to be played in July and August. Well, they will get that all right, with two very similar-looking competitions providing wall-to-wall Twenty20 all summer long.

I am relieved the County Championship will remain unchanged, and ambivalent as to the Pro40, but am seriously concerned that we are rapidly moving towards Twenty20 overkill.

There was great speculation about the exact format of the English Premier League. When the details of the franchise-based scheme proposed by Surrey's chairman, David Stewart, and the chief executive of MCC, Keith Bradshaw, were deliberately leaked to me last week, I expected a bit of a rumpus but nothing like the battle within the ECB which quickly developed into something close to civil war.

Giles Clarke, the chairman, is used to boardroom disputes but he will never have faced such fierce criticism of his leadership style and there is talk of a replacement urgently being sought for next year's re-election. The fallout from the proposal illustrates the depth of the concern about the future of the game, particularly among the smaller counties which do not stage international cricket.

The two division Championship which has played its part in introducing competitiveness to first-class cricket in England has created an unhealthy environment of the haves and have nots. Therefore, one sniff of a plan which appeared to involve only the larger counties was doomed to fail.

Another flaw was the continued assertion that a franchise system would work in this country.

I vehemently disagree that a cricket fan in Leicester or Northampton would drive either to Edgbaston or Trent Bridge to support a team that meant nothing at all to him, and whose identity was merely a convenience. …

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