Welcome to the latest Open Thread.
I’m not going to list the fixtures – what’s the point – so you can comment on any of the games, any of the press comments, and anything else that comes up.
I’ve seen a copy of the latest annual accounts from the ECB. They are pretty opaque, which is normal for most companies, but there is still some interesting stuff. Most importantly, turnover was £133m in 2015, which was an Ashes Summer, but this was £40m less than the previous summer when we had India.I think in one cool statistic you can see how much the financial impact of an Indian tour really is. It also begs the question that if you barely scrape a profit when the sun is shining on an Ashes tour, how much will turnover be for this year’s series and will it cover the cost of sales?
Also, the leading pay for a director is £340k. I’m guessing that’s Tom Harrison. There are no mentions of pay-offs for Downton and Moores, nothing on Giles’s expenses and on the value of contracts for the players.
As those of you who follow Chris and I on Twitter might know, we met for a drink with Lawrence Booth last night – he called me by real name, Peter, all night as calling me Dmitri would have been stupid. This means my anonymity, my pseudonym, is now compromised! Seriously, it was a nice evening, we had some good exchanges of views and I reckon that 5% of it might have been on “my obsession”. We all got something out of the evening, and although we had a chat on a basis of not sharing personal views on line – and I’ll stick to that – the one thing that rang clear is that this blog has a place and is widely read. And that includes the comments. So thank you to all for that. You made it get noticed.
Still not decided about tomorrow and Surrey v Durham. Head hurts today!
Interesting stuff Dmitri (Peter) Nashville Pam will be on your heels.
Do you know how much of the £133 million turnover figure is from Skys TV deal? You can see why they want to play India all the time. I guess it depends what the function of sport is. Is it to just make money, in which case you have the Giles Clarke model. 20/20 is going to become even more important for providing the players with good money. (Although Selvey was boasting BTL about how many county players were on good salaries these days. )
£340,000 seems like a huge amount of money to pay a director for a minority sport that is strapped for cash. But then I may be completely out of touch. No wonder they don’t want to upset Sky.
If you want a laugh listen to Dennis does crickets “Can’t bat, can’t bowl can’t field” sound cloud podcast. He has Bumble on who is in great form.
There are no details that I can find at present on those contractual issues. I’d imagine the deal is paid on an annual basis and would be a flat line revenue receipt with the variables being the ticket prices (less for India than Australia) and other TV and advertising revenue. Which makes the need for Indian revenue even more vital.
I had a look at the 2014 accounts which had an Ashes series, a Champions Trophy (not sure how much of that revenue goes to the hosts) and a New Zealand series and the 2015 revenue was 10% greater than 2013.
As for your first point, I’ve avoided gratuitous mentions of the said individual. I can’t control their responses to this blog. That’s their prerogative.
Well the last Sky deal was estimated to be about £280 million over 4 years. So on that basis it would mean approx £70 million of the turnover figure is from Sky. Which leaves £63 million to be raised from other sources?
You can see why they are so hostile to Free to air coverage. There is no way the BBC can pay anything like that, even if they wanted live coverage. The game is now locked into a catch 22. They need as much TV money as they can get, but that means making the sport invisible.
And with Sky putting up their prices to pay for the new football deal how many people will go on paying £700 a year to watch cricket on TV?
With added Giles Clarke comment….
£70m a year for exclusive rights to an entire sport is like being held down and punched in the face for an entire month. Its a complete piss take. Its nothing. Its less than nothing. If the ECB were even half way competent they’d be getting 10 times that amount.
The MLB turns over 9.5 BILLION dollars a year. Baseball is a similarly traditional and largely unfashionable sport.
Admittedly, the US has 5 times the population of the UK. But with 5 times the population, they bring in 71 times the revenue. Which suggest that (with the assistance of sky) the ECB are underselling cricket by approximately 12 times.
If you like cricket, if you support cricket, the message should be FUCK THE ECB
It might be an unfashionable sport – and that’s up for debate – but where are you getting US$ 9.5 bn from? The TV contract, if we are comparing apples and oranges is for $12bn for 8 years from 2014.
Regional sports networks are massive in the States, but these are teams pulling 30k crowds every game for 81 games (such as the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants). It’s not comparing like with like. There’s also enormous competition, certainly at a local level, between Fox and Comcast. The Yankees and Red Sox have their own networks – YES and NESN.
Cricket, by its own devices, has settled on an exclusive deal for £70m. Given the state our TV rights deals are in, this seems remarkably high to me.
The daily baseball contract is massive for local networks. Content for the whole summer. Cheap to produce. Always a core audience. MLBTV is a top package. There’s lots to learn from it. But baseball is much bigger in the US than cricket is here. Trust me. I’ve been to quite a number of Minor League games. They aren’t televised. They don’t have the top players, and I’ve never been in a crowd of less than 3000 at one.
But this is the point: baseball is currently more popular than cricket because the MLB makes a huge coordinated effort to make the sport popular and accessible to as wide an audience as possible, whereas the ECB does not.
I’ve lived in the US, I know precisely how popular baseball there is, I also know how great it is to be a baseball fan when you can watch your team every night on the tv from April to October.
The point is, it puts a lie to the idea that the ECB “can’t afford” to make the sport more accessible, because the lesson from every other sports league in the world is that if you make your sport more freely accessible and available, the revenues will follow.
£70m a year is a joke. The premier league makes £3.4billion pa, of which £2 billion a year is from the tv networks.
£2 billion compared to £70million. That’s almost 30 times the amount. That’s a piss take. The ECB are being taken for mugs. They could get more than that simply by broadcasting the sport themselves as a pay per view channel.
2014 turnover here:
“These are teams pulling 30k crowds every game for 81 games (such as the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants). ”
Ask yourself why these teams are so popular and well-known within their regions. The answer is above – because every evening, turn on the tv, and the game is on. They’re an ever-present. Everyone is talking about them all year round. Now ask yourself why that couldn’t be the case with Yorkshire or Lancashire or Notts?
“The daily baseball contract is massive for local networks. Content for the whole summer. Cheap to produce. Always a core audience. ”
As would T20 cricket be for the local UK stations.
“MLBTV is a top package.”
As could ECBTV be.
One point. Pretty much all local mlb coverage is behind a pay wall. They are part of your cable package and paid for when you subscribe. There’s a different model for this but “basic cable” doesn’t get you to see your team. I know. Where I stay gets basic cable. You might get one Phillies game a week.
ABC, CBS, NBC, TBS, Fox and ESPN all have multiple baseball games on a week, and are available on basic cable. Most regional sports channels such as NESN have been available on basic cable for over a decade now.
Basic cable is available for about $15-30 per month. Everyone has it. Compare that to sky sports which costs about $100 per month, is watched by only a small minority of rich football fans, and barely even bothers to show domestic cricket.
No baseball shown on ABC, CBS and NBC. TBS is a cable superstation. ESPN is a cable channel that is not free to air (although not in Sky Sports league). NESN in Mass. Is not free to air.
There is a good point in there but let’s avoid comparing different TV models. The US has blackouts on Internet provision for example.
There is no competition for rights outside of pay to watch. Deluding ourselves otherwise.
Depends what you mean by “free to air”. Technically no tv in the UK is completely “free to air” because we have to pay a tv license, which is almost £150 ($220) a year.
The nearest equivalent in the US to basic freeview is “basic cable”. Basic cable costs about $250-$350 a year which is a bit more expensive than a Uk tv licence but is in the same ballpark. Everybody has it.
The channels listed above ARE on basic cable. NESN switched from pay tv to basic cable in 2001. ESPN is part of every basic cable package. (Here’s a list http://www.cable.tv/basic-cable-channels/)
The point is, MLB aren’t stupid enough to sell the exclusive rights to a single provider. They spread the coverage around as much as possible as this maximises both revenue and exposure. They sell the games by time-slots, so one broadcaster gets Sunday games, another gets Friday games, etc etc. The games that the national broadcaster isn’t showing are sold at a discount to the regional networks, and as a result, they end up getting MORE money.
Why doesn’t the ECB do this? Instead of giving sky exclusive rights to everything, even games they have no intention of filming, give them 1st choice for all international and domestic fixtures. Write it into the contract that if they buy the rights, they have to show the game.
Once Sky have had their pick, let BT choose a game. Then let ITV choose one. Then Channel 4/sunset and vine. Then the BBC. Then give the rest away to the local networks for free.
All I am trying to get across that in the area I go to in the states the basic cable TV package does not hae ESPN. It does have CNN. So it is not universal. I go there every year so it isn’t based on a couple of weeks.
This may be different in other areas.
David Lloyd, starting to sneak up on me as someone I should take seriously. Knowledge, and a surprisingly supple mind, as well as a great laugh.
And also, “can you take the pain away, but leave the swelling..”
I have always liked Bumble. He has a hinterland unlike many professional sportsman. He has a life away from cricket that makes him an interesting guy to listen to. And he s got a great sense of humour, and a way of expressing it.
Mind you, I don’t always agree with him. And I was disappointed to hear him come out for this points sytem for Engands Test and ODI teams this summer. I dont know if he really believes it or if he is having to take the party line. A few years ago I would have taken pundits at face value, but now the connection between broadcasters and governing bodies makes you question what you are being told. Having seen the censorship the Indian board now holds over it’s broadcasters opinions, and having seen Skys cricket pundits become almost ECB speak your weight machines, you wonder if anyone can give and alternative view on expensive sports rights tv?
I doubt if David Lloyd would “take the party line” as you call it, I’ve always thought of him as a someone with his own views and he also knows how to make them known.
Mark, I think the points idea deserves to be considered seriously as a way of addressing the problem of short tours. Two Tests, a couple of ODIs and one T20, if considered separately, are pretty meaningless and often don’t add up to anything that one side has visibly won. The points system turns it into a cross-format contest in which each match has a purpose.
An example is the Eng-NZ series last year, where the Test series was drawn and we would all have liked a decider. But on the points system England won the 3-format contest convincingly, either 12-8 or 14-10 depending on how you score for Tests.
As Bumble said, how much weight the Tests carry is an important decision. Interestingly, the women started off with: Tests 6 for a win, 2 for a draw and ODI/T20 2 for a win, one for a draw, but later reduced the Test points to 4. Perhaps because they often only play one Test. I’d have thought most people would think the men’s Tests should carry 6 points.
A points system? I suppose it makes sense, just like 5 Mcdonalds burgers are worth one surloin steak, or 15 cans of Fosters are worth one bottle of Bergerac, or a family size box of fish fingers is worth one sole.
It looks like it will happen, but I’m not on board at all. A Test is a Test, there is no alternative currency. During a Test series, the outcome of the associated ODI’s series is utterly irrelevent to the Test result.
Angelina Jolie invited me around for a romantic dinner the other night. I told her I was too busy because I was doing five romantic dinners with Marine Le Pen.
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The thing is: do two Test matches really constitute a Test series? And if not, but apparently you’re stuck with them, how can you prevent them from feeling pointless?
Sorry Zephirine we will have to agree to disagree. While I take your point about the few test matches in a series that is the fault of the governing bodies. Why not have a proper series? Answer,………….it does not pay.
If I was a cynic and something of a conspiracy theorist I might argue that by having a few tests you can then have some ODI matches to full houses and then create a Mickey mouse points system to hide the fact the governing body has shafted test cricket.
Whither Northants? My team was so poor in the last round of matches that today’s game against Derbys appears a bottom of the table clash. And Northants’ finances are so poor that you feel a snowball rush to the foot of the mountain would just gather momentum and kill the club. As the ECB becomes increasingly money-driven, support for the Northants-shaped black hole will soon dry up.
Of course, I’m projecting a long way forward, but this is an open thread, and I see a distinct possibility that Northants will be the means by which the ECB manages to shrink the county game, by natural selection.
BTW, all these names are confusing. Can we just stick with Dmitri? 🙂
Northants are certainly the county the ECB like to quote when they talk about counties not managing their affairs properly. Of course, what the ECB will not do is reflect on the performance of the England team over the past decade (and the subsequent effect on TV and media deals) without the spinners that Northants produced and developed.
Ben Dutton is an exciting prospect for Northants. Only the weather stopped him recording the youngest ever triple hundred, against Sussex. I saw a large part of that innings, and he never put a foot wrong.
It probably isn’t a surprise but I know that, as of a few days ago, there were still tickets to be had for all 5 days of the Oval test and for the ODI for Sri Lanka at the same venue. I have no idea what ticket sales are like for international fixtures across the summer this year. I know Sri Lanka aren’t likely to be that good a side this year but Pakistan should bring across some useful pace bowlers and a high quality spinner in Yasir and would be worth watching for that.
He just can’t give this one up:
Last time it was that Leicester were “playful” (as anyone tackled by Robert Huth would obviously agree); this time it’s proof of the brilliance of “late capitalism”. One exception in two decades is enough social mobility for Ed and provides a “splash of surprise” to dispel any notions there is a “rigid caste system” (just acceptable “dynastic continuity”).
Best phrase in this one (and it has to beat “popular intellectual counter-rhythm” – which seems to mean thick people who disagree with Ed) goes to ” once, while I was giving a speech about competitive equipoise in sport”.
We may have lost Pringle and Downton but FICJAM is a one-man machine of new material.
He’s also a little short on recalling sporting knowledge…
Super-clubs such as the New York Yankees or Manchester United support Thomas Piketty’s theory of capital: they are able to exploit past successes to ensure they keep a grip on present advantages.
The Yankees have won one championship in 15 years and are currently bottom of the American League East.
“popular intellectual counter-rhythm”
With Ed Smith on Bongo drums.
As usual with Smith, and his theories he is completely blinded to his own sport of cricket. Has he not noticed the BIg 3 take of the sport? The very model he now condems in footabll ( the big clubs financial power to dominate the sport)
The cricket version of Leicester City would be New Zealand becoming number 1 test playing nation. Or Afganistan reaching the 20/20 World Cup final. Funny he never seems too concerned about the big 3 stitch up in cricket.
He’s a professional sports historian, he’ll have you know
Tho’ the facts are often obfuscated by his forehead’s glow
Balanced equipoisally on his shallow egoistic schismic shoulders
As commonsense is foisted away in counter-rhythmics much bolder
Our Mr Ed, he’s a professional sports bore, and it ever flows
But once deciphered, there’s very little left to show…
…and we love him so 😉
I love Ed Smith in the same way I love being punched in the face by a fist holding a photograph of Giles Clarke.
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So you mean the Guardian’s Cricket Correspondent?
Has FICJAM written for the G before? All we need now is Bunkers ghost writing a ‘populist’ slash for LoveJoy and the bulk of our favourite miscreants will be in one place….well, apart from Pringle, who, with his dour drone, actually works quite well as a summariser on the talksport2 radio commentaries – infinitely preferable to the ‘SHOUTY MAXIMUM DEMENTED CEMENT AD HYPERBOLE’ of a TV love-in….
p.s. currently loving the BBC CC radio commentaries on R5SportXtra
Latest example of Selfie’s ever-helpful btl interaction:
In reply to Clive – James Hildreth plays in the first division, not the second, and scored most first-class runs last year at a better than 50 average. Your point is a good one. I raised it in my Wisden review (link below) and I raise it again because I think he has deserved but been denied an opportunity – https://dropinpitch.com/2016/04/21/wisden-cricketersalmanack-2016-a-review/
Sorry Clive, I did not mean that to come across as quite so pompous! I simply wished to agree with you that Hildreth has deserved a look for a long while.
So all the designated hopefuls, all the players with their positive reports from the Lions’ management, all the journalists’ favourites, go out to show what they can do…. and the only D1 century of the day goes to Michael Carberry.
He’s the forgotten man now isn’t he.He could score a thousand runs before the first selection meeting and probably not even get a mention.
His ship has sailed now – but the treatment he got in 2014 was diabolical.
Although that may just one of those popular intellectual counter-rhythms. It’s so hard to tell these days. I blame social media.
To pull that back a bit, a few openers did well in previous matches, which must have left Whittaker thinking “Shit, we only need one. Now I’m going to have to think”. However, I did chuckle when I saw Carberry’s score and I’d happily pick him.
Carberry was treated like shit by England after the series that has been airbrushed out of history to protect the idiot captain and coach. He stood his ground while others were going home for various reasons,
Other openers had had it much easier against lesser attacks. But I will always believe he was judged for non cricket issues.
I’m just flicking through on my phone whilst at work so quite possible this duplicates five other comments I haven’t read, but..on the subject of the money generated by playing India, I saw a couple of years ago the stat that a single ODI against India is worth AUD$7m to cricket Australia.
That’s why it’s become practically a once a week fixture.
Potential problems for the ECB perhaps?
Frustrating. Let’s hope the next Sky contract is more flexible and modernised to deal with things like Twitter video and live streaming.
I’m not anti-franchises, and I’ve defended Buttler against people having a go at him, but this seems asking us to swallow rather a lot:
So Buttler is allowed to go to the IPL and within weeks is evangelising for a UK franchise system….. which it’s an open secret is what the top brass at the ECB want. There’s no linkage there? Hmmm.
Also on Cricinfo, George Dobell has a piece claiming Peter Moores was approached for the Pakistan job but has turned it down. I wonder if Pakistan think their players don’t work hard enough and that was the attraction of Moores (plus some inside knowledge on England)? Also with Misbah and Younis not far from retirement they will be entering soon the dreaded ‘period of transition’ that Moores has built something of a reputation of being good at. Perhaps there are just a shortage of candidates. Whatever the case, I can’t help feeling it wouldn’t have ended happily.
I suspect most of the top players would be in support of franchises, i.e. those players who would definitely get games. I doubt Buttler’s been forced to say anything.
Matt, I wasn’t suggesting he’s had to say something he doesn’t believe or change his views to fit the ECB line – my suspicions are more about why they are all over Cricinfo.
Meanwhile, not a good morning for the hopefuls for a Test batting berth with Lyth, Robson, Ballance and Compton all out in single figures.
Fair enough. There isn’t the usual sponsors link at the bottom of the article, so the interview may have been arranged through the ECB rather than a sponsor.
A selfry article worth a read, just skip the initial Strauss love bit, I’ve posted a response which may get modded if MS is on hack/slash duty….
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Just in-case it does… here be it
I’ve always admired Graeme Fowler, from his time as an adventurous yet stolid opener, whose England career seemed to be based on ‘covering’ until Goochie and his fellow SA rebels were allowed to return, and include that magnificent 200 in India alongside Gatting, through his fallow period as Gooch’s return became reality, to his humorous yet detailed and insightful input as a TMS summariser.
I’ve followed him on twitter in recent years, again, always insightful and willingly interacting without the bolshy ‘do you know who I once was’ retorts of a number of ex pros – he also has a life and understanding of things away from the sport, and accepts that opinions and thoughts are what makes social media important, especially to those of us ‘outside’ the game.
His problems with depression have been well covered, usually in a caring and sharing way, and for those of us who may have had our own battles with such an illness – and yes, it is an illness, despite the chortles and ignorance of others, has been extremely helpful.
MS has provide a good basic overview, despite the unnecessary ECB/Strauss eulogy and connotations, and I look forward to reading the book. Thank you Graeme…great bloke, great beard too.
He’ll be modding some of my replies before too long, no doubt.
These ones in particular I suspect . . .
Well, they’re not though. Millions tuned into the Ashes the last time they were on FTA TV. Now it’s all on Sky, we’re looking at hundreds of thousands.
Hence my disagreement with the “everyone is watching” comment. They clearly aren’t.
They could be. They should be. But they’re not.
I’m not sure what sort of “cricket” you think I meant?
Are you “told” how many of those 10.5 million actually pay the extra for the Sports channel? Most estimates put it at around half that, since Sky won’t reveal their exact figures. And the actual number of those who basically are just interested in football would be…well, most of them wouldn’t you suspect?
So that narrows it down a bit from 10 million, with only a little journalistic investigation skills and common sense applied to a bald statistic.
Still, nice to know you’re still flying the flag for subscription-only access to what used to be our national summer sport on TV.
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Thanks for link BF. My own reply here….still standing so maybe the mods are on the footy sites. I meant only to challenges the OP’s comments re: “as always” about Selfey’s articles….
I too entered the darkest hole (contemplating suicide) due to work pressure, and can absolutely understand those comments. Fortunately I didn’t jump off the bridge into a big city’s river on New Years Eve some 12 yrs ago…my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, saved me. Absolutely saved me. It was a breakdown, I was a crumpled wreak as a young man, I had had the terrible, insufferable insomnia, the fear of failure, of falling, when apparently, you’re “a success”.
My wife’s understating was the best thing that happened to me.
Sure, I still worry – I’m a worrier by nature – but I’ve got a great job, a wonderful wife and a great family but I still have dark times. Cricket has also, historically, been a huge tonic for me. I’ve always hated winter….each year gets harder but the sight of a lush, green cricket pitch with blue sky on a TV watching England play overseas always helped hugely (and so much more than I had realised until England’s 2014 Ashes tour). What I then saw afterwards drove me to the edge of depression again.
Anyway, my reason for posting was only to share (it’s good and please don’t view my post as a cricitsm of yours) but also to say that this is a lovely, worthy article and very well written by MS but MS does not always “write well on serious subjects”. He writes well about his friends.
MS’s and other MSM reporting of the KP affair was appalling IMHO. Foxy was treated very badly by England – he was Gooch’s stand-in – perhaps that contributed to his depression? I’m certain that’s why when he became a coach his decision to coach was to be how he would have liked to have been treated.
Anyway, a long post which probably won’t be worth it given I am being pre-moderated, but one I felt compelled to write it (on the off chance it will be accepted) because I recognise the depression and feel very strongly that what happened to KP was truely awful. A weaker man than KP would have jumped off the bridge I was eyeing up once upon a time, and time will show how the management, with media support, curtailed the career of greatest batsman of the last decade and turned him into some sort of monster. I don’t know him and I’ve no doubt he can be a challenge to manage but how he has been written out of history and vilified to the extent people wish him to never be remembered astonishes me. That cricket fans have accepted this, truely astonishes me….and I’ve lost an important part of my own “stabilising” process for my depression.
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It’s a hard thing to be reminded there’s no justice in the world, but here as in other places people remember what’s gone on.
wonderful post – thank you for sharing
Brave post, Jomesy.
Thanks for sharing this. Takes a lot to do so.
So much I could say about this but it’s not going to be a patch on this. It pains me to think people believe we are just some mob with just one egotistical player to write about. It’s a deep love of the sport. A love we see abused. Derided.
Good luck Jomesy. Top comment.
Brave post Jomesy. Recognise a lot of what you say in my own position of recent years. Winters have seemed so long and I am fortunate too to have a loving wife and taken steps to before it was too late to improve my mental health.
It’s illuminating that, if you talk to people about your problems, how many say “same for me”. After reading about Pretorious, as an excuse for alledgedly slaughtering his wife, claimed he suffered from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, I googled it and found I ticked all the boxes. Our doctor took it seriously and put me on a CBT course which worked very well.
I have great trouble relaxing but today I sat and watched Notts v Yorks on TV, loved every minute and felt very good.
Don’t know yet if this thread will cover the match but it was brilliant. Two superb county teams with their released England players (thank you so much ECB, you normally self-centred bstrds) and it went down to the final ball. Best match I have seen for a long time
I accidentally posted my quote from the Guardian CCLive blog, illustrating Selvey’s unhelpful gnomic approach to interaction, further up the page as a reply to an unrelated topic rather than down here on its own. I won’t repost it, as you can scroll up a bit if interested.
Honestly, what a twat that man is.Other cricket writers are not too important to explain their thoughts, rather than interact with the hoi polloi in this curt, I-know-but-won’t-tell-you manner.
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One feels that his mother never told him that if he had nothing nice to say it was better to say nothing at all.
To be fair to his mother, that must be a difficult maxim to keep when you’re talking to Mike Selvey. Which she would have been doing a lot of the time as he grew up.
Would it be so difficult for him to write one sentence outlining what those reasons were?
One bowling spell. Short stuff. Selector present (guessing it might be Flower, but it’s a guess) or influential figure and Hildreth didn’t cope well. That’s the story.
Kent win. 🙂
Might indulge in a small Talisker later on in celebration. It’s likely to remain quite a full bottle, though…
The only match in this round of county games that ended in a win. All the others were drawn. Does this tell us anything? Probably not.
Some sides did seem to bat on for a long time in the first innings. Particlarly when there was bad weather at the start on Sunday and Monday. Perhaps the no toss rule has created less green pitches?
What will the ECB do come Test Mach time if they can’t create a green seamer? Well they won’t have to worry because the no toss rule doesn’t aply to test cricket. So you can Carry on sending out the e-mails to the groundsman Mr Strauss.
Notts v Yorks went down tothe final ball. It was gripping and reminded me of how wonderful cricket can be.