England and Wales Cricket Board work on revamping domestic calendar

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and chairman Colin Graves have undertaken a review of the county game, and the national body has confirmed positive discussions have taken place with the most senior officials from the 18 counties.

A reduction from 16 LV= County Championship fixtures per side to 14 is expected to be the most profound alteration, with the Natwest T20 Blast likely to be played once again in one mid-summer block, rather than its current season-long form.

An ECB spokesperson said on Wednesday: "We've had two very constructive meetings with the first-class counties this week, with the chief executives then chairmen.

"There was rounded discussion on the domestic and international game and we listened to views and valuable insights from across all the first-class counties.

"Today brought a consensus of opinion which allows us to further develop strong plans. These would then be discussed by the ECB board in their next scheduled meeting, at the end of this month."

Harrison said in August that the ECB had a clear idea of how it hoped the county game would develop.

He said on Test Match Special: "The desirable position is to have a block in the middle of the summer given to a particular format (T20).

"Where our proposals are going is to try and deliver an element of this and create some space in the calendar. Controversially that probably means playing one or two less first-class matches."

The apparent endorsement of the ECB plans by the counties moves the proposed new calendar close to being implemented, although with two nine-team divisions of the County Championship it remains to be seen how a 14-match programme will be organised. The teams currently play home and away matches against rival sides within their division, but would have to drop two fixtures.

The Daily Telegraph and Guardian reported the new structure is designed to assist England director of cricket Andrew Strauss, who hopes to see English players hone their one-day skills ahead of the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2019 World Cup. England host both tournaments.

  Colin Graves is set to drive through change in English cricket
Colin Graves is set to drive through change in English cricket