T10 League competition could soon find its way into the English domestic game
Back in 2003, eyebrows were raised when a brand new Twenty20 cricket format was introduced into the county game in England and Wales.
Fast forward 15 years and it doesn’t need me to tell you what has happened since to that version of the sport. Change is often unwelcome and feared but is also necessary, at times, and can be a catalyst for growth as we have seen.
As such, could 1o-over cricket, showcased for the first time in the world last December as the inaugural T10 League was completed without blemish in the UAE, experience anywhere near that kind of rapid ascent?
It is a distinct possibility.
The England and Wales Cricket Board is reportedly now considering introducing 10-over-a-side matches to the English domestic calendar.
Back in February, Sport360 confirmed T10 Chairman and founder Shaji Ul-Mulk would meet with ECB hierarchy to moot the idea of expanding and growing the format to new shores. Indeed, that meeting did actually take place as promised in Dubai, and from the outside looking in, talks were seemingly positive.
It is certainly a good sign for a burgeoning franchise-based competition, which was endorsed by the likes of Eoin Morgan, the current England limited-overs captain, Three Lions batsman Alex Hales and global names such as Shahid Afridi, Safraz Ahmed, Virender Sehwag (the only Indian player to feature) and Darren Sammy among others.
Played over four days with a round-robin format, six teams battled it out to reach the final at a largely packed-out Sharjah Cricket Stadium, with Kerala Kings eventually triumphing.
With contests taking roughly 90 minutes to complete, it was yet more proof bitesize cricket deserves its place on the menu as the idea was lapped up. Plans are now afoot to expand for the 2018 edition on UAE soil, which will see eight franchises and the tournament running for up up to 10 days.
Just where T10 competition fits into an already jam-packed English domestic calendar is up for debate. Four-day first-class cricket, the 50-over competition and successful Vitality T20 Blast make-up the summer months currently, and it appears as though there would be little room for any more inductees.
And that is not taking into the ECB’s new 100-ball format, widely recognised as ‘The Hundred’, which will be trialled in September.
A fifth format of the game in England domestic competition does seem difficult to comprehend while ESPNCricinfo does not claim that bringing in the new T10 option would be at the expense of the controversial 100-ball offering. At the end of the day, something will have to give.
Still, it is intriguing the newly-launched format is on their agenda moving format and forms part of the ECB’s new 2020 footprint.