The England and Wales Cricket Board face major embarrassment over their plans to conduct market research at country grounds during the Twenty20 Cup.
The Post understands that at least two counties are refusing to allow the market research to take place on their grounds until they have seen examples of the questions. Kent are understood to be particularly concerned.
The ECB are hoping to conduct the research in order to ascertain the public desire for the future direction of domestic cricket. However, despite repeated requests from counties, the ECB have yet to provide clarification over the line of questioning.
The issue highlights the lack of trust between the parties. Several county officials are concerned that the ECB has an agenda and will use the market research to produce the results they want.
In the worst case scenario, that could mean a move to a regional Twenty20 competition that would effectively exclude some counties.
The legitimacy of the market research is questionable anyway. The fact that it is staged only at Twenty20 matches, rather than across a broader range of cricket competitions, is sure to influence the results, while the reluctance of the ECB to conduct the process in an open manner will only increase the suspicion.
The issue is the latest in a long line that questions the competence of the ECB. Despite the fact that the Twenty20 Cup begins today, many questions remain to be answered.
As things stand the Indian Cricket Board (the BCCI) are insisting that 15 of the 18 counties are ineligible for the Champions League final because of their involvement with players who took part in the 'rebel' Indian Premier League.
The event also has neither a venue or date while uncertainly remains over the allocation of overseas players, the legality of counties' pre-existing sponsorship agreements and the availability of many international players.