Pietersen: It’s time for franchises

The former England batsman is playing for the Melbourne Stars and has seen enormous crowds flock to the Twenty20 matches, with the tournament made up of eight city teams, rather than the state sides that contest longer forms of the game.

The Big Bash League spans six weeks, with a match almost every day. England’s T20 Blast, featuring all 18 county sides, lasted over three months in 2014 and will do so again this year.

County cricket is reportedly set to see a cut in teams’ salary cap enforced, with sides encouraged to bring through talent from academy ranks. Such a measure could affect star names being brought into the game.

Pietersen suggests the English game would be better off by introducing franchising at least for the limited-overs formats, to ensure matches are contested by elite players rather than populated by those on modest salaries who he describes as “muppets”.

Pietersen said: “What’s frustrating is they say they want to help home-grown players.

“But the best way to make them become better is to play against better players. Find a way to franchise county cricket. You would have 10 counties or franchises who play each other in Twenty20 or one-day cricket.

“All the muppets who are on 18 grand (??18,000), 15 grand (??15,000), either you become better or you go and do something else. The best players would play against each other week in week out. That’s how you become better. You don’t do that by reducing salary caps.”

He added: “The franchise system does work, everybody has made it work, the whole world has gone that way. Why can’t they do it in England? It’s strange.”

Pietersen, speaking to several national newspapers, believes the Twenty20 format has usurped Test cricket as the sport’s most popular brand.

“The last couple of months have been the first time I’ve started to worry about Test cricket,” Pietersen said.

“Kids have got no interest in Test cricket. Look at how they are filling these stadiums for Big Bash cricket. They are all kids and you speak to them at the end of a game and you say ‘Would you come to a Test match?’. And they say ‘No’.”