Newell Argues His Case To Strengthen County Cricket

Comment and Analysis | 7th February 2012

An eight to ten team split between Divisions One and Two is the best way forward in a proposed 14-match County Championship, believes Notts CCC's director of cricket Mick Newell.

The Morgan review into the future structure of English domestic cricket has recommended a reduction from 16 four-day games by two.

The change will allow the season to incorporate a greater number of T20 matches – up from ten to 14.

Newell is a big fan of the current set-up and would prefer to see it remain intact.

But he believes if changes are happening it would be better to see uneven numbers in the two divisions rather than the alternative of playing some teams twice but others only once.

"If it were up to me and I had a vote then I would be keeping the structure we have in place for the start of the season, because it is the best one," said Newell.

"I would prefer to see the County Championship continue as 16 matches. I don't think it needs changing, but clearly the Morgan report does see the need for change.

"If it is changed then it is not a cricket decision but about trying to generate more income.

"There is a desire to play more T20 cricket and if that's the case, we have to give up something, somewhere.

"If we are going to have 14 matches in a season, then I would rather have an eight to ten team spilt between the two divisions, rather than playing some teams twice and others once.

"I don't think that is a fair way of doing things if you are playing some teams more than others.

"In the two division structure then it makes sense to have less teams in the top division.

"That's going to help the quality at the top level and see every team desperately fighting to get themselves into that elite eight."

Newell is against the idea of extending the time frame for contesting T20 cricket, another proposal.

He believes it is better for players to concentrate on that specialist format of the game only for a very short space of time, as has been the case in the past in English cricket.

Newell said: "I like T20 the way it is. It is all done with in three weeks at a time of year when the weather is generally best and the evenings are light.

"I think that is when it should be played, but there is talk it is going to be from May right through to August."

Newell played much of his limited overs cricket for the county on Sundays and believes that traditional offering is still one spectators want.

But in recent campaigns, list A games have been contested on a whole host of different days.

This summer, for instance, Notts will play only half of their 40-over matches on a Sunday, with three on Mondays, and one on each of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

"I think we should have one-day limited overs games on the Sunday. It is a good day to get people in," said Newell.

"I don't think Saturday is the best day for watching cricket. It is not always the best for families and the supporters are not always happy about it. Cricket on a Sunday is a lot more attractive.

"It is not desperately important to me which way we go in terms on 50-over or 40-over cricket.

"But if you have 40-over you can start it in the afternoon while 50-overs would have to start at 11am on Sundays or 2pm on weekdays."

Notts have made it clear they are interested in securing the services of popular Australian David Hussey for a chunk of next season, although nothing has yet been confirmed.

They are also looking into the possibility of signing another overseas player in the early stages of the season when the club are due to play a rash of four-day fixtures.

Newell said: "We will be having committee meetings and we will try to put something together on which way we want to go.

"But the IPL auction was not until February 4 and a lot of players were holding back on their availability until after then."

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