County coaches rebel against ECB fixture list plans

County coaches are opposed to plans in the Morgan Report to reduce the number of County Championship matches to 14 per team.

It is expected that the coaches will tell the ECB at a meeting at Lord’s on February 7 that they prefer the format that has been put in place for this season than the one proposed by former ECB chairman David Morgan which includes a 14 match Championship, 14 Twenty20 matches and a 50-over one-day competition.

The ECB expected Morgan’s proposals to be rubber-stamped at a meeting of county chief executives and chairmen two weeks ago. Instead the ECB encountered unexpected opposition from counties who said they preferred the existing 40-over one-day competition, which is popular with supporters, to the format proposed by Morgan.

County coaches and directors of cricket have now joined the Professional Cricketers’ Association in opposing Morgan’s proposal to reduce Championship cricket. Like the players’ union, the coaches believe that this season’s structure provides the best balance between cricketing and commercial needs.

The coaches are also understood to be unhappy that only four of them were directly interviewed by Morgan who claims to have consulted with 300 people before compiling his report.

Brian Rose, the Somerset director of cricket who represents the county coaches on the ECB cricket committee, has been instructed to make known the views of his colleagues at today’s meeting which will be attended by Gordon Hollins, the ECB managing director of county business.

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes, who criticised the Morgan Report on this website last week, has found significant support from other county coaches which has increased the pressure on the ECB.

Having said that the Morgan Report must be approved in full or not at all, the ECB board has left little room for compromise but that is precisely what they may have to do to head off further potential opposition.

With counties, players and coaches all opposing significant parts of the report the credibility of Morgan’s exhaustive research is in danger of being called into question.

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