According to ex-skipper Kevin Pietersen, a first-class tournament modelled around the Hundred may help the English Test team “return to its old glory.” According to Pietersen, who won the Ashes in 2005, 2009, 2010-11, and 2013, the current County Championship has lost its lustre and is “unfit to serve the Test squad” in its present form. In a blog post on Betway, Pietersen said, “With the money elsewhere in the game, the (County) Championship in its present shape is not suitable to serve the Test squad.”

“Because the finest players don’t want to play in it, future English players don’t get to learn from other legends as I did.” Average bowlers are dismissing batsmen on terrible wickets, and the situation is spiralling.” The 41-year-old applauded the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for hosting The Hundred, a professional franchise-based 100-ball cricket competition.

“With The Hundred, the ECB has created a competition that has some merit. It’s the best versus the best, properly advertised, and with a captive audience. They attracted new players to the games, and I can assure you that the players will have improved significantly as a result of playing alongside legends.” It’s been such a rewarding experience.” He suggested that the board organize a similar event for the red-ball format, noting that the English players would gain from rubbing shoulders with the best players from other countries.

“Now they need to develop a comparable franchise tournament for red-ball cricket, where the greatest players compete against each other every week. They’d put money into attracting some of the finest international players in the world, and the best English players would gain from playing alongside them. It would be a marketable, entertaining tournament that would drive standard development and encourage people to return to long-form cricket.” He suggested an eight-team round-robin league with pitches that promote good hitting technique.