ECB push away the armchair

THE points system in the LV County Championship has been revised for 2010 and the use of the heavy roller after the start of a game has been banned. Increasing the value of a win is a welcome step not just because brighter play will be encouraged. More robust pitches should help the England selectors identify the best batsmen with greater certainty.

Too many easy armchair runs have been scored on moribund strips for too long in recent seasons. Flat pitches have meant that the best bowlers rise to the top, with England benefiting, but the batting is weak in comparison to the major nations, most notably Australia. A return to uncovered pitches must be out of the question as nobody gains from a selection point of view. The reduction in heavy rolling should be a good compromise.

The ECB announced today that 16 points would be awarded for a win, rather than 14, and three points for a draw, rather than four.

Bonus points are to remain unchanged, with a maximum of five batting points and three bowling points available during each side’s first innings. The threshold for achieving them has been reduced to 110 overs from the 120 overs allowed before. In the early era of the four-day championship, which started in 1993, a draw and defeat were both worth nil points until it was recognised that this defied sporting logic when the level of intensity needed maintaining as long as possible.

The ECB said that the changes had been approved in an effort to “encourage and incentivise positive cricket throughout the season” as well as promoting good cricket pitches. The England selection advantages were not mentioned, but that would be a key to the decision.

Spectators at county games are likely to see more varied cricket.

LV Championship

Maximum points victory: 24pts (22pts in 2009)

Maximum points draw: 11pts (12pts)

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