COUNTY chief Steve Rhodes has thrown his support behind the Morgan Report proposals to increase domestic one-day cricket to 50 overs.
The New Road director of cricket believes young cricketers coming into the county game — the future England players — will benefit from being exposed to the same format that is used at international level.
However, Rhodes doesn’t agree with every aspect of Morgan’s recommendations and is against the other main proposal of the report, which calls for a reduction from 16 to 14 matches in the County Championship season in time for the 2013 season.
The abandonment of the domestic 50-over format in 2009 put the English game out of step with international cricket and Rhodes would like to see a return to the status quo.
“Personally, I am in favour of moving back to a 50-over game. I think it is far more interesting than 40 overs,” the former England wicketkeeper said.
“I also think it is very important that our young players — those who are going to be the next generation of England players — are regularly playing domestic 50-over cricket.”
Regarding the proposed reduction in the number of County Championship matches, Rhodes feels the current system works well and that his fellow coaches have adapted well to make the most of it.
A 14-match County Championship season with nine teams in each division would mean teams facing some opponents once and others twice.
Rhodes said: “I think David Morgan was given a job of coming up with a structure for the county game that revolved around reducing the amount of cricket played.
“Because of that, it was felt that reducing the number of Championship matches played was the only way to do it.
“The view of the coaches is that if we are considering reducing the amount of cricket, then the bigger priority should be maintaining 16 four-day games.
“I believe the present structure in place for this year can be achieved.
“Sure, we would all like more time to prepare for or review games, but the players these days train really well over the winter to prepare for an arduous season.
“Their nutrition is also far better than it used to be, so they are more ready to cope with the rigours of the modern game.
“On top of that, the coaches recognise — as we do with Alan Richardson — that to get 16 four-day games out of some of your important senior players, you have to rest them at times.
“Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and leave people like Alan out for the one-day games.”
Rhodes added: “The 16-game County Championship is a wonderful competition, it is working well and is one of the reasons why England are the number one-ranked Test nation in the world.”