WWE wrestlers 'more recognisable' than England captain Alastair Cook

John Cena
Wrestler John Cena has had 12 reigns as WWE Champion

WWE wrestlers are more recognisable than England Test captain Alastair Cook, according to new research.

Derbyshire chairman Chris Grant said the findings came from market research conductedexternal-link by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) into the game's popularity.

"More kids these days can recognise a WWE wrestler than the England captain," Grant told BBC Radio Derby.

"Only a third could recognise Alastair and I think we've got to improve that."

He added: "That was a fascinating statistic they gave us."

A 'financially sustainable' era for Twenty20

English cricket is poised to get a new eight-team Twenty20 competition, which, if approved, could start as early as 2018, in an attempt to boost the profile of the sport.

The tournament would run alongside the existing 18-team T20 Blast and would be held at city-based Test grounds, but Grant is unfazed by the potential impact on one of English cricket's smallest counties.

"I think a lot of the negativity surrounds the fact that people feel that this will be the death of Derbyshire County Cricket Club," he said.

"I really don't see it that way. I think actually it could lead to 18 counties becoming stronger, a lot stronger and certainly more financially sustainable.

"The devil will be in the detail, there's a lot of work at the ECB still to be done. We don't know where these teams will be based, we don't know what they'll be called.

"In principle I think it's the right way to go and gives Derbyshire the best chance of preserving their first-class status long-term."

Fighting decline

Encouraging people to play and watch cricket should be a priority for those involved in taking the game into a new era, according to Grant.

"The game has got some real challenges, participation is falling really dramatically and we've got to unlock a new audience," he continued.

"At the moment there are 990,000 people in this country who have attended a game in the recent past, but there are 9.4m people who describe themselves as a cricket follower.

"We're not really unlocking that extra 8.5m, and I think we've got to come up with something fresh and new to actually get them involved and get them to come and attend a game."