Should Counties be careful who they sign?
With the news being reported on Cricinfo that Australian opening batsman Ed Cowan may play for Notts next season – an Ashes season – it raises the question that occurs most seasons “how much responsibility does County Cricket have to Team England”.
Signing an Australian who will come over here and play the first couple of months of the season, getting themselves theoretically in to nick and acclimatised to the conditions before going out and playing against our national side isn’t without controversy. It’s far from ideal from an England point of view. And let’s not forget that county cricket is reliant on the ECB money generated by Team England although I would argue that this being redistributed back to the counties isn’t a “handout” as some call it. It is a recognition of and a reward for the hard work counties do in finding and developing England players.
Should counties be more mindful of England fixtures when deciding on their overseas signings?
Yes – maybe. But equally, county cricket is there to both serve Team England but equally maybe more importantly it is there to provide high quality, entertaining cricket for those who pay to go and watch it. And if to provide the highest quality cricket you can it involves signing an overseas player who then goes on to play against England later in the season then maybe so be it?
It has been increasingly difficult for counties to be able to secure the services of high quality overseas players – because of the increasingly packed schedules and the changes in the visa regulations and the competition from other competitions. If a quality player becomes available and is willing to sign – perhaps they should just snap them up.
County cricket is about winning trophies and entertaining the paying public. Not just servicing Team England.
What’s your view?