Cricket news - Bob Willis Trophy - All you need to know

The Bob Willis Trophy will begin from August 1

The Bob Willis Trophy will begin from August 1

What is the Bob Willis Trophy?

A special one-off first-class tournament conducted by the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Bob Willis Trophy - named after the former England pacer - is a make-shift arrangement to compensate for the County Championship which won't be held this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament, which marks a delayed start of England's domestic season on August 1, will include all 18 first-class counties under different groups and will end in a five-day final.

Will there be Division One and Two?

No. For this competition, all the 18 teams which were earlier grouped under Division one and two will now be divided under three groups - North, Central and South - of six teams each. Each team will play five matches in the group stage, facing all the other teams in their group. At the end of the group stage, the two group leaders with the most points will play in the final.

What are the groupings?

NORTH GROUP: Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

CENTRAL GROUP: Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

SOUTH GROUP: Essex, Kent, Hampshire, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex.

Tournament schedule

How will the points system work?

Similar to the County Championship, each team will receive 16 points for a win. However, a draw gives a team eight points in the Bob Willis Trophy, as opposed to the five points a team received in case of a draw in a regular County Championship game. A tie also gives a team eight points. There will also be bonus points similar to the Championship, with batting and bowling points given to the teams on basis of their performances in the first 110 overs of the first innings.

Points: Win - 16; Draw/Tie - 8; Loss - 0

Batting Points: 200 to 249 runs - 1 point; 250 to 299 runs - 2 points; 300 to 349 runs - 3 points; 350 to 399 runs - 4 points; 400 runs or over - 5 points

Bowling Points: 3 to 5 wickets taken - 1 point; 6 to 8 wickets taken - 2 points; 9 to 10 wickets taken - 3 points

Playing conditions

- While the tournament has first-class status, the records won't be part of the County Championship.

- The number of overs in a day has been reduced from 96 to 90.

- The first innings in a match for each team cannot last beyond 120 overs.

- The follow-on mark has been increased from 150 to 200 runs.

- The new ball will be available after 90 overs instead of 80.

- As is the case with international cricket, saliva cannot be used to shine the ball while COVID substitutes will be allowed

The final

In case of a draw, the team with more runs in the first innings (provided both innings are completed), will be deemed the winner of the Bob Willis Trophy. In any other circumstance of a draw or a tie, the finalists will share the trophy.

News related to the Bob Willis Trophy...

ECB's efforts to bring back crowds to Edgbaston and The Oval for the start of the Bob Willis Trophy have not materialised with the UK government not giving the required permission. This means that the matches will be played behind closed doors unless there is a change in the rules.

Meanwhile, Somerset's 24-point penalty spread over two years - for preparing a poor pitch in the match against Essex last year - won't be applicable for this tournament.