Twenty20 Blast final is set to be held in midsummer next year with organisers looking to play the entire competition before the Hundred starts in 2022 as officials promise to stage the showpiece on a Saturday
- The T20 blast finals day will be switched to a midsummer slot next year
- The date of the spectacle has veered from August to October to deal with Covid
- Blast finals are usually a sell-out and officials feel it can survive a shift in dates
- Edgbaston venue will be occupied by Commonwealth Games in July and August
Twenty20 finals day — the most high-profile event in the county cricket calendar — is set for a new midsummer slot next year as schedulers attempt to address the failings of the 2021 season.
Moves are afoot to play the entire Vitality Blast competition before the Hundred in 2022, with it concluding in the final week of June or early July. Never in its 20-season history has the Blast finished so early.
Since finals day permanently moved to Edgbaston in 2013, the date has veered from August 17 to October 4 — the latter owing to a bid to beat Covid restrictions.
The Vitality Blast Twenty20 finals will get a midsummer slot next year in scheduling shake-up
Organisers hope to wrap up the competition before the Hundred begins in 2022
However, the Birmingham venue will be restricted by Commonwealth Games matches. The expectation is that it will remain out of bounds for ECB cricket between July 20-August 7.
The Blast’s huge appeal — general admission to finals day has sold out 11 months in advance in recent years — has encouraged bosses it can survive a shift in dates.
Reducing the gap between the group and latter stages of the 2021 Royal London Cup was criticised last month, but this would not be repeated for the Blast.
The shift should also improve teams’ hopes of retaining overseas players for the whole tournament.
The finals are often a sell-out event, so officials are not concerned about shifting the dates
The ECB have promised a Saturday final for the RLC after it was pushed into a Thursday slot this year, with the full 2022 schedule to be devised at the end of this month.
It is set to include a more even spread of County Championship matches across the summer to aid the England Test team, after long barren spells left players unprepared for the challenge of facing India.
The Championship will probably take a conference style again, partly because splitting the teams divisionally after two years of Covid-affected cricket is seen as problematic.
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