English cricket will”fix the balance” between red and white-ball cricket during the upcoming few years.
Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, accepts that white-ball cricket took priority in the prior four-year cycle and he takes the plan, put in place by his predecessor, Andrew Strauss, paid away.
However he accepts England’s Test cricket might have”endured a little bit.” England are now No. 4 in the ICC’s Test rankings while they’re No. 1 at the ODI and No. 2 in the T20I rankings. And to this end, he feels that the red-ball game should now be given greater priority concerning planning, investment and scheduling.
“When Strauss came in he said we must swing the balance towards white-ball cricket and that’s what we did,” Giles explained.
“It was the attention we needed. It was the plan that led to us winning the World Cup which we looked miles away from performing in 2015. It was essential that the pendulum didn’t swing back to 50-50, it had to swing straight back to white-ball cricket. We had never approached matters in that way before in this nation.
“Has Test cricket suffered a little bit? Well, maybe a little bit. We will need to do this in red-ball cricket today. When it’s the World Test Championship or not, Test cricket is actually important to people in this country. We have not neglected Test cricket for white-ball cricket, but focus has definitely been more on that side and we simply have to redress that balance today.
“In the future we need to work together with the counties on generating potential Evaluation players. Our attention has certainly been around white-ball cricket and we need to redress that balance now to try and even things out.”
Giles’ task isn’t straightforward. The county program will last to see white-ball cricket take precedence in summit – there will not be a County Championship cricket played in the white-ball window built for Your Hundred and 50-over cricket out of 2020 – that means domestic first-class cricket will continue to be played in the margins of the season when pitches tend to offer substantial assistance to seam bowlers.
However there a few tools available . To begin with, county cricket is already utilizing a brand of Dukes ball using a less dominant seam that provides a bit less help for bowlers. The counties also have been encouraged to supply better batting surfaces at the expectation that seamers are required to work harder for their wickets and batsmen can acquire some shape and confidence in a more meritocratic environment. It is also hoped the combo of flatter wickets and less useful balls will encourage the growth of faster bowlers and spinners.
This prioritisation will also be shown at the value of their new central contracts. While gamers in most formats will receive a significant pay rise once the new contracts start in October – these contracted for crimson and white-ball cricket will make just under #1m a year before appearance fees – the percent increase will be higher for people involved in Test cricket. Meanwhile young fast bowlers will be taken on to incremental contracts – a scheme that will replace the fast bowling programme – that will make it possible for the England management to break them, or place them in overseas cricket, as they see fit.
There are also less leeway for Test players to get involved in T20 leagues, such as the IPL. While appearances in such leagues have aided England’s player grow in the white-ball game – and while there’s a World T20 Cup at the end of next year – Giles is keen to ensure candidates for the Test team have rested and reacclimatised to English conditions before returning into the Evaluation team. He hopes the value of the new central contracts – that will see a few England players earning involving #1.2 and #1.5m a year when appearance fees are included – can diminish the allure of these leagues because of his leading assets.
First and foremost, though, he needs the county match – and the ECB pathways – to deliver much better results. This means creating an environment where top-order batsmen have a better chance to grow, where counties are rewarded for generating players and where the qualities necessary to succeed in Test cricket are replicated and cultivated.
“And what we’ve seen this year is sides preparing better pitches to play . Because of this, scores are better and there appears to be greater cricket round the country; very competitive cricket. The stats would say that when we’ve had a deep and successful [Test] batting order, we’ve had a really powerful County Championship with large scores, lots of runs and batsmen scoring 1,000 runs a season. We certainly need the county and network system to function with us.
“Even just saying’we’re going to win the World Cup’ in 2015 put a great deal of emphasis on our focus concerning how we grew players, grew talent and spotted talent. We do need to redress that, so placing more emphasis on how we encourage and improve our own long-form cricketers. And some of that is all about working with the counties and cooperating more on growing a larger pool of players to prepare to play Test cricket.
“However, it not likely to be an overnight change. We will not suddenly start producing dozens of top-order players. In the brief term, the Test Championship has to be on our to-do list. It will not get much tougher but we have to get that as a target. Test cricket’s very important to us and we will need to be attempting to compete for that Championship and when not that one then the next one.
Next year in Australia likely represents a really good opportunity for us to acquire that and would not it be good if we can hold both white-ball decorations at once?
“Using our resources, we should be trying to compete across as many formats as we could. In the really short term you could swing some of your focus towards T20 cricket rather than 50-over cricket because we’re four decades away from another 50-over World Cup. But we need to give Test cricket the attention it deserves.”