Andrew Strauss’ men’s Cricket Performance review receives severe backlash from ex-players and Counties

By Kshvid News Desk


This was bound to happen. On expected lines, Andrew Staruss’ men’s high-performance review of English cricket has faced some severe backlash from the Counties. While it is very difficult for all 18 English Counties to agree on any cricketing matter, Strauss’ team have somehow managed to do it. 

Last Thursday, the England Cricket Board released a set of 17 recommendations made by the High Performance review committee, which was headed by former England captain Andrew Strauss. 

It included drastic structural and scheduling changes to all major domestic competitions in the country, baring the cash-cow of the ECB, The Hundred. It proposed the County Championship should be divided into three tiers of 6 teams each, including relegation and promotion. While there is a positive change which is to play it from May to September, the concerning news for the Counties is that each team will play 10 games instead of 14. 

The Royal London One-day Cup, the premier domestic 50-over competition in the country, will be moved to start in April. The T20 Blast, the lifeblood of the Counties, will see its games reduced from 14 to 10 as well. 

Staruss defended his decision by claiming that the reduced number of games will improve quality and intensity, while providing enough rest for the players and coaches. But the Counties have hit back immediately, saying they wouldn’t be able to survive if the reforms are indeed implemented. 

Gareth Batty, interim head coach of County champions Surrey, said: “I think it would diminish the emotion a little,” said Batty. “Because it’s built up for so long, and over that period of time there are lots of different emotions, and [they] end up being one big one once you get over the line, like today.

“I just hope that we’re doing it for the greater good of the game and not keeping celebrity cricket alive. I want it to be for the greater good of cricket.”

John Stephenson, interim chair of Essex, dismissed Strauss’ proposal, saying they wouldn’t vote for any reduction in the number of red-ball gamees or T20’s. 

“The original reason for the review was to improve the performance of our Test team,” Stephenson said. “There are obviously different opinions on all of this but in my opinion reducing the amount of red-ball cricket is not the way to produce better Test cricketers … As it currently stands we would not vote in favour of any reduction in red-ball cricket, and we wouldn’t vote in favour of any reduction in home T20s.”

Sussex chairman John Filby praised the proposed changes to the game as “exactly what the game needs” from a high performance point of view but is “unworkable”, looking from a financial perspective. 

“Strauss’ ECB high performance review is equally unworkable as far as county cricket is concerned. When looked at through the lens of high performance it is exactly what the game needs. But we are not only looking through the lens of high performance,” he told BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.

“We are looking through a financial and commercial lens. We are looking through the eyes of our members who have cricket that they want and we’re looking very much through a variety of angles that is not just high performance.”

Surrey’s Director of Cricket, Alec Stewart, made a similar statement that the reforms would not be financially viable for the Counties. He said: “If it was just high performance and you forgot the county finances and the members then yes go for it, but it’s bigger than that. We must respect the members who pay their money to come and support and the finances that make it happen.” 

Andrew Strauss, meanwhile, said that winning four tests doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for a high performance review, claiming that England need to be the best in the world in all three formats at the same time. 

“But the high-performance review is about building sustained success. We don’t just want to succeed in one series, for one year, or in one format at a time. We want to be [the] best in the world across all three men’s formats – Test, 50-over and T20 internationals. By this we mean that in five years we are [the] number one ranked team in at least one format and at least number three in all of them – and to be able to sustain this for years at a time.

“Winning four Test matches – thrilling though it has been – doesn’t change that need. We need a system that’s aligned from top to bottom, that ensures a strong, high-performing, domestic game that fans love and which provides us with the pipeline of England stars ready for the international stage.”


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