It’s a historic day for cricket in England!
Rutland and Isle of Wight have been announced as the nineteenth and twentieth first class counties from next season.
Whilst the admission of Isle of Wight isn’t a compete surprise, after they abandoned their futile attempts to gain full international status, the elevation of Rutland is unexpected.
Rutland is often referred to as the smallest county in England, so whether they have the homegrown talent to produce a team capable of competing at county level as well as attracting fans, we’ll soon find out! They’ll be in desperate need of some experienced players to help them be competitive from the off. Some seasoned pros are rumoured to be on Rutland’s radar but surely the headlines surrounding the possible recruitment of Australia’s Steven Smith are a little far fetched!
Meanwhile, Isle of Wight have already acquired some Hampshire cast offs as well as recruiting former South African domestic players Stiaan van de Bruyn, Alviro Ngidi and Faf de Kock. Most interestingly though, a deal is already thought to have been agreed in principle with England Test cap Mason Crane, though this is yet to be confirmed.
The expansion of the county game can only be good for English cricket and fingers crossed that both new teams can be competitive from the off!