WORCESTERSHIRE cricket fans face a change of format when they watch the New Road club from 2014.
English domestic one-day cricket will revert to 50 overs from the start of that season, while LV= County Championship matches will usually begin on Sundays.
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the revised structure for the domestic game for the period from 2014 to 2017, having conducted a survey of more than 25,000 responses to the review of the sport by former International Cricket Council president David Morgan.
The ECB confirmed the Championship will be retained as two divisions of nine teams each with two clubs promoted and relegated each season.
Each side will play 16 games with the first 14 starting on Sundays.
The FriendsLife t20 will be expanded from 10 to 14 group-stage games for each county with most being played on Friday evenings after the ECB “noted the strong desire from Counties and spectators to create an ‘appointment to view’ for T20 cricket spread over a longer period of the season”.
The top eight counties will progress to the quarter-finals with the winners going on to an unchanged finals day. While the renamed Clydesdale Bank 50 has been expanded in terms of overs, the group stage will drop from 12 to eight games for each county. Eight teams then advance to a straight knock-out stage.
Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale is happy with the changes and hopes they will lead to an increase in crowds at New Road.
He said: “This will put the customer first and hopefully help us too in the future.
“From the research done, one of the key things was spectators’ understanding of what day of the week cricket will be on in order for them to plan their time around it.
“This will give them some consistency.”
An ECB statement said: “There was no compelling preference from spectators for 40-over cricket rather than 50-over cricket and therefore the format from 2014 will replicate the 50-over format played by the national team.
“Consistent with feedback from the players, there was a strong desire to retain the LV= County Championship in two divisions of nine teams.”