Cricket: Report urges restoration of 40-over Sunday league

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The Independent Online
THE Sunday league is set to return to a 40-overs-per-side competition after just one season - but coloured clothing will stay for at least another two years.

The experiment with 50-overs-per- side on Sundays proved to be unpopular last summer. The players felt it was too long a contest to sandwich in the middle of a four-day Championship match, while there was no real increase in attendances. Now a Test and County Cricket Board working party has recommended a return to the shorter game.

'We have taken on board the views of those closest to the game,' Mike Murray, the chairman of the working party, said. 'We are satisfied that, with brighter, shorter AXA Equity and Law League matches, the balance of the overall programme remains intact.'

The recommendation of Murray's working party for longer Sunday league games, four-day Championship matches and a revised Benson and Hedges Cup competition was approved by a narrow majority last year. That format, introduced last summer, will be reviewed at the end of the 1995 season, but Murray's men have already heard enough complaints to suggest that the board reverts to shorter Sunday matches. A decision will be taken in December.

'Although the 50-over format with a noon start has only had one season's experiment, the evidence considered by the working party was overwhelmingly in favour of a return to the 2pm start and the shorter version of the game,' a TCCB statement said.

Geoff Arnold, the England bowling coach, has resigned after nine years on the Surrey coaching staff.