Buttler, Malan backs Strauss high performance review on reduction of county games

New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) England white-ball captain Jos Buttler and left-handed batter Dawid Malan have backed the high-performance review led by former skipper Andrew Strauss, which also has a proposal to reduce the number of County Championship matches.

Last week, Strauss presented a High-Performance Review which was sanctioned by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after the 4-0 Men’s Ashes thrashing in January. One of the major talking points of the review has been reducing the number of county matches from 14 to 10, which has received huge backlash from many first-class clubs.

“I do feel a reduction in games would allow players to prepare properly, recover properly and put a lot more emphasis on those games. The pressure on those games would be a lot higher and I think the standard could potentially be higher for that. I can see how that would see more high performance, in that sense,” said Buttler on BBC’s The Sports Desk podcast.

Buttler admitted that the reform for red-ball matches will not be easy to accept, but feels ten matches is good enough number. “There are some players who may only play one format of the game and they want to play as many games as possible in that format, so I can see how it’s not straightforward. But if you were just looking at a high performance view on it, I think 10 games would be a good number of fixtures.”

Malan, currently taking part in the T20I series in Pakistan, backed the reduction in county matches by saying players need less cricket at a higher intensity and are burning out due to the current schedule.

“It’s about creating a schedule that keeps players wanted to play all formats instead of going, ‘well, I’m playing three tournaments in the winter, and there’s The Hundred and there’s the Blast, so something needs to give’,” the left-handed batter was quoted as saying by The Cricketer.

“If you can create something that’s going to encourage people to keep playing all formats of the game, that’s going to be the winner for English cricket moving forward. (We need) a structure and schedule where you can prepare properly for games and work on your game.”

“There’s no time to work on your game and you’re burning yourself out. With less cricket at a higher intensity and the ability to train and prepare for those games, I think your bowlers will be fitter, they will be able to bowl quicker for longer periods, (and) it will be more challenging for batters and you can actually improve your game,” concluded Malan.



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