Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board president Azim Bassarath is expecting more intense matches in the 2015 domestic National League season after his executive signed off on some major changes for next season which he hopes will help raise the standard of the local competition.
Among them is the re-introduction of three-day cricket as well as the reduction in the number of teams in the Premier Division from 12 to ten and the introduction of an eight-team second division which will be called the Premier Two.
The rest of the Championship Division clubs will make up the three eight-team Championship Divisions—North-Central, East North East and South.
Bassarath confirmed that the TTCB executive approved the changes at their last executive meeting and said all the changes were geared towards raising the standard of cricket in T&T and were recommended by the clubs themselves when the TTCB hosted a cricket symposium earlier this year.
He said from the complaints raised at the symposium, it was clear that change was needed.
“We felt we had to listen to the people and that is the reason we had further consultations with the clubs and further meetings with the zones and affiliates and we came up with this proposal,” said Bassarath.
“What was interesting was that we took it to the general membership of the board the board agreed to it and I think only one person voted against it. We got the support, so we moved forward,” he added.
“It is less teams now...It will be more intense competition between the best teams and the cricket will be at a higher standard,” the TTCB boss added.
Bassarath also explained that the introduction of three-day cricket was a move towards giving batsmen a chance to build an innings which he said will help them prepare for the regional four-day competition.
“One of the complaints we got was that in the two-day format, batsmen had to rush to get a score for their team. Now a batsman can build an innings and try to bat as long as possible. The regional tournament is a four-day game, and if we are to compete in the four-day competition, we feel our players really need to play three-day games,” said Bassarath.
The new format will see matches starting on Sunday and continuing on Saturday and Sunday the following weekend, with 90 overs being bowled per day as opposed to the two-day format from previous seasons.
“We know the cricket will be at a higher standard,” he added.
In the long term, Bassarath explained that for 2016, the TTCB will be looking to make further changes to have the Premier One cut down to eight teams.