Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fans Must Come First Says Cook

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fans Must Come First Says Cook

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER

DURHAM coach Geoff Cook has urged the England and Wales Cricket Board to think of the fans when it rejigs county cricket.

Having decided to scrap the Pro40 League, the county chairmen are wavering over what should takes its place.

Cook just hopes they take into account the feeling of loyal supporters, like those at today's County Championship game between Durham and Sussex at the Riverside.

Cook said: "The constant tinkering is a little bit of a concern.

"I think very often the people who are most disregarded are the spectators.

"There are still lots of county members who support the game and we must not lose sight of the fact they are very important to it."

Suggestions the Championship might be reduced to three conferences, or even of a return to three-day cricket to make way for more money-spinning one-dayers, now seem to have been binned.

While Cook recognises the need for limited-overs competitions, he hopes the domestic game's blueriband event is not pushed aside in a dash for cash.

He added: "What they do not want to be doing is losing the importance of four-day cricket.

"Balancing the fixtures around that is difficult because of the increasing and waning popularity of different forms of one-day cricket.

"The essence of developing cricket is always the four-day game.

"A lot of the skills seen in Twenty20 cricket are based around the foundations of four-day cricket.

"What goes around the four-day games depends on market forces.

"I can see why people want to expand one-day cricket, but I think the four-day game we have at the moment is a good competition with the quality of players we have around.

"There is talk of financial incentives for counties to produce young English cricketers.

"I hope that does not reduce the quality of players in the County Championship. …

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