Muttiah Muralitharan wants T20 shake-up in England
Legendary Sri Lanka spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan has said England's Twenty20 format is lagging behind its worldwide equivalents.
Muralitharan, 40, who is in his second season with Gloucestershire, believes the English game would benefit from adopting the same franchise format used in the Indian Premier League.
"I think they need a big change," he told BBC Points West.
Muralitharan's T20 stats
- International level: Sri Lanka
- Previous clubs: Chennai Super Kings, Chittagong Kings, Gloucestershire, Kandurata, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Lancashire, Royal Challengers, Bangalore, Wellington
- Wickets: 139
- Runs: 2858
"They introduced it worldwide but now England is old-fashioned."
In its current format, 18 county sides - featuring a maximum of two overseas players - are split in to three groups and play 10 games before entering the knock-out stages - formed of the top two in the groups and the two best performing third places.
Since its inception in 2003, the game has been adapted worldwide, taking on several different guises.
The Indian Premier League - the biggest brand of 20 over cricket - is made up eight franchises and attracts cricket's biggest international names, worldwide TV rights packages and sponsorship deals - meaning a huge increase in revenue.
"They need to change and become franchised teams and each county would benefit financially," Muralitharan continued.
"If it happens like that it would be huge in England. I think the market is there, and the TV rights will come.
Other T20 formats
- Australia - Big Bash League
- Bangladesh - Bangladesh Premier League
- England - Friends Life t20
- India - Indian Premier League
- New Zealand - HRV Cup
- Pakistan - Faysal Bank T20 Cup
- South Africa - MiWay T20 Challenge
- Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka Premier League
- West Indies - Caribbean T20
- Zimbabwe - Stanbic Bank 20 Series
"Bangladesh launched it big and their crowds have been 30-40,000 for every match. Australia has merged into eight franchises rather than the teams so I think England should also do that and it could equal IPL."
Muralitharan starts his second spell with Gloucestershire on Thursday against local rivals Somerset, and believes merging the two counties to become a t20 franchise would be a good move.
"That would be good as they are close counties and they would benefit financially," he added.
"At the end of the day the public will see good cricket and enjoy it. Money will be spinning from the competition and they can sustain the other forms of the game within county cricket.
"It would be one of the best things to happen if they do that. It will make sure the competition is more successful than what it is now."