Q&A – The Return of Domestic Cricket

What’s Happening?

Domestic cricket is coming back! While the BCCI wriggle-out of international series, and prevaricate on the Women’s IPL-Lite, the T20 Challenge, the ECB have committed to holding a “proper” women’s domestic tournament in what’s left of 2020.

Is That A Good Thing™?

It is fantastic news, and definitely A Good Thing™!

Which Teams Will Be Involved?

We’re talking about the 8 new regional teams which broadly align geographically with The Hundred sides – so there’s one based around Middlesex, one in the West Country, one in Yorkshire, another in Lancashire, etc. etc..

What Are The Team Names?

Several of the teams have chosen to carry-forward their brands from the KSL – so fans will still be able to watch the Southern Vipers and the Western Storm, as well as new teams like the Sunrisers in Middlesex/ Essex.

What’s The Format?

This will be 50-over cricket, with the teams playing in two regional groups (presumably north and south) followed by a national grand final.

What Will The Competition Be Called?

We don’t know yet, but The Enid Bakewell Trophy would look to be a popular choice!

Which Players Will Be Playing For “My” Team?

Apart from the 20 players who were given regional retainers, even the teams don’t know yet! A handful of players have made informal agreements to play at a particular side, but all the rest of the spots are still up for grabs. Players have been told to treat the “friendly” county matches which are going on at the moment as trials, where they can make a case for themselves!

Will The England Players Be Playing?

Probably not – the England squad are currently strictly “bubbled-up” under government COVID-19 regulations, in preparation for a hectic international series versus South Africa at Derby in September; and England will be reluctant to let anyone out of that bubble because they will then have to re-quarantine (a-la Jofra Archer) before being let back in to the bubble, in the event that they are needed.

Will The Players Be Paid?

In more good news, the answer is YES – everyone that plays will get a match fee. It won’t be huge, but in the light of the current situation this is great for the players.

Where & When Will The Games Be Played?

This is still TBC – even the regional directors don’t know yet – so expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks.

Will I Be Able To Go And Watch?

That’s partly up to the government, as these matches will count as “Elite Sport”. This means they are covered under completely different COVID-19 regs to club or women’s county cricket, which are “Recreational Sport”, so TLDR… no one can give you a definitive answer on that yet.

Will The Games Be Live-Streamed?

That will likely be up to the teams to organise themselves. (Additionally, there are technically some restrictions on live-streaming when Sky are also showing live cricket, so that may factor-in too if Sky decide to enforce their exclusivity rights.)

What About County?

There will definitely be some county fixtures, but that’s up to the counties themselves to organise – keep a close eye on Twitter, as they’ll probably deliberately be flown slightly under the radar, certainly at the bigger counties, to keep everything COVID-safe.