Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has suggested a unique idea to help England regain their supremacy in Test cricket. England have revamped their ODI cricket and are one of the strongest sides in the shorter formats. However, their Test form has seen a massive dip. The team has been on a long stretched losing streak and only look a shadow of their own.
Pietersen feels the current County system is not good enough to prepare the youngsters for the highest level. Pietersen suggested that a red ball franchise tournament like ‘The Hundered’ is something that England Cricket Board (ECB) can think about.
“With the money elsewhere in the game, the (County) Championship in its current form is not fit to serve the Test team,” Pietersen wrote in a blog post on Betway.
“The best players don’t want to play in it, so young English players aren’t learning from other greats like I did. Batters are being dismissed by average bowlers on poor wickets and the whole thing is spiralling. In The Hundred, the ECB have actually produced a competition with some sort of value. It is the best against the best, marketed properly, and the audience engaged with it.”
“They got new people to the games and I can tell you that the players will have to improve markedly for featuring alongside other greats. It’s such a valuable experience,” Pietersen wrote in a blog post on Betway.
Pietersen said that playing alongside some of the greats of game will be a great experience for the young England players. “They now need to introduce a similar franchise competition for red-ball cricket, whereby the best play against the best every single week. They would make money available to attract some of the best overseas players in the world and the top English players would benefit from playing alongside them. It would be a marketable, exciting competition, which would drive improvement in the standard and get people back through the gates for long-form cricket.”
Pietersen further raised questions on the pitches that are being prepared for the County Championship and said they are too batting friendly. The 41-year-old opined that more bowling friendly pitches will do a world of good to the batters.
“The pitches are monitored by the ECB so that we’re not seeing majorly bowler-friendly conditions like we do now. We have to have good pitches that reward and encourage strong batting techniques, batting for long periods of time, and that require skill from bowlers to take wickets.” Pietersen added that the county system can work as the “feeder system” where players are developed until they’re ready to step up.”
Pietersen said that people are preferring franchise tournaments as it allows them to earn hefty pay cheques and if ECB can introduce a similar league in red-ball cricket, it will be a massive encouragement for the players to work on the skills that are required to succeed in Test cricket.
“I can promise you that the current England team and lots of the best youngsters in the system still see Test cricket, in particular Ashes cricket, as the pinnacle. But the world’s best players are involved in the IPL, the PSL, the Big Bash, The Hundred, and so on, so it’s no good denying them the chance to make their millions anymore, as I was back in the day. We need to produce lucrative, high-quality, interesting competitions that reward and improve the best players. This could be one,” he wrote.”
England are staring yet another clean sweep in Australia after losing the first three Tests of the series.