Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England batsman Michael Lumb, who is renowned for being a Twenty20 specialist, has announced that “the UK is crying out for a city-based franchise”.
Lumb’s comments come after Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale said that exact same thing just a few weeks ago.
“The UK is crying out for a city-based franchise,” Lumb told ESPNcricinfo. “Playing in T20, we have fallen way behind. Compared to the IPL, the Big Bash…I think we’re nowhere. The crowds aren’t as good. I definitely think we can improve our product.
“I think the suits in England need to get out and watch the game over here and see what this is about because we are falling way behind the rest of the world.”
Lumb is also convinced that more people will invest their time in Twenty20 cricket if the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decide to adopt a city-based franchise system like the IPL and Big Bash League (BBL).
“City franchises might alienate a few but the new T20 competition is totally different to the traditional County Championship,” he said. “The competition is made to create new fans. You haven’t got your diehard fans; it’s about kids and families coming along.
“It’s all about the experience rather than this Yorkshire v Lancashire, Notts v Derby sort of rivalry. If you create a good product the new spectators will come. You can see at the Big Bash, a lot of kids, a lot of families. That’s what we want – to get young people into the game and see them enjoying it.”
Lumb, who is currently representing the Sydney Sixers, stated that the BBL is by far the best domestic Twenty20 tournament in the world.
“I think this is the best competition in the world at the moment as far as standards go,” he said. “You play on good wickets, you have guys who bowl 140-150kph, guys who smack it out of the park and exceptional fielding.
“Compared to the product back home where we play on slow, turning, nibbly wickets where guys who wouldn’t get away with it on good pitches get a game. The whole thing needs a reshape. The standard here in Australia is superior, I think, to that back in England.”
Lumb also made it clear that he is not a fan of the ECB’s decision to hold Twenty20s on Friday nights.
“As a player I don’t really like Friday nights. You don’t have much time to prepare as you come straight out of a four-day game into a Friday night game so your preparation is pretty slack,” he said. “If you speak to people, it takes a lot of following. People lose track of what is going on. And as a player, you can lose four or five games and still get into the semi-finals whereas if you condensed it and less teams and less games it puts more onto each game and improves the standard.
“The best players in the world aren’t going to come for a three-month window. They are going to come for a shorter period. That’s what you want: the best players in the world for a short amount of time, get it done and have a good product.”