The dust may have barely settled over “Battlefield Chelmsford”, but over at Lords thoughts are quickly turning to KSL 2.0, which has already been penciled-into the calendar, with the same six teams contesting a One Day competition in the weeks leading up to the World Cup, and the Twenty20s in a block afterwards.
Whilst the broad picture is clear, there are a lot of details still to be confirmed, as the ECB embark upon a “comprehensive review” of this year’s competition, taking feedback from everyone involved – including the fans, who can have their say by filling out the survey here!
Rumours abound that one thing we may see next year is a “reshuffle” of the teams, and CRICKETher can confirm that not only is this under consideration, but the ECB are also not currently ruling out the possibility of key players competing in different colours in the One Day and T20 competitions.
The desire to keep the competition balanced is a laudable one, certainly from the perspective of the ECB’s goal of “bridging the gap”; but one area where the KSL has been successful well beyond expectations is in building fanbases – plural!
Prior to the competition, we were asked what “success” might look like in terms of match attendances – we mused that an average “gate” of 500 would be pretty good, given that the number of spectators at a typical county match can often be counted on the fingers of one hand.
That the KSL has far exceeded that, is as much as anything down to the hard yards the players put in – visiting clubs, holding coaching sessions, and working the local media. Loyalties were created; but they are still fragile, and they could be torn apart in a moment – and the easiest way of doing that would be to “rob” a young fan of her favourite player; or (worse still) to give her a new favourite player in the One Day competition… and then snatch her away again in the T20s.
Not to mention that the players generally don’t want to move either – they’ve nailed their colours to their masts, as Charlotte Edwards made pretty clear to us in our interview:
“Don’t try and move any of us… everyone is firmly in allegiance with their team!”
Over the longer term, of course, it might have to happen, but moving key players should be a last resort – not least because right now it isn’t even clear that the KSL is “unbalanced” – no team lost all their games, and no team won them all either. Even Lancashire Thunder, who perhaps looked most in need of “bolstering”, having lost their key England player – Sarah Taylor – could so easily have been a very different story, if Danni Wyatt (average 8) and Hayley Matthews (4) had lived up to expectations with the bat.
Building a brand new competition from scratch is a massive challenge – you aren’t going to get everything right, but in the case of KSL the ECB have gotten pretty damn close. Now, like a fine wine, it just needs time to mature… and that won’t happen if you spend too much time opening up the barrell and mixing stuff around!