Somerset will have “no truck” with T20 franchises – Andy Nash

PC2Somerset will have “no truck” with a move to franchise T20 cricket, club chairman Andy Nash made clear today.

Nash was unequivocal that Somerset had not invested millions of pounds in developing the club only to see T20 cricket in the West Country move away to a Bristol-based franchise.

Nash was speaking as the ECB began a post mortem into England’s miserable World Cup campaign, which saw the team fail to make it through to the quarter-finals. The national side’s woes have opened up the debate over T20 franchises and whether county cricket is adequately preparing England players to compete on the world stage.

Not surprisingly the franchise argument is not one which has gained any traction in Somerset and Nash took the opportunity at the club’s media day this morning to set out the club’s position.

In response to a question from The Incider, Nash said: “Somerset will have no truck with franchises whatsoever. Let’s be absolutely clear. We haven’t built what we have here in recent years to see the game move away to Vodafone Bristol.

“Somerset play a very exciting brand of one-day cricket. It’s clear there need to be changes to ensure the players are able to hone their skills in one-day cricket and we now see those skills being taken forward from T20 into the longer form of the game. But it’s vital the counties are given the chance to compete in whatever reshaped T20 we ultimately conclude is right.”

Nash admitted that England’s performances in the World Cup had been “abysmal”, but he felt it was unfair to lay the blame at the door of county cricket.

He pointed out that it was not that long ago that Australia were beaten in successive Ashes series, something which didn’t precipitate change at a domestic level in that country.

He said: “I’m sure the conversations that we know are going on at the ECB this week will be very mindful of what is required to make sure we don’t again fail to turn up at a World Cup or an Ashes series and play such an embarrassing brand of cricket.

“When you look at the Australian team, they were being completely lampooned by their own media only about two years ago.

“But I don’t think the Australians sought out to blame the (domestic) state cricket set-up for the shambles they had. It hasn’t changed one jot and they’ve completely transformed their national team with largely the same players and the same captain. And I’m pretty clear that’s the challenge for Team England too.”

PC

Nash accepted that if some counties were to decide they couldn’t afford to compete in any reshaped T20 competition and wanted to merge with a neighbour then that was up to them.

But he added: “I don’t think you’ll find anybody at Somerset arguing for a merger with Gloucester or anyone else to play with a white ball.

“It’s just not going to happen.

“We know we can play a brand of cricket here, with the squad that we’ve got, and the youngsters coming through, to win an English Premier League – if that’s what’s coming. So I couldn’t be clearer from the chair’s perspective that that’s what we will set out to do.”

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard agreed that the domestic game was very strong.

Maynard said: “I think throughout the county game everyone plays with a will to win every game. It’s highly competitive and to suggest otherwise is wrong. That’s the beauty of it and that’s why we do develop a lot of good players here. It’s then how you look after those players and how you then select them and what roles they play within the team that’s key.”

  • The Incider is running a survey asking for the views of Somerset fans into the prospect of T20 franchises and other possible changes to county cricket being considered by the ECB.

We’ve had a tremendous response to the survey already, with the majority voting against the introduction of franchises in English cricket and an even larger majority saying they would not travel to watch a Bristol-based franchise, even if a handful of Somerset players were taking part.

To make sure you have your say, complete our simple survey by clicking on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SZF6Q5H

All responses are anonymous and we won’t ask for names or any other personal information – just your views.

We’ll keep the survey open until the end of March go give as many people as possible the opportunity to have their say.