28 Mar 2017

Change to English T20 competition

8:53 am on 28 March 2017

A new city-based Twenty20 tournament for English cricket intended to rival the Indian Premier League and Australia's Big Bash has moved a step closer following a key presentation by the sport's governing body.

In a break with 130 years of tradition, none of England's existing 18 counties are due to feature in the new event.

Old Trafford cricket ground, Manchester.

Old Trafford cricket ground, Manchester. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Instead eight new teams, drawn from cities, will compete from 2020.

The proposed change would be one of the most sweeping ever introduced to the English game's structure, with the details set out for the counties by the England and Wales Cricket Board in London.

"We have to think differently if we are going to be successful in attracting family audiences to our competitions," said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. "This is about growth and creating something dramatically different for English cricket."

The counties are being asked to agree a change to the ECB constitution, which currently says each competition must be open to them all. In return each county would receive a financial inducement of 2.3 million dollars annually for five years.

A full ECB board meeting tonight will be asked to ratify the decision.

The ECB urged counties and supporters not to regard the change as a threat.

"What we are doing here is future-proofing country cricket," said Harrison. "I don't think it's so much a gamble, I think it's about looking into the future and saying what do we want our business and our game to look like."

Eight as yet unnamed teams will play 36 games over a 38-day summer window in the season, with four home games per team. Eight of the games are planned for terrestrial television.

The tournament would feature a players draft, with each team having a squad of 15 that can include three overseas players.

The new franchises will be the subject of fierce dispute among counties each hoping to host lucrative games at their grounds. Potential new teams ventured in the British media include North London, South London, West, Red Rose, White Rose, Birmingham, Trent Bridge and South.

Scheduling also remains problematic in an already packed English season. The tournament may clash with Tests, meaning established England players may not feature.