New 100-ball format crucial to ECB future plans, says Colin Graves
'We’ve built the format's skeleton - now we've got to dress it with detail'
Last Updated: 16/05/18 4:58pm
Cricket must continue innovating to attract more children and a greater proportion of British Asians to the game, says England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves.
Last month, the ECB unanimously backed a proposal for a new eight-team, 100-ball competition but were criticised by the Professional Cricketers' Association for not consulting players about the plan.
Speaking to Sky Sports pundit Mike Atherton, Graves said that - while many details have yet to be finalised before the format is introduced in 2020 - cricket cannot continue to ignore the audience that the Twenty20 format isn't currently attracting.
In addition, he said that:
- The ECB is committed to providing extra funding to each and every county and that there will continue to be 18 counties in the first-class game
- County cricket members and supporters will be able to watch an alternative form of the game that will run concurrently with the 100-ball tournament
The ECB has formed a working party to re-examine the structure of the domestic game and Graves explained: "We need to get everyone involved. We don't want to take it outside of cricket.
"I believe the cricket family should decide what the future of cricket looks like. We could quite easily sit here and do nothing but that would be the wrong thing to do."
Asked by Atherton if the ECB is currently more unpopular than ever, 70-year-old Graves replied: "I believe we are doing all of the right things for the game. Last year we had 40,000 kids in All Stars Cricket. That's unheard of. This year it's going to be 50,000.
"The first thing I did when I was chairman was sign off the Kia Super League. In three years we've come from just starting a Super League to winning the World Cup last year.
"Our men are number one [in the world rankings] in 50-over cricket. We've come a long, long way in three years and those are all positive things."
England's Test team go into next week's series against Pakistan ranked fifth in the world but Graves dismissed the notion that the ECB has neglected the five-day format to pursue success in white-ball cricket ahead of next year's ICC World Cup on home soil.
"In the whole of world cricket we, along with Australia, are really pushing Test cricket," he said.
"We are the ones who pushed for the World Test Championship - we believe that is paramount to get some context into Test match cricket going forward, so we are a big advocate of Test match cricket.
"I'm passionate about Test match cricket, so are [ECB Director] Andrew Strauss and [Chief Executive Officer] Tom Harrison."