Could Kent soon be playing county cricket in a conference system?

The St Lawrence Cricket Ground in Canterbury

Sussex cricket chief executive Rob Andrew is calling for the two-tier county championship system to be replaced by a conference system.

The former England rugby player believes the present set-up with promotion and relegation “does little for the game in the long-term”.

Kent have found themselves in division two of the County Championship since 2011, having been relegated alongside Essex the previous year.

So how could a new conference system function? These are considerations for Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan who will chair a working group looking at “refining the structure” of the game ahead of 2020.

One idea being considered would see three conferences of six with the first 10 games of the season against these opponents.

Sussex supremo Rob Andrew

The results would form the basis for the second round of conferences.

Each side would play their opponents once with the results leading to an overall winner and a league table ranking each of the 18 clubs.

Andrew says such a format would each encourage each side to think it has a good chance of success.

“I’m yet to have anyone fully explain to me the value of promotion and relegation in the County Championship and what it good it does for the game,” Andrew said.

“From what I can see, people scramble to keep themselves in division one or get up from division two and make short-term decisions because of the pressure from members or sponsors.

“I feel if you structure conferences the right way, everyone starts the competition thinking they can win it,” Andrew said.

“All 18 counties start on a level playing field and are excited about their chances.”

Andrew also wants to see fewer overseas players available in order to increase the number of English-qualified players in county sides to nine.


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