It has been a taxing summer for the England and Wales Cricket Board. Ever since Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif bowled those no-balls at Lord's they have been in crisis mode. Their energies have been spent trying to keep the Pakistan tour going and to keep the England players on the field.
Crisis after crisis has punctuated the season, all of which may have contributed to the mess that engulfs the domestic game. Amid all the headlines of cricket in chaos the ECB have seemed so preoccupied with the international scene that they have been unable to offer a resolution to a less glamorous, but hugely significant problem: the structure and future of county cricket.
There is an unprecedented atmosphere of frustration and fear around the counties. Several of the 18 clubs have felt unable to set a budget for next season or to offer membership packages, which are their lifeblood, because they still have no idea what will be on offer.
There is a fear of financial meltdown, with three clubs said to be in very severe trouble. More players will have to be released as membership numbers decline, as they have done generally for several years. There are not many more than 100,000 across all 18 clubs.
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