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ECB considering creation of a 12-team first-class Premier League

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

According to a report in the Telegraph, the ECB’s high performance review is considering the creation of a 12-team Premier League to replace the present county cricket structure.

The existing setup has 10 teams in Division One and eight teams in Division Two, with all 18 sides slated to play 14 first-class County Championship games per season. The current volume of games is viewed as potentially having an impact on the quality of the contests, making it hard for pace bowlers to consistently bowl at full intensity in particular. There is also concern over the amount of time groundstaff have to prepare pitches given the short turnaround between fixture.

Under the new system, the 12 teams in the Premier League will play each other once, meeting the opposition at home or away. There will be a second tier too, where six teams shall play each other twice, both home and away. Crucially, all eighteen counties would retain first-class status.

The idea behind this proposed move is to raise the standards of the top tier of the domestic game. The Telegraph report suggests that it is possible that a new compensation system could be introduced, which would make it easier for players (especially those belonging to the second tier) to move counties but would also reward the teams for producing quality players. A decision won’t be made until the appointment of a new managing director of men’s cricket, though it is possible that the Premier League will be in place for the 2023 summer.

The high performance review will be conducted to address the problems of England’s Test side. The team has only won one of its last 17 Tests.

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