OPINION: KSL Players On The Move?

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!

10 thoughts on “OPINION: KSL Players On The Move?

  1. Totally agree, but the ECB love stats and will interpret them in their own inimitable fashion. They should be more worried about the creaking structure below and thinking about how KSL II will affect Club and county cricket.

    But then we need something to talk about until the next England tour…


  2. Very thought provoking article and I definitely see the importance of creating a fan alegance to a team and players. There are some really difficult decisions for the E.C.B to have to get their heads around. How many overseas players for the 50 over competiton? Do the Vipers get an England player with the 2 they were given both now retired? Who would lose one and would they want to move? Should players be allowed to move if someone offered them more opportunity.? Eg Collis who struggled for a game or Brooks if someone said they would batter higher?


  3. Great article. Speaking as a Vipers fan the squad has really become part of the community and as much as I would like to see other internationals playing in orange I would be very disappointed if the squads were changed. As with any team sport fans have players they like to identify with. Not sure if the 50 over competition will need to be treated differently as it comes directly before the world cup.


  4. How to keep a succesful formula for Vipers and avoid enforced squad changes? In the interests of continued balance in the KSL squads, I would recommend that the ECB look at maintaining the England Performance Squad status of retired England players for a period after retirement, say 3 years, just for KSL purposes. That way Edwards/Greenway would still count towards Vipers allocation, but the likes of Morgan for Stars would not. Brindle is a tricky one because you could argue she’s too good for an unrestricted player, and would fall under the 3 year rule, but another rule saying that once a player is introduced as unrestricted, they remain as such, would solve this.


  5. Good idea James.
    What’s our thoughts on the correct amount of overseas players pre World Cup? If I was an opposition coach I would love my players playing in it, climatising and getting into form. Not sure Robinson would though.


    • Interesting question. I think overall England have more to gain than to lose – all their players benefit from the rising tide of a strong KSL; if that tide lifts a few overseas boats as well, that’s okay.


  6. I’d think that KSL50 will feature fewer overseas players than the 20 over version, for various reasons, including international preparations, seasonal timing, long commitment for the lengthier schedule etc. Not sure what the limit will be, but if it’s still 3, the teams may struggle to find them, or at least the same quality of players.


  7. A really bad idea – as bad as not having any World Cup games at Chelmsford, as CC said “we witnessed excellent crowds, including full houses at Chelmsford and Hove,” so it makes perfect sense to avoid both those venues.


  8. I’m not so sure Syd. I think the overseas players would benefit more. Remember they will be out of season, so a month of cricket payed for by us and coached by our coaches to be ready would really help them.
    It’s the crazy type of thing we would do to hurt our own chances and lessen home advantage. Less overseas would give more opportunity for our own girls which has to be the best thing. Leave the T20 competition as the flag ship competition with all the overseas in it I say.


  9. “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.”
    If the ECB do shuffle the teams then perhaps someone would like to explain precisely what each franchise actually represents or why the heck anyone should support a given franchise. It becomes a revamped and enlarged Super 4s competition in which each team represents very little and each player wears the shirt because they have been told to.
    This is not the FA Premier League (where each player wears the shirt for no better reason than they are paid to and where each franchise – because that is all each team is these days – has spent decades building themselves up, starting with teams that really did represent their city or town because the players had a relationship with it). To build a franchise needs a steel thread through it, over time, which supporters can understand and buy into. Each team (er, sorry I mean franchise) has to have its unique selling point, its distinguishing characteristics. 3 of the KSL teams are county based and should continue to base their teams on their county. Loughborough’s USP is its alumni (and this year at least Perry had a personal reason for being there (husband playing for Leicester Tigers). What is the USP of Western Storm or Southern Vipers I don’t know but they do and they had the attendance to prove it.
    Message to ECB – muck about with the player allocations too much and the crowds will dwindle.


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