City slickers

Kiwi boys talk t20, Essex and New Zealand on the Cricket AM sofa

Last Updated: 07/07/12 2:23pm

Scott Styris is a big fan of the Friends Life t20 - but he thinks the competition could get even better.

"The Friends Life t20 is a good standard and I enjoy playing in it, but it would spice things up a bit if it had a few less teams. "

Scott Styris

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The New Zealander's batting prowess and canny seam bowling have helped Sussex advance to the quarter-finals of this term's summer six-fest.

But the 35-year-old believes that if the ECB adopted a franchise model, with city-based teams replacing the 18 county sides, and the tournament was staged in a period that would allow elite international players to take part, the event would flourish further.

"You can't compare it [the Friends Life t20] to the IPL as that is on a different scale; everything they do in India is ginormous compared to any other competition around the world," said the all-rounder.

"The English one is a great competition; it's a lot of fun, it is a good standard and I enjoy playing in it, but it would spice things up a bit if it had a few less teams.

"There is such great tradition here and people have supported counties since they were young so you'd be asking people to follow a new team.

"It would take time to build up a fanbase, but Australia have done the same thing and India do it with the IPL so it does work and could work in England.

"Plus, one of the reasons t20 has worked in New Zealand is that internationals are playing. People enjoy watching the best players play, and if you had a competition where those players were around it would keep going forward."

Banter

Styris' fellow Kiwi James Franklin is representing Essex during their t20 campaign but the left-hander, who has played 27 Test and 94 ODIs for his nation, hopes to be back in a Black Caps strip soon.

"I've really enjoyed the opportunity to go to Essex," said the Wellington-born star, who has cracked two half-centuries during his time with the county.

"Scotty [Styris] and a few Kiwis have been there over the last few years and they had nothing but good things to say about the place. The boys in the Essex changing room are used to the banter of the Kiwi and it's been good fun.

"The opportunity to go to Essex came up for me in March and I wasn't centrally contracted to New Zealand last year so I had to make a decision of whether to come to England or be involved in the current tour of the West Indies.

"I asked the selectors for a bit of guidance and they basically said that I was going to be involved in the t20s but they couldn't be specific about anything else.

"They wholeheartedly backed me coming over here and said there wouldn't be a black mark against my name for future tours and tournaments. Hopefully I'll be involved in the New Zealand set-up for the t20 World Cup in Sri Lanka this autumn."

Rusty

The Kiwis have begun slowly in the Caribbean, losing the two t20 clashes as well as the opening ODI and Styris, who retired from the international arena in 2011, thinks a lack of meaningful preparation is to blame.

But he expects his country to fare better in the t20 World Cup this September and says the conditions in Sri Lanka will aid the Black Caps' arsenal of bowlers.

"I'm not sure why we persist with three or four months of rest or no cricket and then go straight into series without any camps or warm-up games," he added. "I think we have been found out and, through lack of cricket, we have been rusty.

"But the subcontinent seems to suit us; our lower, slower bowlers come to the fore and I'd like to think what with Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Frankie [Franklin] back we will be a better side [in Sri Lanka].

Hit the video at the top of the screen to hear more from Styris and Franklin.