General discussion on 2023, decision making and the wider commercial context of the review
31 October 2022
The 2023 season will follow the same format as 2022. This gives the Counties and the ECB time to discuss proposals, but any changes for 2024 will need to be agreed before the start of the 2023 season so that Counties and their players know what’s at stake for the future.
Stuart Cain explained the process moving forward. A group of six Chairs, including Mark McCafferty are collating the views of all eighteen Counties and these will then be fed back to the ECB to establish areas of common ground and potential ideas on moving forward.
When talking about improving the quality of coaching to develop future England players, Mark Robinson explained that all Bears’ coaches were a minimum Level 3 qualified and had to complete Level 4 badges after joining. This is the highest standard available. He felt that a bigger issue was a lack of overseas coaching opportunities for English coaches and the overuse of international coaches in the Hundred.
Due to concerns raised about Counties losing money if the volume of games was reduced, Stuart Cain explained how they were trying to diversify and raise money through other areas such as concerts and events. Edgbaston was developing the flats, retail and potentially a hotel, but other Counties were restricted by physical space, financial resources, and breadth of thinking. He explained the pressure on ECB central funds and the future threats from inflation and energy costs which would reduce money to be distributed across the professional, recreational, and elite Game.
When addressing the high performance review’s observation that players played too much cricket, both Mark Robinson and Stuart Cain said that density of fixtures was the issue, particularly when trying to play County Championship and Vitality Blast games only days apart. It doesn’t give the players time to switch disciplines and the coaches time to prepare. It also increases injuries.
Stuart Cain addressed the issue of fixture congestion on those venues hosting the Hundred, international games, women’s cricket, and a full domestic season. Bigger venues are playing too much cricket at times, with smaller venues not enough. This created operational issues, but also meant that smaller venues without the Hundred or international cricket could have periods in the height of summer when there was little cricket played.
A number of people raised the need to play more cricket at the weekend. Mark McCafferty agreed completely with the sentiment and the Club was one of the most vocal on this point, but the issue is that there are only roughly 17 weekends from May to August. If you take out the Hundred, that leaves 12. So, it’s impossible to play fourteen County Championship, fourteen Blast and approximately five One-Day Cup games, all involving weekends. He felt that the ECB should try to maximise weekend games, but it was impossible to do this in totality.
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