The ECB Recreational XI are the 21st side involved in county cricket’s 40-over competition next year. They were needed because how else could you have three leagues of seven teams playing each other home and away with the winners of each league and the best second-placed side going through to semi-finals?
Well, we suppose that 20 teams would have been four leagues of five with the winners of each league going through to semi-finals. That could have worked.
The downside would be that each county would only play eight one-day matches and with fewer games and smaller leagues, too many of the games would be meaningful and keenly contested.
Better that after the first six matches most of the teams have no chance of going through and simply go through the motions for the second half of the league.