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Departing Essex chief David East reflects on the changing landscape of county cricket

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 December 2012

The introduction of Twenty20 cricket has been one of the major changes during David East's time as chief executive at Essex

The introduction of Twenty20 cricket has been one of the major changes during David East's time as chief executive at Essex

Archant

A TWO-DIVISION county championship, the advent of Twenty20 cricket and the availability of overseas players.

David East said these had been the biggest changes on the playing side during his tenure as chief executive at Essex.

He said: “The two-division structure has probably produced a better standard of cricket in the First Division, although some would argue it would still be better with one division.”

Essex, who finished a disappointing fifth in the LV= County Championship Division Two last season, have yo-yoed between the two divisions since they were introduced in 2000.

Although yet to win what is now known as the FLt20 title, Twenty20 cricket has provided a major financial boost for Essex.

“Twenty20 cricket has been the most radical change with the revenue it has brought in.

“At Essex we identified a market for Twenty20 cricket and have maximised revenue from it. Hopefully this will continue in the future.”

Indeed, Essex have often played to packed houses at Chelmsford, after becoming only the second county in the country to have permanent floodlights installed.

East continued: “The other big change I have seen concerns overseas players.

“It has become increasingly difficult to source high-quality players because national boards or the international programme means players have not got enough time to commit to county cricket.

“When I played everyone had both a world-class batsman and bowler. I remember playing against Hampshire when they had Gordon Greenidge opening the batting and Malcolm Marshall opening the bowling.

“Many of those overseas players stayed with their counties long enough to be awarded a benefit.

“The international landscape has changed so that those players who are available are either coming out of international cricket or retiring from it.”

Indeed, whereas overseas players previously played for the whole season, possibly year after year, counties can now employ three or four in the course of a single summer, including Twenty20 specialists.

“This has been a significant change and has led to an increased burden on the administration side,” added East.

Tomorrow - David East on the legacy he will behind at Essex

Ipswich Town take on Leeds United, at Elland Road, in a top-six Championship match tomorrow afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the match.

David McGoldrick believes Ipswich Town have what it takes to stay in the Championship top six spots.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he will always be football’s ultimate pragmatist.

Ipswich Town take on Championship table-toppers Leeds United, at Elland Road, on Saturday.

FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One

Norwich City 0

Ipswich Town 5

Ipswich Town Ladies claimed the first bragging rights of the season with a resounding 5-0 victory over local rivals Norwich City at Norwich United’s Plantation Park last night, writes Kieren Standley

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers says no-one at Portman Road is getting carried away by the start to the season the Blues have made – but they are ‘enjoying the ride’.

Ipswich Town sit fifth in the Championship table, with five wins from their first seven games – so why are some fans still so negative?

Ipswich Town Ladies face old rivals Norwich City tonight in the first East Anglian derby of the season.

Defender Adam Webster made his return from injury and Ben Morris notched a brace as Ipswich Town Under 23s put five past Nottingham Forest last night.

My mates who support other teams just don’t understand. They glance at the results, and the Championship table, and send me texts saying things like: “I bet you’re thrilled with your team.”

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