Divide emerges among counties over which form of the game to play

Divide emerges among counties over which form of the game to play when cricket resumes this summer

  • The 18 counties are divided over which form of game they want to play this year
  • A decision will be determined by simple majority vote to take place next week 
  • Extent of the division could result in the end of the current first class structure

A growing divide amongst counties over the form of the game they want to play this summer emerged on Friday at a meeting of the 18 county chairmen.

They resolved that the key decision over whether to stage a first class or limited overs competition next month will be determined via a simple majority vote next week. 

The decision of the chairmen to move away from the usual requirement for a two-third majority of the 18 counties to a straight vote needing just 10 in favour to pass shows the extent of the division, which as Sportsmail revealed last month could ultimately lead to the end of the 18 county first class structure.

The 18 first class counties are split over which forms of cricket should be played this summer

The counties are split over whether to stage a regional county championship, with three groups of six climaxing with a final at Lord’s in September, or a 50-over white ball competition. 

Counties based at Test match grounds such as Surrey, Lancashire and Yorkshire all want to play first class cricket, but a number of the smaller counties have concerns about the costs of taking part in four-day matches at a time when will not receive any gate receipts due to the ban on spectators attending. 

Hampshire, who play at the Ageas Bowl, are in favour of resuming first-class cricket 

Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire are understood to be the most vociferous in their opposition to a red ball competition, although as many as eight counties have at various times threatened to vote against that proposal and considerable uncertainty remains ahead of next week’s ballot.

The bigger counties are confident they will prevail ultimately, and will argue strongly that they have a duty to stage a first class competition next month to the followed by the Twenty20 Blast in September, as without it many professional cricketers will go over 18 months without playing a game.

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