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Cut County games by half, says Vaughan

London: England captain Michael Vaughan has called for the number of County cricket matches to be cut in half in a drastic bid to boost standards in the domestic game and produce better Test players.

In an interview with the launch issue of the Wisden Cricketer magazine, published on Friday, Vaughan proposes reducing the number of first-class Counties from 18 to 16 playing in two divisions of eight. Each team will then only play their rivals once a summer, as opposed to twice as presently.

“For England to improve and the gap to close between domestic and Test cricket those higher up have to do something about a County structure which contains too much cricket,” Vaughan said.

“You only have to watch County cricket to see the enthusiasm levels drained out of the players. Jon Lewis, of Gloucestershire, said after the Headingley Test (which England lost to South Africa) that he had played 21 out of 24 days — that simply can’t be right.”

Vaughan also wants four-day games to take place at fortnightly intervals to allow players to recover from one fixture and prepare for the next by working on their technique. They will also be planned around the Test programme to allow England players a chance to turn out for their County side.

Vaughan adds: “I love the County game. But the structure is not working and I feel sorry for the young guys coming into the England side.”

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