Since International Test matches became a five day event, a lot less games have resulted in draws. Much of the time play is lost due to adverse weather conditions - so the fifth day becomes essential in producing a result from the match and determining which of the two teams going head to head is stronger.
So does the ECB need to follow suit and lengthen LV County Championship matches from four to five days?
season, Hampshire and Yorkshire were relegated from LVCC1, having both
drawn an incredible seven of the sixteen games they played. This
perhaps means that both sides fell victim to the English weather on too
many occasions. It’s possible that rain relegated Hampshire and
Yorkshire, rather than bad performances. With an extra day in each
team’s seven drawn matches, surely they would have had more chance of
forcing a result. Okay, it can be argued that it is a level playing
field for all teams, but it simply isn’t – is the rain shared out
fairly over the course of the season? Of course not. Just look at
Worcestershire, who lost an astounding eleven matches, nearly double
both Yorkshire and Hampshire, but avoided the drop! All because
conditions were kinder to them and they were afforded the chance to win
one more match than the two relegated teams.
to support change happened last week, also in LVCC1, when Sussex took
on Lancashire at the PROBIZ County Ground in Hove. Rain again affected
proceedings and no play took place until the fourth and final day of
the contest. As a result, both captains seemed reluctant to show their
hands and risk a loss; instead a toiling day of scrapping for one or
two bonus points occurred. And to make matters worse, the match was
being broadcast live on Sky Sports – not the best advert for cricket
I’m sure you’d agree. Who’s to say with a fifth day’s play, a result
couldn’t have been forced?
On the other hand though, there are reasons why the ECB haven’t made the change.
is the introduction of the bonus points system. This at least gives
teams some motivation to perform at their best at all stages of a
match, awarding them with points for their batting and bowling
performances, no matter which side is on top in the contest. However,
we are only talking up to three points per batting or bowling
performance, which doesn’t hold huge significance in the broader scheme
of things, especially when a team can be awarded over twenty points for
Secondly is the county schedule. Simply put, would teams
be able to play sixteen, five days LVCC matches each season? At the
moment, no. This is largely down to the World’s obsession with the
money spinning, blockbuster form of cricket – Twenty20. This tournament
takes place from June to August every year – three solid months of T20
cricket. This could quite easily be shortened, paving the way for more
of the purest and most
traditional form of the game – County
Championship cricket. It could be argued that T20 is vital to the
English game, as it ‘brings home the bacon’ so to speak, but the ECB
need to be careful that such a meaty county schedule doesn’t see the
demise of the longer format of the game.
The other domestic
competition is the Clydesdale Bank Pro40 – a forty overs per side
format. This runs throughout the county season, from May to September.
Whilst the ECB have a prominent argument to keep hold of T20 cricket,
the Pro40 competition is probably the least popular domestic cricket
competition in England and disposing of it to make way for longer LVCC
matches seems a no brainer.
Something has clearly got to be
done to improve the quality of our most cherished form of cricket; the
ECB must take their eyes off the money ball of one-day cricket and
concentrate on something much closer to home – the LV County