Without blowing my own trumpet - oh alright then, blowing my own trumpet - some years ago I sat in a meeting about a certain football club's pre-season tour [translation: coffer-filling third-world smash-and-grab] and heard lots of waffle about 'global reach' and 'brand extension'. I offered up the idea that all of these huge teams should stop fannying about buying feeder clubs and going on tours and just franchise themselves to developing leagues, which, by definition, had no deep-rooted tribal loyalty to the local teams. Thus Manchester United or AC Milan or Barcelona or whoever could have five or six sides playing all over the world: imagine 'Manchester United Japan' and 'Manchester United Australia', or 'AC Milan USA'. The clubs get to sell loads of shirts and have loads of players and the locals get a league with an immediate identity and history. It looked like a no-brainer.
The Royals have beaten them to the punch. But that is not the real battle here - the real battle is between domestic and international cricket. As Shane Warne and many others have said, T20 should be a domestic game. In a globalised market, we are watching the creation of of club brands that might one day operate alongside international teams and play at the same level.
The boards hate it of course, not for any purist reasons but because it will deny them money, at least in the short term.
But in the spirit of the football franchise idea, here's a blueprint: T20 becomes a domestic game. Test cricket remains the pure form. Fifty-over ODI cricket is ditched. In its place comes T40, a two-innings T20 game played only at international level, offering a tactical dimension not available to the club teams and a natural progression for young players.
Cricket boards of the world - you can have that idea. Cheques to the email address to your right...