DAWID MALAN is relishing the prospect of a bigger and better county four-day competition next summer.

The White Rose batting star says he “enjoyed” the format of this summer’s Bob Willis Trophy - three regionalised groups of six teams - and is looking forward to 2021 as a result.

The ECB released the format for next year’s red ball competition, announcing that the 18 counties will be split into three conferences.

Yorkshire are in with Glamorgan, Kent, Lancashire, Northants and Sussex. Each will play each other home and away.

The top two in each group will then form Division One, the middle two in each group Division Two and the bottom two Division Three.

A further four matches will be played, taking the total to 14 for all counties. The top team in Division One will then be crowned the winner of the County Championship. Furthermore, the top two sides in Division One advance play in a five-day Lord’s final for the Bob Willis Trophy.

“I enjoyed this summer’s format,” said Malan. “The schedule is different next year in that it’s more games, teams go into two different conferences and then a final.

“This year, it would have been nice to have seen a quarter-final or a semi-final at the end of the group, but I know time was of the essence with Covid. It will be good next year to have three different groups followed by the best against the best pushing for a title at the end of it.”

Malan expects next year’s competition to be much stronger than this summer’s was due to all the understandable complications which arose.

He said: “With the fact there was limited build-up to the season, hence injuries, and not many overseas and Kolpaks available, added to the limited availability of England players, there were quite a lot of changes to bowling attacks.

“It meant you didn’t have your best teams on show all of the time. With the England bubbles, county cricket almost lost 40 players at the same time. Fingers crossed, we can get back to normal next year to add to the strength of the competition.”