Guest writer Simon Pearson wades into the KSL-county cricket debate.
There has been much discussion recently about the future of the County Championship in the light of the KSL launch and its now-postponed extension into a 50 over format. Perhaps we should now be looking at how the County Championship needs to adapt in order to meet the demands of this new era in women’s cricket.
If the purpose of the County Championship is to act a training ground for the best and as a feeder to Team England (now maybe via the KSL) then, I would suggest, it is no longer fit for purpose.
The current County Championship regulations state that a player is eligible to play for a county if:
a) She was born within that County
b) She currently resides in that County and has been resident there for 6 months.
c) She is attending an educational establishment within that County.
Is a system which dictates that the level at which you play is decided by where you were born or live appropriate for the modern game and increasing professionalism? (Having said this, England players seem to be allowed to move about at will, which rather defeats the point of having qualification at all.)
Currently you could have good, but not quite good enough, players at a top County who can’t get a game; and poor players at a lower team who play every game, there being no-one else. On the other hand a really promising player at a lesser County does not get the chance to test themselves against comparable players, or get the support and assistance they need to reach their potential.
As I see it, abolishing qualification would allow players to find their own level and the best would rise to the top.
Some will say that the top sides will pinch the lower one’s best; but this already happens in the men’s game and few seem to object. There will also be movement in the opposite direction for those who can’t make it into the top teams. The effect would be to raise the overall standard which is surely desirable.
One additional effect would be that there would then be no need for a 50-over KSL. This seems to be an advantage: as many have said, it is difficult to see how there is room in the schedule for both the County Championship and an extension of KSL.
It seems to me, therefore, that there is no justification for continuing with County qualification, at least at senior level.