Cricket

Sam Billings criticises ‘completely brainless’ county fixture list

Sam Billings has labelled the scheduling of a round of County Championship games halfway through the Vitality Blast season “completely brainless” after his Kent side was bowled out for 40 in their defeat against Essex.

“It’s shocking, isn’t it really?” he said. “For both sides. It doesn’t help the quality of first-class cricket in England any which way. Twenty20 and first-class cricket are completely different games.”

Billings made 0 and 1 in the defeat to Essex, in which 26 wickets fell on the third day after two rain-interrupted days, and said his comments were not intended as an excuse.

“It’s the same for both sides and that’s not an excuse at all, but for the good of the county game it’s not right. It’s completely brainless in my opinion. How you can expect people to transform their game just like that? It’s not right. I’ll probably get told off for saying that, but it’s the right thing to say.

“Just put the white-ball cricket in a block and it makes it far easier for the players. Every single player you talk to will say the same thing. For the good of spectators coming to Canterbury Cricket Week, that’s the least they could do.”

The scheduling of the county game has come in for criticism for many years, but coaches and players have regularly found themselves bemoaning a lack of weekend and bank holiday games this year in particular, as well as the demands of switching between formats.

Worcestershire, for example, have had to content with three breaks in their Blast season due to first-class games, with first-team coach Alex Gidman admitting that his team’s recent scheduling had been “very, very tough”.

“This year was never going to be straightforward, particularly with the scheduling we’ve had,” he said last week after their win against Durham.

“By this time next week we would have played three red-ball games in the campaign since the Blast started whereas everyone, apart from Gloucestershire, would only have played one which makes it very hard. The lads have admittedly struggled to find a playing rhythm.”

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1198355.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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