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County Championship 2022

Kevin Pietersen criticises standard of county cricket after Ben Stokes onslaught

Pietersen county franchise
by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Kevin Pietersen has restated his belief that county cricket should be franchised in a tweet criticising the standard of bowling that Ben Stokes faced during his record-breaking 161 off 88 for Durham against Worcestershire.

Stokes scored a historic century for Durham in his first match since being announced as England Test captain. His knock – which featured 17 sixes, the most ever in a County Championship innings – was the fastest ever century in first-class cricket by a Durham player and also included an over that went for 34 off the bowling of left-arm spinner Josh Baker. Stokes had hit the first five balls of the over for six before the final delivery fell just short of the rope.

On Twitter, Durham’s social media accounts shared numerous clips of the innings, including a highlight reel of the sixes Stokes had struck, which Pietersen then shared stating: “We ALL know the absolute quality of Ben Stokes. But, have a look at this bowling and please tell me that County Cricket doesn’t need to be franchised?!?!”


Pietersen has previously stated that, “Test cricket will die“, if the ECB failed to follow his plans for the domestic game, which centre around reducing the number of professional teams in an attempt to concentrate the talent pool.

Worcestershire’s bowling attack featured two well established first-class bowlers in Joe Leach and Ed Barnard as well as three young bowlers in Adam Finch, 21 and part of 2018 England U19 World Cup squad, Ben Gibbon, also 21 and on first-class debut, and 18-year-old spinner Josh Baker whose over was struck for 34.

Absent from their bowling line-up was Charlie Morris who is 29 and has taken 225 first-class wickets, Dillon Pennington (23 & 78) and Josh Tongue (24 & 138).

Pietersen first proposed the idea of franchising county cricket in July of last year before reiterating his plan in January of this year where he proposed a similar structure to that used in The Hundred.

“They now need to introduce a similar franchise competition for red-ball cricket, whereby the best play against the best every single week. They would make money available to attract some of the best overseas players in the world and the top English players would benefit from playing alongside them. It would be a marketable, exciting competition, which would drive improvement in the standard and get people back through the gates for long-form cricket. I see it as an eight-team round-robin league in the middle of the summer.”

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