Richardson backs ECB re-structure plans

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Gloucestershire County Cricket Club chief executive Tom Richardson is firmly behind ECB plans to re-structure county cricket.

ECB chiefs met last Thursday to discuss the way forward, with more twenty20 cricket and the possibility of an English Premier League at the top of the agenda.

While other counties have complained about being kept in the dark over the plans, Richardson said Gloucestershire were kept informed at a breakfast meeting by ECB chairman Giles Clarke at the Gloucester festival last Friday.

And although nothing concrete has been decided yet, Richardson seemed optimistic about where the future lies for the county game.

He said: "We've got some very interesting things coming up on twenty20 and the timing on which we play the one day game.

"It looks as if we're going to have a lot more one-day cricket through June, July, and August and I think that can only be a good thing.

"I think there are some interesting developments in a number of areas. I think it's a great opportunity for us to be playing the right sort of cricket at the right time, to get the balance between one day and four day right, and that might mean a slight reduction of four day."

The inaugural Indian Premier League finished after six exciting weeks on Sunday, and attracted stars from all over the world as well as large worldwide television audiences.

That seems to be the benchmark for the future direction of English cricket, and Richardson is fully behind plans for more twenty-over cricket, and he would also like to take it to the Gloucester festival in the future.

"I think it's great that we could be playing twenty20 with some serious players around at the right time," said Richardson.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could have an increase in twenty20 matches and bring twenty20 to Gloucester, not only for people that are coming here but for a whole host of younger people coming to watch twenty20 because it's a very exciting game.

"I'm not suggesting it's the only form of cricket, they'll continue the four-day cricket because members like that, and also it's very important for developing future England players, but I really like the idea of being able to take twenty20 on the road."

The form of the game which could suffer most with the new structure, is the county championship.

There have been rumours of splitting the competition into three instead of two divisions, and also reducing the game from four day to three day, although Richardson is very much against the latter.

"I hope that sinks without trace," he said.

"I think that's a no-brainer personally, and I don't think there's a massive support for it."
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