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Kevin Pietersen proposes radical ‘franchise’ restructure of English first-class system

Kevin Pietersen Proposes Radical 'Franchise' Restructure Of English First-Class System To Save England Test Cricket
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Kevin Pietersen has laid out his thoughts for how English cricket should restructure its first-class system, advocating for the end of the County Championship with a city-based franchise tournament taking its place.

The former England batsman took to Twitter to state his belief that “Test cricket will die” if the ECB don’t follow his plan.

In a series of tweets, Pietersen advocated for eight city-based teams with two overseas players each playing between eight and 10 games a season. The County Championship currently includes 18 teams playing 14 games each.

In Pietersen’s opinion, this will enhance England’s red-ball depth by ensuring “the best players survive”. “There’s way too many average players calling themselves 1st class cricketers [sic]” he continued.

He finished by reiterating that his plan came “from a place where I desperately want Test Cricket to still be the pinnacle.” He also criticised some of the negative responses he had received. “It’s unnecessary to swear at me and call me names,” he said.

Pietersen’s plan has unsurprisingly proved unpopular with some sections of cricket’s fanbase, with supporters of the county game already fearing that The Hundred is being used as a vehicle to bring about an end to the existing structure of the English game.

But Pietersen is far from alone in believing that the English game has too many teams to support a thriving Test side. Notably, in an extensive interview with The Cricket Monthly at the end of his tenure in charge of the national side, Trevor Bayliss gave his support to a similar reduction.

“I think there are too many teams,” he said. “If you had fewer – maybe ten – the best players would be in competition against each other more often and the standard would rise. I think you’d see tougher cricketers develop. Cricketers who are better prepared for the Test game.”

England are currently placed fourth in the ICC Test rankings and are without a win in five games. In their most recent series, against New Zealand, their unbeaten run in home Tests, stretching back to 2014, came to an end. Their next encounter, against India, begins on Wednesday, August 4.

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