Morgan wants Ashes-style boost from free-to-air T20

Published: Thursday 30th March 2017 by The News Editor

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Eoin Morgan insists English cricket’s answer to the Indian Premier League can restore the 2005 Ashes feel-good factor – but only if screened on free-to-air television.

England’s one-day captain gave his impassioned backing to plans for a new eight-team city-based tournament to county chiefs this week.

Morgan believes England are overdue for their own high-profile Twenty20 contest, admitting players could in time command the kind of seven-figure salaries that dominate the Indian tournament.

The 30-year-old Middlesex star remains adamant a showpiece T20 event can restore the kind of soaring public interest that followed England’s much-cherished Ashes win from 12 years ago.

“I’ve played six years of the IPL and three years of the Big Bash,” said Morgan.

“The impact Australia’s Big Bash has had on the public, growing the game, it’s been phenomenal.

“The age groups and young families the Big Bash engages with are through the roof, it’s something like a 70 per cent increase in participation from families and young kids since two years ago. It’s ridiculous numbers.

“This probably should have happened here a while ago. We’re always going to have the same cricket fans unless we do something differently.

“People are falling out of love with the game, because we’re not engaging enough with the public.

“The intention is to have quite a lot of the games on free-to-air, which I think is a huge part of it.

“One of the biggest turning points in my generation has been the 2005 Ashes.

“The amount of people in and around London specifically, who aren’t necessarily involved in cricket, talking about cricket, that was awesome.

“To get that back it’s going to have to be as big a change as taking cricket to free-to-air.”

England pace man Tymal Mills commanded £1.4m in this year’s IPL auction, with Morgan claiming cricket’s top stars fully merit such fast-rising salaries.

Tipping players to earn seven-figure sums in England’s IPL equivalent in due course, Morgan said: “The price tags are there for a reason, it’s your market value at the moment. Guys are paid a lot of money because they are worth it.

“You’re paid a lot of money because you are that good, and you’re capable of dealing with things other people aren’t, so I don’t see money changing any individuals a great deal.

“I’m sure in 10 years’ time you’ll get guys going for five million, probably in the IPL to start.

“It’s not impossible that a million could happen here. It has the potential to be that big.

“It’ll be very good. We’re very lucky.

“Down the road it will be huge. It will take time, like the Big Bash, but the plans are really exciting, very, very exciting.”

Dissenting voices have suggested English cricket’s radical plans could dent the county competition, but Morgan strongly rejected any threat to the existing domestic set-up.

“I don’t think it will damage county cricket at all, it’s not a gamble,” said Morgan, speaking at a Chance to Shine and Yorkshire Tea event.

“It’s proven in other countries that it has been done.

“I’m a massive cricket fan, I’ll always be a cricket fan – even if T20 goes through the roof I’ll always watch a lot of cricket. A lot of cricket fans are like that.

“Even if it were a gamble, which it is not, you could always go back to what we have now because I think we’ll always have that.”

:: Eoin Morgan and Charlotte Edwards were attending a Chance to Shine and Yorkshire Tea event to promote the Junior Journalist competition. To find out more and to enter go to www.chancetoshine.org/juniorjourno

Published: Thursday 30th March 2017 by The News Editor

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