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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Cricket votes for shorter contest
Headingley members are against the new concept
Headingley members are against the new concept
Cricket is attempting to widen its appeal to younger fans by introducing a 20-over-a-side competition.

The new contest will come into force from 2003 and will replace the Benson and Hedges Cup.

Some counties were opposed to the idea, with Yorkshire, for example, insisting it was a bad idea.

But on Thursday, the England and Wales Cricket Board's First Class Forum - on which all counties had a representative - voted in favour of the radical change.

This is another very positive development for the future of cricket in this country
ECB's Tim Lamb
The new competition will run for three years initially and will continue if it becomes a success.

Tim Lamb, chief executive of the ECB, said after the meeting: "I'm delighted that the FCF have voted to back the introduction of a new 20-over competition.

"This is another very positive development for the future of cricket in this country.

"It's essential that we reach out and appeal to a new generation of young cricket followers, and this new competition is designed to do exactly that."

The new format is trying to encourage youth
The new format is trying to encourage youth

The matches will last three hours and will start at either 5.30pm or 7.30pm under floodlights.

Yorkshire's Chris Hassell told BBC Radio Five Live: "We do not believe this competition will improve the standard of the England team, which should be the ultimate goal.

"We don't see people willing to fight their way through the rush hour for a 20-over match.

"We can't see how this is going to bring a new audience to the game and we should stick with the tried and trusted one, four and five day variations of the game."

But Lancashire's chief executive Jim Cumbes sees the new format as the way ahead, and also feels it may benefit England's chances of making an impact on the one-day game.

"You either have the ability or you don't, but what it may do is concentrate minds on how to play the last 20 overs of an international match, which can be crucial," he said.

"The 20-over game has been successful in other parts of the world, notably South Africa and we feel it is worth a try."

Gloucester coach John Bracewell
"In New Zealand it attracted a new audience"
Yorkshire coach Wayne Clarke
"It doesn't appeal to me"
Would you watch a 20-over cricket match?



4672 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
See also:

10 Apr 02 |  England
Foster stays in England elite
04 Mar 02 |  Counties
Sponsor blow for county cricket
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