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ECB reveals 2010 structure

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The England and Wales Cricket Board has agreed on a policy for the domestic structure which protected the primacy of Test cricket and the County Championship when they decided on a three-competition domestic structure.

The LV= County Championship will remain as a 16-match two-division competition while the enhanced Twenty20 - P20 - will be played in June and July with a finals day later in the season and there will be a limited-overs Sunday afternoon competition.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, 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.”

Giles Clarke

ECB chairman Giles Clarke acknowledged there is "little appetite" for Test cricket in the early part of the summer

The enhanced Twenty20 competition will be based on two pools of nine which will be split on north-south lines. This means that the competition retains the local derby element which is so successful at the moment. The matches will be played on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays in the main.

The ECB board have still to decide on the playing regulations for the competition although there will be no restrictions on the number of overseas players who can be registered. However, there will be a restriction, yet to be decided, on the numbers who can play in each competition.

The third competition will see a return of the much loved Sunday League but the exact format is yet to be confirmed but, importantly, spectators will be provided with regular cricket from 2010.

The ECB feels there is a worldwide desire to find a way of reinvigorating and revitalising the 50-over game.

The game has experimented with powerplays and super subs and now the ECB, along with other countries, have decided to explore new options.

Research tells ECB this is something the spectators and counties want to see happen. One option being considered is a 40-over concept with two innings per side with no limitations on bowlers.

The ECB is committed to 50-over cricket at international level with a total of 13 ODIs against Bangladesh, Australia and Pakistan as well as an extended programme of England Lions 50-over games.

These matches, along with those played in Australia in the winter of 2010-11, will provide the practice required for the ICC World Cup in early 2011.

The board have referred their decisions back to the ECB cricket committee so that the schedule, rules and regulations can be drawn up as a matter of urgency.