There are always upfront hurdles to overcome with projects and it has been suggested that the new domestic Twenty20 franchise tournament, set to begin in 2020, could lose organisers £15m in its first year.
Australia’s Big Bash League also took a few years to establish itself and it might take a while for our competition to flourish and for people to adapt to it. The current T20 Blast works pretty well but ultimately a franchise system is the way to go.
It may not attract some of the more traditional supporters but the game has progressed and I don’t think the majority of modern-day fans will be overly fussed about whether they’re watching their county or not. They want to see good cricket played by the world’s best.
Proposals are for the tournament to have eight city sides and I appreciate that concept will be a problem for some, who are used to watching and supporting Lancashire, for instance, as opposed to a Manchester-based outfit. Cricket is moving on though.
Australian cricket fans were used to following their states, and still do in other forms of the game, but they now go and see cities play, such as Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat.
A higher concentration of the globe’s top players and a smaller amount of teams bodes for a better competition.
At the minute there are a lot more teams and too many matches. Frankly, there are some average cricketers getting a gig. A better standard of competition will also help England on the international stage as players training and going head-to-head with great players can only be advantageous.
When I was with the Sydney Sixers I played with Brett Lee, one of the best Test and one-day bowlers in the world, so to pick his brains about what he had done in his career was invaluable.
Seeing how he went about his business, witnessing what he did which would enable him to continue bowling at 90 mph until his late thirties, training and having a laugh with him in the nets was a dream come true.
I know measures have been taken to ensure this summer’s T20 Blast is held over a shorter space of time, but a competition staged in a four-six week block would be ideal. Crowds just haven’t been big enough across the country.
From a player’s perspective, there will always be a bigger buzz about taking the field at an international stadium, where the franchises are likely to play, rather than at the likes of Leicester or Derby.
People have been banging on about the whys and wherefores of a T20 franchise system in this country for years and there will always be obstacles and a certain amount of dissenting voices. The game is advancing though and it’s about time we tried it.