Following a successful Members’ meeting last night, Chairman Sir Ian Botham outlined his vision for the future of cricket and confirmed that Durham County Cricket Club were fully committed to supporting the ECB’s new Twenty20 tournament.
Among various topics, including DCCC’s financial restructure, their successful academy, junior cricket and the season ahead, Botham confirmed that the Club approve the proposed change to the ECB Articles of Association, that would lead to a new domestic Twenty20 competition in 2020.
The new competition - part of the ECB’s Cricket Unleashed strategy that aims to expand the sport in England and Wales - has been met with mixed opinion but Botham is adamant that the new initiative offers a fantastic opportunity to embrace the Twenty20 format and engage a fresh, young audience to the sport.
Speaking in depth with Durham’s members last night, Botham said: “The competition is exciting and offers a number of positive opportunities. We will hopefully be very much part of it and do our best make the tournament a huge success.”
“It’s financially very sensible to do it and if we prepare properly and come up with the right formula throughout the summer - just look at the success of the Big Bash in Australia and the IPL - then it’s proven that the format has great benefit.
“I would have loved to have played the competition myself. It’s total entertainment. I see the T20 format as a vehicle to bring people back into the grounds. The flagship should always be Test cricket, as that’s the ultimate challenge but T20 has its place.
“You want to see kids and young people at sold-out cricket grounds and I think the new competition will help do that alongside the NatWest T20 Blast.”
Other plans that sit inside the Cricket Unleashed alongside new Twenty20 tournament include: All Stars Cricket for 5-8 year olds, the U19 Cup competition, South Asian engagement, Women’s cricket and substantial support for Chance to Shine.