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No decision yet on game of the future

By Richard Bright

Monday 21 April 1997

THE England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday insisted no decisions had yet been made regarding the future format of the County Championship following reports they were to switch to an American-style system.

Lord MacLaurin, chairman of the newly-installed board, is said to be the driving force behind a plan to introduce a structure next season similar to American baseball in which two equal divisions play towards semi-finals and a final.

A two-division County Championship with promotion and relegation has been regularly proposed by leading figures as a method of adding incentive and desire into a competition which many believe has gone stale and is a major factor in the decline of England's fortunes at Test level.

Many critics, meanwhile, feel Australia's Sheffield Shield, where less states play a highly-competitive style of cricket, is the answer but Tim Lamb, the ECB's chief executive, said: ``We have not definitely come up with any conclusions with regard to the County Championship and to try to give that impression would be misleading.

``No decisions have been taken either about the future of the County Championship or any part of the cricket pyramid. We are not authorised to change the face of English cricket without going through the due process.

``This American-style system is one which has been discussed but we have not reached any conclusions about any part of the cricket programme at first-class or the recreational level.''

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 14:49