The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Wednesday their plans to stage a two-division Twenty20 competition next year, an event they hope will rival the Indian Premier League.
The move was backed by the English governing body’s board despite criticisms that it will lead to too much Twenty20 cricket in a domestic season which also includes the existing Twenty20 Cup.
The new tournament, which will be called the P20, is due to be staged in June when English officials hope many of the world’s best players will be available to play, just as they do in the IPL which is currently taking place in South Africa.
But the IPL features city-based franchise teams owned by wealthy businessmen and Bollywood stars.
By contrast, the teams in the P20, which comes with the additional incentive of qualification for the Champions League, will be England’s existing 18 first-class counties.
How they will find the additional cash they would need to attract the world’s best players, above and beyond on what they already spend on bringing in overseas stars for a regular county season, remains uncertain.
And an ECB statement issued on Wednesday said the question of the number of overseas players that would feature in the P20 would be discussed at a subsequent board meeting.
Nevertheless, ECB chairman Giles Clarke said of the new event: “I’m sure it will be another exciting development in the domestic cricket season.”
Keith Bradshaw, the Australian secretary of MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), which owns Lord’s, together with several county chairmen, had put forward proposals for a slimmed-down city event based on the Indian model.
However, many of the smaller counties were concerned they would lose out financially to those with Test match grounds and the Bradshaw backed plan never got off the drawing board.