ECB chief writes to Cricket Australia regarding English players’ involvement in Sheffield Shield

England’s Test team have not fared well in recent years.

England cricket team. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

In what is being called a major development, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has sent Cricket Australia a formal proposal regarding the inclusion of young English players Australia primary first class competition, Sheffield Shield. Harrison’s request comes in the context of England’s terrible show in the ongoing Ashes 2021-22. Australia lead the five-game series 3-0 with the final game in Hobart.

The Joe Root-led side struggled to keep up the pace and hop in the pitches Down Under. While most of their batters were short on runs, the bowlers were unable to capitalize on the conditions. Also, England’s Test team haven’t fared well in the last few years. With all of these factors in mind, ECB wants its players to get used to the Australian courses.

England’s players need more time in Australian conditions: ECB boss

“The reality is we need to spend a lot more time with players in Australian conditions. I have had a number of discussions with Cricket Australia and have formally written to Cricket Australia to ask if they would consider allowing us to field players for Sheffield Shield Cricket for example as a significant change we are bringing in can,” Harrison said in an interview with the BBC’s Test Match Special, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

“We have had to cancel a lot of individual player preparation plans – which would have taken time in Australia – due to the [Covid-19] Pandemic due to Australia being virtually shut down and a number of other tours that were planned to get us in better shape for this tour had to be postponed,” he added.

It must be noted that many Australian cricketers have competed in England’s first-class competition, the County Championship. Members of Australia ash Squad, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Michael Neser were also involved in the 2021 County Championship.

However, fewer teams in the Australian competition – six versus 18 in the Championship – could become a hurdle in that deal. However, it must be noted that English leg spinner Mason Crane was picked for a single Shield game in 2017. He became New South Wales’ first foreign player of the century.

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