The Professional Cricketers’ Association have told the England and Wales Cricket Board that players prefer the county schedule that has been introduced for the forthcoming season to the format proposed in the Morgan Report.
The report, compiled by former ECB chairman David Morgan, recommends a reduction in County Championship cricket to 14 per county for the 2014 season, an increase in Twenty20 cricket from ten to 14 matches per side and a 50 overs domestic one-day competition.
PCA members decided at the players’ union’s annual meeting at Edgbaston last week that the format that has been introduced for this year, with 16 County Championship matches, ten Friends Life t20 games and 12 Clydesdale Bank 40 group matches, provides the best balance between cricketing and commercial needs.
“We had a long discussion about the Morgan Report and it was felt that the schedule we have this season was a good format as it provides a sensible T20 system, a County Championship with integrity and the season finishes in time to allow county teams to participate in the Champions League,” said Angus Porter, the PCA chief executive.
“Why are we rushing to making decision on changes when some of those decisions appear to lack detailed commercial numbers or consumer research?”
The PCA were denied the chance to attend a meeting held at Lord’s last month at which county chairmen and chief executives overwhelmingly rejected Morgan’s plans for a return to 50 overs domestic one-day competition. Counties believe that the existing 40 overs format is more popular with spectators.
The ECB has said that the Morgan Report had to be approved in full or not at all and the ECB board approved it in principle at a meeting three weeks ago.
It appears that the ECB expected the report to be accepted with barely a murmur and the executives at Lord’s have been stung by opposition from the counties and players and criticism from the media.
The ECB’s cricket committee will have the opportunity to discuss the Morgan Report in detail at a meeting at Lord’s on Tuesday February 7. Morgan attended the cricket committee’s last meeting in early November but is believed to have divulged little of the likely content of his report.