Amidst concerns that 50-over cricket might be overshadowed by the inaugural edition of The Hundred this summer, Surrey chairman Richard Thompson reckons that the answer lies in scrapping the round of friendlies and having a knockout competition in its place instead.
“Everything has to be on a league basis in this country,” Thompson told The Cricketer. “A knockout competition like the old NatWest Trophy would invigorate the 50-over game, however – a format we are world champions in.
“The round of friendlies this summer doesn’t go far enough. We don’t need friendlies, we need the national counties in proper knockout competition.”
Addressing the challenges surrounding the scheduling to ensure that one tournament doesn’t slip under the radar, the Surrey chairman ruled out the probability of finding separate windows for both. Instead, he argued, the County Championship could run alongside The Hundred, with just the matches scheduled on different dates.
“I think probably it does have to be the 50-over game alongside The Hundred,” Thompson said. “The County Championship should not be devalued, it’s still the blue-riband competition. But there’s no reason why domestic players cannot play in both, like footballers do in the Premier League and Champions League.
“On July 17, Surrey’s 50-over side is playing Buckinghamshire at High Wycombe on the same day that the Oval Invincibles host Welsh Fire in The Hundred. That’s silly. They should be on different days, and at least players like Jason Roy and Ben Stokes can play for their counties and would be guaranteed one or two matches, rather than none.”