Jason Ratcliffe opposed the introduction of new T20 competition in English cricket terming it as the ‘huge gamble.’ He is the former second in command at Professional Cricketers Association. He was with PCA in the last 14 years until he stepped down as the chief executive in 2016. The senior official said that there has been lack of discussion, which was restricted to the inner circles about the new and substantial step. He said, this will change the landscape of English cricket forever. Ratcliffe feels he has deep understanding of issues in cricket as he has been with county cricket for 15 years. As a member of multitude of ECB committees, he has extensive experience.
Per the senior official said the existing T20 competition the NatWest Blast is successful to attain considerable audience after four years of its existence. In the tournament, the ‘appointment to view’ worked fine. But introduction of a new format with new teams and identities is most likely to have negative impact, mulls Ratcliffe. Being skeptic on the new plan, he wants ECB to focus on the existent format, that is, the NatWest Blast. He warned that if the strategy goes wrong it would mean the death of county cricket for England. He said they are at risk of “throwing away” a 130 years old history. The former player suggested an introduction of eight-team competition at the start of the T20 review.
The ex-official is concerned about the aftereffect of the strategy if it fails, because it would have a catastrophic impact on county cricket. He also highlighted the talks about some “leap of faith” by Tom Harrison, ECB chief executive. Ratcliffe feels that the step as a gamble with the whole of county cricket at stake. He also compared the fate of Welsh Rugby Union, which could not find any success after following a similar strategy back in 2003.
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