Somerset not happy with existing county cricket schedule, labelling it 'unacceptable'

Somerset have told the England and Wales Cricket Board that the existing county cricket schedule is “unacceptable”.

The club's board convened last week to discuss the governing body's high-performance review, chaired by Sir Andrew Strauss, welcoming some aspects and raising question marks elsewhere.

While a final tranche of detailed recommendations is not expected until next week, it has already been made clear that a smaller top division in the County Championship and an overall reduction in playing days are on the table.

Controversially, The Hundred is not up for discussion as part of the review, with its immediate future secured by a broadcasting deal that is locked in until 2028.

As one of the most prominent county hotspots that do not host matches in the tournament, the dedicated August slot that has been given over to it has left Somerset with a dearth of fixtures.

First-team regulars have also been in short supply during their Royal London Cup campaign, with many of the club's best players signed up for the 100-ball competition.

Fourteen first-class games are already guaranteed next season, but the shape of future campaigns remains to be seen.

"The current domestic playing programme, which resulted in only four one-day matches being played in Taunton over 43 days in the height of summer this year, with 17 Somerset players unavailable, is unacceptable to the club, its members and the South West's cricketing public," said the statement.

"Over a season, a diet of cricket across all formats which is satisfying for members, paying spectators and players is required.

"It is crucial that the highest standard of men's and women's domestic cricket is available in the South West throughout the summer to satisfy the tremendous demand from members and supporters, and to allow children to be inspired during school holidays and fall in love with cricket.

"A path is needed to a sustainable funding model that will enable counties without a Test match venue to thrive at the top table of English cricket and allow Somerset to continue to provide a strong talent pathway from the entire South West region through excellent county cricket and into England teams."

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