Former England captain Michael Vaughan has slammed cricket bosses for their arrangement of the schedule during this Ashes summer.
The first Test against Australia starts at Trent Bridge next Wednesday but there have been no County Championship matches for a fortnight, as the domestic Twenty20 tournament gets underway.
England therefore took the unusual step of setting up an Ashes warm-up match against Essex at Chelmsford.
And Vaughan said: "I get sick and tired of talking about scheduling but the Ashes series is the biggest thing that happens in this country.
"How our schedulers have not been able to produce a round of four-day championship matches leading into an Ashes series is beyond me.
"If I could get any answer from an administrator telling me it's worthwhile us playing Twenty20 now, I'd punch them in the face, because they are wrong. Every single county should be playing four-day cricket this week.
England did the right thing
"England players would be better suited playing a real competitive county match under pressure than they were playing Essex.
"England did the right thing because of the scheduling. They thought, 'We can't have the lads playing Twenty20 cricket leading into an Ashes series, we'd better create our own game', so they had to create something.
"I would point the finger at the administrators who come up with the system of our scheduling.
"What happens if we get five injuries in the next week and we are picking guys that have played Twenty20 cricket? It is ridiculous.
"England are a good team and I think they have enough to beat Australia whatever happens now, but you have got to have the best and most professional system, and things like that have got to be better."
But an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that they stood by the schedule they have organised.
"Scheduling isn't about one week," he said. "It's about the whole series and the whole summer, and we think we've got that right."