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Keaton Jennings argues against reduction in number of County Championship fixtures

Keaton Jennings, the Lancashire and England opener, has referred to as for the construction of the English season to be improved however has opposed the thought put ahead by Andrew Strauss’s high-performance evaluate that county cricketers must play much less or that the variety of Championship matches ought to be diminished from 14.

On Saturday, Jennings will lead out Lancashire in opposition to Kent within the Royal London Cup remaining at Trent Bridge on the finish of every week wherein the Emirates Previous Trafford aspect have had no recreation. That works effectively as regards preparation for a white-ball match but it surely additionally signifies that within the 53 days from July 29 to September 19, Dane Vilas’ crew could have performed only one four-day recreation.

Different counties can level to comparable eccentricities, not all of them attributable to the Hundred, and Jennings’ feedback come on the finish of every week wherein Somerset’s board advised the ECB that the present schedule is “unacceptable”.

“For my part you possibly can maintain the 14 County Championship video games and that is solely what Ben Stokes mentioned on social media a number of weeks in the past,” mentioned Jennings. “However you possibly can consider breaks, so to play three four-day video games after which have a break from the Championship. I feel my view is consultant and it actually echoes what the England captain mentioned.

“I feel 14 video games is an efficient quantity and the cricket we play is of fine high quality, however the issue comes when you could have every week off at the beginning of April after which one other at the beginning of September. Together with the Royal London Ultimate, we play 13 days in September whereas in April we have been enjoying 12 in 17.”

Lancashire’s issues have been compounded at the beginning of the season by the truth that having had every week off earlier than their aggressive programme started they then performed six four-day video games on the trot, shedding the final of them by an innings to Essex, who had simply had every week off. However Lancashire aren’t alone. Leicestershire performed seven video games in succession between April 7 and Might 22 and different counties have recognized comparable issues with their schedule.

Critics have additionally questioned why the five-week size of the Hundred, if not its variety of video games, can’t be included in any evaluate, and Jennings’ feedback additionally counsel that the view of county cricketers could also be way more nuanced than Strauss’s generalisation that the gamers wish to play much less would possibly point out. Actually Jennings helps the view that younger cricketers must play all through the season if they’re to be correctly ready for the challenges they are going to face.

“You may’t solely play cricket in April and September, you’ll want to play cricket all through the season,” Jennings mentioned. “Bowlers must discover ways to take wickets when the solar’s out and pitches are flat, batters must work out the right way to get runs when it is nipping round. The skillsets are completely different and we’d like go throughout the summer time.

“We have to guarantee now we have the skillset to have the ability to adapt in accordance with the situations. You may consider break time that enables groups to refresh after which come again with good depth. I do not suppose we must always play much less however the season must be structured higher.”

Paul Edwards is a contract cricket author. He has written for the Instances, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and different publications

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ESPNcricinfo is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches, and StatsGuru, a database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present. As of March 2018, Sambit Bal was the editor.

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