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Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 19:46 UK

ECB unveils leaner county season

Middlesex celebrate winning the Twenty20 Cup in 2008
Middlesex are the reigning Twenty20 champions after beating Kent in 2008

The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that the 2010 County season will comprise of three competitions.

There will be the County Championship, an enhanced Twenty20 tournament to be played in June and July, and a Sunday afternoon limited-overs competition.

The structure was agreed at a board meeting, although the T20 and Sunday League formats are yet to be finalised.

The ECB had been pondering two Twenty20 tournaments but last Wednesday revealed those plans had been scrapped.

Following a meeting with county chiefs the ECB decided not to go ahead with their idea of a two-division P20 competion, that would have been included with the existing Twenty20 Cup competition.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke said: "We canvassed a wide range of opinion and everyone was behind the principle of the primacy of Test match and County Championship cricket.


"It is important that the County Championship structure is maintained to support the England Test team.

"We all recognise that there is little appetite for Test match cricket in early May and this structure allows us to play Tests in June, July and August.

"We have also listened to the spectators and counties alike about the structure and the consensus was for Twenty20 cricket to be played in June and July with a final later in the season with the qualification matches primarily at weekends."

The new tournament will be split into a north and south pool, with exact playing regulations yet to be decided.

The Pro40 competition is already being dropped after this year to make room for more Twenty20 cricket.

Any extra Twenty20 competition would have caused scheduling problems for the ECB, while attracting sponsors and broadcasters might have proved difficult in the current economic climate.

The ICC World Twenty20 was staged in England this year and caused England's first Test of the series against West Indies to start early on 7 May.

That proved less than ideal and, with a similar scenario expected as England play two Test series each summer, the P20 has been scrapped.

The exact format of the Sunday League competition is also to be finalised. One option being considered is a 40-over concept with two innings per side with no limitations on bowlers.

The County Championship will remain a 16-match two-division campaign.

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see also
Caddick raises Twenty20 concerns
27 May 09 |  Somerset
Rose calls for extended T20
20 Jul 09 |  Counties
ECB reveals new Twenty20 leagues
29 Apr 09 |  Cricket
New-look English Twenty20 agreed
16 Jul 08 |  Counties
Middlesex win thrilling Cup final
26 Jul 08 |  Counties

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