England's new Twenty20 competition is comparable with Brexit - we must back it, says Ashley Giles

Nick Hoult
Giles (right) pictured with Warwickshire captain Ian Bell - Getty Images Europe

Ashley Giles has compared English cricket’s Twenty20 revolution to Brexit and called on the game to come together and back the competition.

Giles, the Warwickshire director of cricket, was speaking on the same day that Eoin Morgan, the England one-day captain, said the new Twenty20 competition will persuade the public to fall back in love with cricket.

Giles has returned to Warwickshire this summer, a club that have struggled to make a success of selling the Natwest Blast to the Birmingham public and is right behind the new competition.

 “I compare it to Brexit,” he said. “We’ve made a decision – let’s get on with it. We’ve seen these vehicles work well round the world. T20 is here to stay. It should protect the whole game. It’s not in anyone’s interest to see counties go out of business. The best players in fewer teams, in front of big audiences in big stadiums and watched by bigger TV audiences, can only be good for the game. If we’re to get this through, which I think we have, let’s stop talking about why it’s not going to work and how we can make it work as well as anywhere in the world.”

Morgan was asked to address the county chairmen on Monday by the England & Wales Cricket Board as part of their final presentation before the tournament is ratified.

Morgan has played short-form cricket all over the world Credit: getty images

 England players had up until the meeting toed the party line on the new Twenty20, normally backing the current Natwest Blast when asked about the proposed changes.But Morgan is a highly experienced Twenty20 freelancer and has long been an advocate for English cricket to catch up with the rest of the world and county chairmen say his argument was persuasive.

 “I gave them my experience of playing T20 around the world. I have played six years of IPL [Indian Premier League], three of the Big Bash and various others. This last year and a half the impact the Big Bash has had has been phenomenal,” said Morgan.

The NatWest Blast has failed to capture the imagination  Credit: Getty images

 “Change is always difficult but this probably should have happened a while ago. We will always have the same cricket fans unless we do something differently. The CPL [Caribbean Premier League] is a good example. They took it to America [last year] and it was a huge hit. It’s a huge for growing the game. People are falling out of love [with cricket] because we’re not engaging with the public enough. The intention to have games on free-to- air television is a huge part of it. One of the biggest turning points for my generation was the 2005 Ashes, people in and around London specifically who aren’t involved in cricket were talking about cricket and that was awesome.”

James Taylor has landed his first coaching role since his enforced retirement last year after agreeing a contract with Northamptonshire.Taylor will work as a consultant during their Royal London Cup campaign.

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“I’m excited,” Taylor said. “They are a skilful side who have clearly done well in one-day cricket in the past. I spent a bit of time commentating at the County Ground last season and am keen to offer up my expertise to the squad. Whilst my focus will no doubt be on the batsmen, I will be on hand to assist across all areas. I can’t wait to get started.”

Dave Richardson, chief executive of the International Cricket Council, believes the “majority of nations” have come round to cricket becoming an Olympic sport, 

although without the support of India it will remain unlikely. “We need to make a decision by July this year so we can make an application in time for September, when, as I understand it, the IOC [International Olympic Committee] will consider new sports for 2024,” he said. 

“I think the majority of the members, and certainly myself, think the time is right and we’ve come to the conclusion that the overall benefit to the game in terms of globalising and growing it, outweigh any negatives, so I’m hoping.”

"Eoin Morgan was attending a Chance to Shine and Yorkshire Tea event to promote the Junior Journalist competition. To find out more and to enter go to www.chancetoshine.org/ juniorjourno"

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