Mark Newton has reacted with surprise to the news that a minority of club chief executives have put forward plans for a radical restructure of domestic Twenty20 cricket.
Newton, the Worcestershire chief executive, dismissed the franchise concept, stating: “the idea cannot possibly work in this country.”
“I’m totally surprised,” Newton said. “I attended two chief executives’ meetings in the last few days where all the counties were represented and no one brought this idea up. We had deep discussions about Twenty20 cricket but this idea wasn’t mentioned by anybody.
“All 18 counties bought into the idea that we must have an enhanced EPL [English Premier League] in June incorporating more international players – particularly Indian players – and the England players. But the TV companies have stated very clearly that they are not interested in city franchises.
“Twelve million people already love their cricket in this country and this would just disenfranchise them.
“One of the great joys of county cricket is that we already have 18 franchises: the counties. We don’t need it and cricket lovers won’t want it.
“County cricket drove the one-day revolution of the 1960s. And county cricket drove the Twenty20 revolution. I would argue that the counties know what works. We actually have a history of getting most decisions right.
“I haven’t seen the details of the proposal but I’m told the nine teams would expect to continue using their county names.
“I don’t feel threatened because I don’t see any possibility of this happening,” he added.
Although Warwickshire would be expected to be one of the nine ‘hosting’ teams in this new version of the EPL, they have not been involved in its conception.
Warwickshire’s chief executive, Colin Povey, is on holiday, but the club’s commercial director, James McLaughlin, attended the chief executives’ meeting as Warwickshire’s representative and also expressed surprise.
“This wasn’t discussed in the [chief executives’] meeting,” he said. “I don’t know where it’s come from but Warwickshire have not been part of it.”
Speaking to The Post a couple of weeks ago, Povey stated: “We would like a sensible amount more Twenty20 cricket but it must be county based and not city or franchise based. I’d think between 12 or 14 of the chief executives would see it that way.”