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Stuart Broad: It’s important not to disrespect county cricket

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Stuart Broad has said it is “important not to disrespect” county cricket following England’s 4-0 Ashes defeat.

The quality and structure of domestic cricket in England has come under question following yet another comprehensive Test series loss in Australia. After England lost the fifth and final Test of the Ashes at Hobart, captain Joe Root said: “What I will say is, anyone that’s coming into this Test team at the minute is doing it in spite of county cricket, not because of county cricket.”

Root argued for there to be “better wickets” in the County Championship, while also suggesting the use of the Kookaburra ball and extra batting points as possible changes to the structure of the competition. Elsewhere BBC Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew has called for the County Championship to be replaced with a new first-class competition with fewer teams.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Broad discussed the criticism of the county game, launching to its defence and arguing against using the Kookaburra ball in the County Championship.

“The analysis of defeat shows the difference between the scrutiny placed on red ball and white ball cricket in our country,” said Broad. “At the start of the winter, you would’ve said England had a much better chance of winning the World Cup than the Ashes yet when we got knocked out in the semi-final there was no real negative reaction.

“There was no suggestion of tearing up the domestic game when we lost to New Zealand in Abu Dhabi [in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup],” wrote Broad. “It only happens post Ashes defeats.

“Yes, you can try to tweak things as Australia have done in the past by introducing the Dukes ball to the Sheffield Shield. But sometimes the county game gets harshly treated. I’ve played a lot of county cricket since the start of 2019 and I believe it’s important not to disrespect it.

“Yes, you could play more in June and July, and take the seam on the ball down slightly. For what it’s worth, I don’t think introducing the Kookaburra ball would be a good thing because in my opinion it is not of good enough quality to cope with English moisture. It would swell.

“I accept that some pitches could be better – I am lucky as I get to play on very good surfaces at Trent Bridge – but it’s hard to blame all our batting failures this winter on county cricket because we also failed at home against New Zealand and India last summer.”

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