A very interesting topic. Now, I for one love following Essex in all formats. My best discovery of last summer was ball-by-ball coverage of Essex on radio and I loved it, listening to every moment I could. I remember some cracking matches and excellent results.
However, I feel that the amount of cricket played means the standard is lower than it could be. I would like to see three conferences of 6 with each team playing twice, one 2020 competition and one 40 or 50 overs, maybe on the same format.
These matches should be played in blocks and the 2020 should have clear run, so no internationals at the time meaning the top players play in it and people can watch it - on TV and off.
I would like to keep the high number of First Class matches as I personally don't care for limited overs rubbish, but I'm in a vast minority. As such, raising the standard is important and less games, but more important ones, would be a good way to go I think. Ideally the conferences should be geographical, but Essex would never play Yorkshire, while Lancashire couldn't get rid of them. So I like the rotation idea on that.
One thing to consider with the volume is fast bowlers - hardly surprising that medium pacers dominate when proper fast bowlers are ground into the dirt.
I think that should do it
An interesting comment from the comment box, rarely happens:
1000 characters is simply not enough to raise all of the many complex issues involved, so I'll just throw this into the mix. Three divisions, five high-intensity matches in a block early season, the reverse fixtures in a block towards the end, with room in the middle for money-making one-day/T20 competitions. Scheduled opposite to Test matches, allowing people to watch both. Weekend cricket for heaven's sake! One-up/ one down, possibly involving a play-off. A regularised transfer system to allow the best players to compete in the top division, the third division a less pressurised environment suitable for blooding youth. ECB grants more tightly focussed on developing future England players. Two overseas players per team, with strong grant-related incentives to exclude Kolpaks. This set-up would give us a top division much closer to Test match standard, which in this multichannel age may well have a TV market. Traditional County support is an asset, not a weakness, so let's use it.