Muralidaran sees a lot of potential in England’s Friends Life Twenty20 competition
Sri Lanka legendary spinner Muttiah Muralidaran has announced that he believes England’s domestic Twenty20 tournament is “old-fashioned” and outdated compared to India’s star-studded Indian Premier League (IPL).
Muralidaran is currently playing in his second season for Gloucestershire in the Friends Life Twenty20 competition, and also feels as if the team should merge with their arch-rivals Somerset.
“That would be good as they are close counties and they would benefit financially,” Muralidaran said.
However, the England and Wales Cricket Board insist the an 18-county system is the way to go, even though there are not that many English players participating due to the hectic international schedule.
When asked about whether the Friends Life Twenty20 competition was in the league of the other domestic Twenty20 competitions, Muralidaran stated that it had now fallen way behind all of them.
“They introduced it worldwide but now England is old-fashioned, they need to change and become franchised teams and each county would benefit financially. If it happens like that it would be huge in England. I think the market is there, and the TV rights will come,” he said.
There is currently still a lot of debate going on about the structure of the Friends Life Twenty20 competition, but as of this season, there are 18 counties, each of which are allowed to sign a maximum of two overseas players, and will be divided into three groups of six, where they will play 10 matches each before the quarterfinal stage.
Muralidaran, even believes that the England domestic Twenty20 competition has fallen behind that of Bangladesh’s Premier League (BPL).
“Bangladesh launched it big and their crowds have been 30-40,000 for every match, Australia has merged into eight franchises so I think England should also do that and it could equal IPL,” Muralidaran said.
Muralidaran, also believes that if Gloucestershire were to merge with their arch-rivals Somerset, it would be beneficial to helping the Friends Life Twenty20 take a step closer in becoming one of the best domestic Twenty20 tournaments.
“At the end of the day the public will see good cricket and enjoy it, money will be spinning from the competition and they can sustain the other forms of the game within county cricket. It would be one of the best things to happen if they do that. It will make sure the competition is more successful than what it is now,” Muralidaran added.