Gale calls for reform of Twenty20 competition

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale has called for reform of the domestic Twenty20 competition to prevent English cricket being “left behind”.

The 18 first-class counties contest the NatWest T20 Blast - albeit with 2014 champions Warwickshire rebranded as Birmingham Bears - with group games played mostly on Friday evenings from mid-May to late July and this year’s finals day taking place on August 29.

Gale favours a shorter, smaller competition between city-based franchises, along the lines of the Indian Premier League or Australia’s Big Bash League.

He wrote on Twitter: “How good is the big bash, we have to do something with our comp otherwise we’ll get left behind. Gotta inspire the kids.

“Franchise system would work in England. 10 cities, over 3 week period, straight after IPL. Worlds best players, bigger crowds.”

That would effectively mean his Yorkshire team in their current form ceasing to compete in Twenty20 cricket, an unpalatable move to many - but Gale still had one more left-field suggestion up his sleeve.

“Be good if 2 big bash teams played in our comp and 2 English teams played in their comp,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth and Sam Robson will open the batting when England Lions begin their tour of South Africa with a three-day game against an Invitational XI in Soweto today.

The selection of Middlesex batsman Robson means Lyth’s Yorkshire team-mate and opening partner at county level, Alex Lees, will drop down the order to number three. Jonathan Trott will captain a side which includes a strong pace attack including Boyd Rankin and Mark Wood, with Yorkshire trio Jack Brooks, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid completing the bowling line-up. Tykes team-mate Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket.

Lions team: Lyth (Yorks), Robson (Middlesex), Lees (Yorks), Trott (Warks, capt), Vince (Hamps), Bairstow (Yorks, wk), Rashid (Yorks), Plunkett (Yorks), Wood (Durham), Rankin (Warks), Brooks (Yorks).