“Do SOMETHING! ANYTHING!”

Sean’s excellent piece on Saturday captured the arguments over the plans to introduce a new T20 competition succinctly and accurately. I must put my cards on the table here. I just don’t think T20 is much good. It’s not particularly memorable in its own right, and because it is so frequent, with game after game after game bombarding you, a tournament like the Big Bash just feels like it goes on too long. Which means the IPL has got to a serious “what the hell” phase long before it gets to its knockout phase, or whatever it is that concludes it. I went to the first ever T20 at The Oval, back in the day, where the sheer shock that the ground was almost full and the club had catered for half that, still sticks in the mind more than the game did (Comma made a 50 I see). It’s interesting to see how the articles refer to the same concerns on show now.

Questioned about a shorter format, almost half were against it but of the 34% who expressed approval, most had never attended a county game. And for Robertson and the ECB it was the possibility of attracting new fans – and crucially families – that convinced them to press on.

“I just couldn’t see how it wouldn’t work,” John Carr, the ECB’s director of cricket operations at the time, said in 2004. “But it took a lot to convince the counties. Fair play to [Robertson]. It is one thing to have an idea like we did, but quite another to sell it. And that is what he did. And not only to the public, because I thought that one of the most important things was that it was sold to the players. It would only work if they took it seriously and did not dismiss it as ‘hit-and-giggle’ cricket.”

I used to go to a few of them back then. I remember Andrew Symonds tearing some attack apart at Beckenham (it was Hampshire’s), a very well contested quarter-final between Surrey and Worcestershire when it was skillful bowling that saved the day, and the “penalty bowl out” between Surrey and Warwickshire. I was a member back then, and felt absolutely no desire to go to Finals Day, and I had a culture of following my other sporting love all round the country.

For me T20 was there for a one-off “hope something good might happen” but often disappointed. I got a couple of free tickets to see Surrey a few years back, and KP was playing so it was a rare chance to see him in action, but the games themselves weren’t very exciting to me. I realise I’m not the kind of supporter this new competition is meant to get to, but also I wasn’t a fan of playing it when I had the chance, and thought it wasn’t that great a concept. It was cricket for cricket’s sake. I remember going to a Surrey v Middlesex game on my birthday, and Middlesex barely got 100. It was cripplingly dull. Even the most boring day at a test was better than that. No amount of fire machines, dancing people and loud music could make up for the fact it was a rubbish game.

The clubs saw the chance in the immediate aftermath of the initial success to go from the five games they had planned in season 1, and they continued in Season 2, to more. Remember those lazy hazy first season matches at East Molesey and Richmond Park? This increased to 8 in Season 3 and went up to, 10 in its 6th season. The counties became dependent on it to continue, seeing it as a necessary income, and could not resist the temptation to overkill. In its eighth season, in 2010, it became a league of 16 games, with quarter-finals? Even then they sensed they were killing the golden goose, because it reverted to 10 games after two seasons, before settling on the 14 we have now with the Blast (from 2014).

What that showed is the counties had no real idea on what to settle upon, and I know a number kicked up fury when it went from 8 home games to 5 in 2012. The Blast has seen some improvement in the attendances and there appears a fair buzz towards it this year. The “appointment to view” with a Friday night fixture was actually, in hindsight, a decent idea, but that’s been watered down now we’ve decided to play the fixtures in more of a block.

Then we have the IPL and the Big Bash. Envious glances were cast at these two competitions. Both play in considerably larger grounds than we have in this country, and both, therefore, attract the money makers. The IPL was very much set up as the Premier League of cricket, and the BBL followed with a different kind of league, but in sun-kissed stadia, free to air TV, and the teams playing just 8 games each. Both played one game a day (occasionally two at weekends), but all were televised live, and that’s what has got the attention of the ECB and their influential friends in the media. There wasn’t a Big Bash occasion that seemed to go by without Shiny Toy doing down our competition and bigging up theirs. The aim to copy the IPL wasn’t possible – we didn’t have the money, or the calendar slot for it – hence the waltz down the Sandford cul-de-sac. But the Big Bash? Why not?

I have always said that new leaders have to have a new idea to be remembered by and it has to be a big one. There is no place in this world for staying still, because the world moves without you if you do. For some, the sheer fact that Test Cricket has been in existence for 140 years is anathema in itself. The English football authorities changed in 1992 to the Premier League, which, we are told, has made our competition the best in the world, but in doing so, virtually killed the other main crown jewel, the FA Cup, dead. As a football fan of a non-Premier League team, I despise this. There’s nothing in the top heavy structure for me, and the FA Cup is a joke. We beat three Premier League teams this year, all playing reserve XIs, before Spurs put us out by taking the game vaguely seriously. The FA Cup is seen as a consolation prize now. In twenty years the culture of it being the biggest single day out is now relegated to big clubs saying it is not enough to win it.

What will a new City-based (or whatever it is) do the Blast which seemed to be standing on its own two feet, was a competition anyone could win (see Northants and Leicester – it’s great Yorkshire, the mighty Yorkshire, haven’t won it) and people seemed to genuinely enjoy it? I think there’s an overly rosy picture painted of it, the Blast is not perfect, but it’s working out for all concerned and there is a rise in interest. I wish it were a little shorter, but then I already said I’m not that bothered about it. But when Michael Vaughan is wetting himself every time the Big Bash comes on, it’s hard to resist. If you look at how recent ex-pros, who didn’t play much county cricket towards the end of their careers, react to the onset of a new competition, it’s noticeable how many do their old breeding grounds down.

The new competition is designed to get new followers in to watch the game. Tom Harrison, the Empty Suit, is carving out quite a niche for himself as an absolute weapon. In selling this “vision”, his new management brings radical change “thing”, he’s not just in danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, he wants to fit someone else up for the incident. In a series of responses to Sean’s piece, I picked out a few of them, but two stood out.

Obsessive

‘Counties have been incredibly successful having an audience that is obsessive about the game but our county brands are not cutting through so this is all about creating brands that are relevant to our target audience of families and children. We have to connect to their very busy world.”

I know, over the years I’ve been doing this, that I can take a throwaway line and make too much of it. After all, we aren’t called “Being Outside Cricket” for nothing, eh Paul Downton? But the choice of the word “obsessive” here is an interesting one. Obsessive has very negative connotations. As if you shouldn’t be doing something. If you obsess over something the inference is that you shouldn’t, or you should dial it back a bit. So if you are “obsessive” about the county game, maybe you shouldn’t be? Harrison, despite playing some county cricket, clearly has some negative perceptions of the people who follow it. Demographic perhaps, social class perhaps? It’s an issue that won’t go away. County cricket, last I looked, provided all but one England test player in my lifetime (ole Muppet Pringle came from the Universities when he made his debut). The County Championship has, I think many will say, flourished so the top division is now seen as a rival to any first class competition in the world. I watched some last year, and although we’re not getting the top world pros any more, the underlying quality of the home talent is pretty decent. It’s not for all, and it is based on what some would see as arcane old structures, but it kind of works from a cricket perspective. It also instills loyalty in it. That, Tom, is no bad thing. It is a positive, not a negative.

Harrison could, if he had a modicum of charm, had called the denizens of the county game “passionate”, “devoted” or “enthusiastic”. Instead, because they don’t worship at his sharp empty-suited altar, they are obsessive. They are also obstructive. They don’t go on “leaps of faith” or “Futurebrand presentations” but live in the here and now. Many have never accepted T20 but see it as a necessary evil, and their counties have kept the show on the road because of it. Now they see a new competition as a threat to their very existence. And so they should.

Harrison and his cheerleaders and parrots in the media are selling the by-passing of these views as a virtue! Not all of us are “county championship or nothing” fans, but I respect the hell out of those that are. They are the people who will tell their kids, and their grandkids, about the feats of the past, just as my Dad told me about his era. It is they who will tell kids born now of the majesty of Tendulkar, the brilliance of Lara, the dominance of the great Aussie teams, and yes, things like being at Adelaide, or seeing England hit the bottom of the Test table (though for me it will need to be my nieces and nephew). These obsessives are your core support, Empty Suit. Why piss them off even more than you have to? I feel insulted by that statement, and so should anyone who will be there in a week or so supporting their county as the Championship starts. The ECB can call it #realcricket if they want on their mildly annoying Twitter feed, but when the voice at the top thinks it is OK to use “obsessive” I think he gives away what he really feels.

It’s Not About The Game, Dummy

“Twenty20 is short and sharp. The actual game is secondary to the entertainment and fan experience.”

I remember watching Star Wars, the original, back in the day at the Odeon in Lewisham. It’s been long since destroyed. It was smoke-filled, the seats were crap, the service worse, the film quality passable, yet I still remember it. It was shorter than a T20, it was new-ish (I mean, we’d all seen Star Trek) and the thing that stuck out was that it was an entertaining film that I still recall.

I went to see Phantom Menace in a lovely multiplex cinema, massive screen, comfy chairs, all mod cons, expensive food and drink, and the film was garbage. Just because my “fan experience” was good, and there was much more comfort, the “product” itself, what you go for, was ropy. I didn’t go to the cinema to see the next two, or even the new one.

Harrison here is giving the game away. On the one hand he wants a competition to capture the buzz, the excitement, the thrills of the Big Bash. But on the other he says this is “of secondary importance”. What the serious you know what is he on about? What the Blast has, no matter how little you feel about it, is when you get to the latter stages of it, it clearly matters to a lot of people. Northants and Leicestershire should tell you that. They couldn’t give a flying one about a “customer experience” and more about are they going to win the competition, as do their fans. You can’t just, in this country for sure, astroturf supporters. It’s called grass roots support for a reason. Harrison isn’t trying to get new people involved by a meaningful competition, but by some sort of high entertainment exhibition. Again, you watch the Big Bash and there does appear to be, especially with the Perth team, an affinity between the team and the supporters, and they are playing their matches at their worst test ground for amenities.

The argument, it seems the only argument, for this competition is to bring new spectators to the game. Now this is going to be interesting to see how this is done. Let’s say, for instance, that The Oval is hosting a fixture against the North London team. I could see how a rivalry might develop, and both those counties have a relatively short commuting range to get to the grounds. The Oval has a bit of a rep for becoming a drinking den during the T20 games. Up the ante on the supposed quality, and those supporters would be interested in more of the same in the late Summer months. How are you going to keep them out? Because that’s what Tom and co seem to be implying. These guys are good at getting tickets – better, I would suggest, than families, mums and dads. The city boys who make The Oval “what it is” on Blast days won’t mind shelling out a few extra quid. Are we going to make large parts of the ground “alcohol free”? How are you going to police that? How are you going to ensure families get tickets, even if there is no idea if that market actually exists? Are the ECB, in effect, going to take over the running of the ground for that game, something they don’t even do for international fixtures? Why would Surrey let the ECB take over the Oval for 4 or 5 nights a year? And good luck trying that with Lord’s!!!!!

It’s OK for fancy dan presentations by Futurebrand, or whoever they are, telling the ECB how to run things, giving them what they want, but what does Harrison actually want? There’s woolly aims about growing the game, future-proofing it, putting it on terrestrial TV. There’s much out there saying the status quo isn’t an option, and that county cricket isn’t a brand that sells. It’s much like test cricket. If you talk it down enough, you end up with even the supporters having little long-term faith. Harrison has fancy ideas, but no idea what will happen. He’s taking a leap of faith. If you are asking me to have faith in an ECB leap of faith, then you are asking the wrong person. The ECB used up my web of goodwill ages ago. All I see are charlatans at the top, keeping the man who did the most to sabotage long-term growth (Clarke) in gainful employment, and his successor locked firmly in Downton’s cupboard in case he says anything more out of order than the Empty Suit. When you have Comma, with a straight face, saying this competition could produce the test players of the future (yes, lots of “spinners” bowling darts is just what we need), my eyes rolled. They want a Big Bash. Michael Vaughan wants a Big Bash. Nasser Hussain wants a Big Bash. #39 wants a Big Bash.

It would just be the most honest thing to call it Big Bash, wouldn’t it. I can’t wait for the South London Scum to play the North London Toffs, and I hope many families will come for the “customer experience”. Let me hear them make some noise…

Advertisements

115 thoughts on ““Do SOMETHING! ANYTHING!”

  1. Mark March 28, 2017 / 5:22 pm

    Thought it might be a good idea to remind everyone what the proposals are. This was from George Dobell on Cricinfo 10th March.

    The key points are these:

    Test matches will be played during the window for the new competition. The document says this means: “Test Players are not anticipated to play in the new competition if selected in the relevant Test squads.”

    The intended start date of the new competition is July 24, 2020, with the final scheduled for August 30. The Blast is likely to begin at the end of May.
    The competition will consist of 36 games played in a 38-day window. Every game will be televised and each team will host four games.

    The domestic 50-over competition will continue at the same time despite the absence of the best 96 limited-overs cricketers; an average of five per county. That means, according to the ECB document, that “there is likely to be a requirement to play at out-grounds for counties whose venues are used by new teams.” County coaches are to be made available to coach the new teams if their county employers are willing to release them.

    Each of the eight new teams will have a 15-man squad for the new competition. There will be three overseas players per squad.
    Each team is to have a set player budget to be spent in the draft and, at the draft, 13 players will be selected per team. Two players per squad will be deemed “wildcards” and will be selected after the group stages of the T20 Blast (the existing T20 competition contested by all 18 counties). The intention, the ECB states, is “to reward in-form players not originally picked up in the draft and to link the narrative between the Blast and the new competition.”

    There will be six salary bands (A-F, with A the most expensive) with two players selected per team from each band, apart from the lowest band (F) from which three will be selected. Teams will draw lots before each round of the draft to determine who gets first pick. There will be a 24-hour trade period following the draft so teams can swap one or two players from within the same group. Overseas players will be able to pick a salary level at A, B and D grades only.

    It is proposed that teams could retain a maximum of eight players and a minimum of four players into the second year of the competition.
    It is the “the strong recommendation” of the marketing companies involved in the launch of the competition that it features “new team (i.e. non-county based) brands, to drive reappraisal and differentiation from existing cricket.”

    All commercial and ticketing matters will be centrally organised. Revenues will be taken centrally. Venues will be paid a staging fee and be allowed to keep hospitality and catering revenue.
    Venues will be chosen according to their capacity, transport links, catchment area, facilities and relationship with their local authority.

    A new sub-committee of the ECB Board, comprising a chairperson and independent directors bringing specialist skills would oversee the tournament design and implementation. A new central division within the ECB would be formed to run the tournament.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus March 28, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      All commercial and ticketing matters will be centrally organised. Revenues will be taken centrally. Venues will be paid a staging fee and be allowed to keep hospitality and catering revenue.

      Venues will be chosen according to their capacity, transport links, catchment area, facilities and relationship with their local authority.

      I can’t wait. They sell the tickets, they let the hosting ground run it. Can’t see a conflict there.

      Like

      • Mark March 28, 2017 / 6:13 pm

        I wondered if you wou would spot that. This is a mass centralisation of cricket. A power grab. The ECB, like a mafia outfit will centralise, organise, and run it, and take the money direct. We wouldn’t want the counties to lose it by mistake.

        The counties are reduced to small time Landlords renting out their grounds to their new masters. Except they get no say in what goes on.

        Star Wars is a good metaphor. The ECB has become the Death Star. Roaming around the universe destroying those that won’t submit. These people are power crazy. They don’t want to govern English cricket, they want to own it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather March 29, 2017 / 11:22 am

        If venues are to be chosen this way, then Bransgrove’s Bowl should be excluded immediately – it has next to nothing in the way of transport links…

        Like

  2. "IronBalls" McGinty March 28, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    I just heard on Sky news (on free view btw) that Headingley has been saved..huzzah!!
    A deal has been struck between Leeds City council and a private developer, and the ground will be ready by 2020!
    Now, call me a conspiracy theorist, but, my first thought was “well, bugger me…fancy that!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus March 28, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      My first thought was “what a great shakedown that was”.

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus March 28, 2017 / 5:59 pm

      I could say that it’s very much in his interests that this competition goes ahead because players the organisation I believe he still works for has a number of those who could well be picked up for good sums. You know, James “great fielder” Vince.

      Northern Light is on it.

      Like

  3. SimonH March 28, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    Graves in the DM:

    “Together, we can now take a huge opportunity to not only create a deeper engagement with those who currently follow cricket but to attract a whole new audience and ensure the sustainability of our game”.

    “Deeper engagement”….. “sustainability” (much beloved by those f***ing up the earth)…. can a “holistically” be far away?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus March 28, 2017 / 6:02 pm

      I buy a Sky Subscription. I read the Cricketer Magazine. I go to county cricket. I used to go to Tests before they made the legroom akin to Ryanair and doubled the price. I read about. Write a blog about it.

      A made up load of tosh to enrich the supposed better players, while jeopardising the base of the game is not going to create a deeper engagement. I’m fucking married to the damn sport as it is.

      Liked by 3 people

    • d'Arthez March 28, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      A new audience? Or is the ECB desperately trying to re-engage with the audience they deliberately, willingly, and knowingly alienated and lost?

      Empty Suit basically argues that to sustain the game, we need a bunch of drunkards pissing away their earnings, being completely uninterested in the game (if they even know the rules), just for a chance to be on television for their insane stunts.
      That is deeper engagement apparently. Can’t have it both ways. Might work, if you’re desperate to come up with a drunken clown act. Less likely to work if you are actually promote a sport, that is already seen as elitist, and inaccessible to large parts of the population due to wilful neglect by the ECB, and various other (public, as in state) bodies.

      What are they going to do to get families in? Ban alcohol sales, as if that will go down well with the grounds? How much can a hosting ground charge for an inedible sandwich, if there is not some glorified piss to take away the revolting taste of said inedible sandwich?

      And, speaking of sustainability. Why is that an issue now all of a sudden? Because convenience dictates so, it seems.
      But in reality, if there is an issue with sustainability, it means that current practices are not sustainable, for one reason or the other. Now, I know it is a very unmeritocratic thing to do, but has anyone actually been held to account for the lack of sustainability? Anyone? And pray tell, if that is not sustainable, how come Comma, Empty Suit and co. (and their predecessors) make quite a bit of money, for basically not being accountable for having driven / driving the sport over the cliff?

      Rumour has it, that Giles Clarke has not exactly been dying to go to Parliament, when there was talk about him being compelled to do so (and what happened to that? Or has it simply become less important than whatever outbreak of idiotititis that the Daily Fail writes on on any particular day? That in itself would be quite damning as well).

      If you want to engage with people: make the game accessible, affordable to watch and to play. Promote a positive lighthearted spirit, rather than “f***ing pr*cks” (and worse) being the words of choice whenever the supposed (and highly paid) role models don’t get their way on the field, or even in the studio. Dean Jones was sacked for his terrorist comment, Comma got a promotion for his moment of idiocy (and it was even written about as a highlight of the cricketing year; doubt that Dean Jones received such accolades for that particular comment).

      For the love of pizza, try not to come across as people who are covering each other’s backs, to help each other, being allergic to meritocracy, transparency, and any form of decent governance. Be f***ing accountable.

      Hell, insist on journalists who cover the game, to actually have a spine, and actually not having their heads up so far in someone’s rear, that the only thing these cheerleaders can say that even the sh*t smells lovely (several supposed journalists / commentators fall in that category these days), and when challenged by a very annoying thing called reality, double down and throw tantrums that a 2-year old toddler would be embarrassed for.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Mark March 28, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    I think we should all have a go at trying to guess what the stupid names they will come up with for their beloved 8 franchises. Not very original but off the top of my head……

    The Warickshire Waitrose
    The Surrey Sainsburys
    The Manchester McDonalds
    The Leeds Kwik fit
    The Nottingham Starbucks
    The Bristol Dyson cleaners
    The London Ladbrokes
    The Cardiff Tescos.

    Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH March 29, 2017 / 9:28 am

        This gives every impression of having been fed to the newspaper county chairmen read just at the moment that their postal vote will be plopping on to the doormat.

        There’s too much here to digest at once but some early thoughts:
        1) By their own admission and by their own standards, this means the previous Sky deal was disastrously under-priced (didn’t I read that argument somewhere?…. Perhaps it was on that nasty social media?….). This was, I seem to remember, one of the last actions of Giles Clarke as ECB chairman.
        2) Why are the BBC suddenly interested? Lord Hall is the figure involved I’ve heard mentioned – anyone know anything about him (or broader BBC issues that relate to this)?
        3) I’m starting to think that the whole “get it back on FTA” thing that has dominated press coverage and discussion is a giant “look over there, it’s a squirrel” exercise.

        Like

      • AB March 29, 2017 / 9:46 am

        Probably how much it would be worth by now had cricket remained on FTA tv…

        Like

      • Mark March 29, 2017 / 10:54 am

        “ECB wants £1.25 billion tv bonanza.”

        Well they ain’t getting that from the BBC. The whole free to air stuff is a hoax in my view. The very same people who have denied through gritted teeth that FTA was an issue are suddenly running around saying its vital to get cricket back on FTA TV.

        Sorry, not buying it. It’s a fraud. The BBC can’t aford that kind of money. There would be outrage if they paid that on football tv rights, and football is popular. As Simon says this has all the smell of a PR bullshit campaign on the eve of the vote.

        I will be very interested to see how many people inside the ECB are later revealed to have financial interests in the various franchises. This is all about the money. They are looting the sport for their own ends.

        Like

      • AB March 29, 2017 / 11:12 am

        Its vulture capitalism. I trust Clarke, Graves and Harrison about as much as I trust Philip fucking Green. English cricket will soon go the same was as BHS.

        Like

    • thebogfather March 29, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      Brummie Balti Brogues in Brown
      Sarf London Swillin’ KP Serfs
      Lords Of the Long Room Ringers
      Bramsgrove Boasts South Coasters
      Yorkshire Puds wi’ Gravesy Tripe Hoods
      Robbing Hoods made Marionettes
      The Welsh Glum Organs
      SouWester Hat Vic Tricksters

      ….I’ll get m’coat……

      Like

      • Mark March 29, 2017 / 10:58 pm

        Well done sir! Much better than my effort.

        Yorkshire puds wi’ gravesy is my favourate.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather March 30, 2017 / 1:20 pm

        LCL – the Lankies will have to be part of the Yorkies to help pay for the new stand…

        Like

  5. simplyshirah March 28, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    Good piece me Lord. Where do they get these bozos! Sometimes I think I am living in a parallel universe.

    Money & power name of the game. That’s all I can think. Not surprised counties are not happy. T20 games are fun and can be exciting but it ain’t real cricket. It’s all just another pig in a poke ala ECB empty heads.

    Like

  6. pktroll (@pktroll) March 29, 2017 / 8:01 am

    If ECB had been smart enough, they would have tried to create their own version of the IPL circa 2008 instead of over 10 years later. Instead they of course had their attempt at the Stanford bonanza and we all recall how that ended up. Now they have two issues. Firstly, are they seriously going to rival the likes of the IPL/Big Bash at a time when the UK pound is likely to be weak for a significant period and attract the big name overseas players for the length of the tournament, that will be wedged between the IPL and the reasonably attractive Caribbean tournament? I am unsure.

    Secondly, like everyone else I’m somewhat mystified as to where the extra fans are going to come from that don’t already go and watch the blast, which is reasonably successful in it’s own right.

    Like

  7. SimonH March 29, 2017 / 9:38 am

    Interesting….

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-4358344/Elitist-Twenty20-ruin-says-Essex-chairman.html

    The ECB and the DM not singing from the same hymn-sheet? Something’s got to give there – I hope Newman’s got an alternative career plan.

    As for the Essex chairman, all power to his elbow but I’d fear for him too. Haven’t two of the three county chairmen (Sussex and Kent) who voted against it last time lost their jobs? I’m not 100% sure of this but I think that’s right. Still, it’ll all be just a coincidence….

    The third previous opponent Surrey are being very quiet. What’s going on there?

    Like

  8. AB March 29, 2017 / 9:51 am

    The thing that strikes me from reading all these articles in the newspapers and the various comments underneath is not what a fucking stupid idea this is, because we’ve been saying that for a decade now, neither is it how full of shit Graves and Harrison are, because we’ve also known that they’re incompetent, incoherent morons for a fair while.

    No, the thing that strikes me is the complete and utter fury in the comments sections. Like, literally no-one is in favour of this tournament. The comments are virtually unanimous. Even the majority of the journalists (apart from the really, really fucking stupid ones) are openly sceptical about it, and that’s virtually unheard of.

    I would have thought the reaction from the public would have been mixed, some in favour, some against. The fact that I have yet to hear a single voice in favour of the tournament convinces me that it is going to be the most abject failure of all time.

    Are the ECB reading these comments? Are they surprised? Does it not make them just a little nervous that a venture whose success is entirely dependent upon public reaction is being met by some open contempt and hostility?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. SimonH March 29, 2017 / 9:53 am

    Rain in Hamilton (where the crowds have been dismal by the way) ensures SA undeservedly win the series and maintain second place in the rankings going into the April cut-off point:

    https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/mens/team-rankings/test

    England need to beat SA by a two-Test margin to overtake them in the rankings and even winning 4-0 will not lead to England overtaking Australia.

    Like

    • d'Arthez March 29, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Sadly, the result probably means that England only have to take 9 wickets every innings in the upcoming series, and that de Bruyn’s (who is a promising middle order batsman) career gets ruined as well in the process. I would have happily gifted New Zealand this Test, if it meant no more Duminy in the team.

      Personally if they’re going to drop Cook, bring in Markram (a young promising specialist opener). But don’t keep messing with the entire order to accommodate a guy who is a worse batsman than some “specialist” bowlers.

      Like

    • AB March 29, 2017 / 10:13 am

      That’s annoying – was really hoping NZ won that test. I’ve been watching it in dribs and drabs.

      As for the rain, why on earth are they playing test cricket in NZ in late March?

      Like

      • d'Arthez March 29, 2017 / 11:30 am

        Hamilton is on the “wrong side” of the North Island, with regards to rain. Problem is that it is still the third most populous region of the island (behind Auckland and Wellington). And on the South Island, only Canterbury is more populous. So it makes sense to schedule a Test there, rather than say in Napier.

        If solely going by population, the Tests should have been played in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (with Hamilton as the first reserve venue). And with the exception of Christchurch, all three are quite wet in March.

        I have seen quite a bit of variance in the reported figures (probably because of the periods under consideration), which may suggest that changing weather patterns do play a role here – and people are often slow to catch on with regards to such changes.

        And to be fair to the ground, the last time a Test was drawn (before today) was way back in 2004. Nine Tests since 2004 had seen decisive results. Most of those were not held in March though (only 2). In fact, of all the 10 Tests starting in March at this venue, only 3 ended in draws (against India in 1994, rain on Day 1 , but still well over 350+ overs in, and another draw against South Africa (2004), which lasted well over 400 overs).

        Like

  10. SimonH March 29, 2017 / 12:40 pm

    He’s slightly less demented in terms of quantity than yesterday – but making it up in terms of quality:

    Like

    • Mark March 29, 2017 / 2:06 pm

      They said that 15 years ago when they introduced 20/20.

      Who are these NEW people? Shinny toy was complaining that the Blast has an average crowd of only 7000. Obviously some have bigger crowds. But he was salivating at the thought of a full London stadium.

      But the blast attracts a lot of Friday night drinkers. How does this fits in with their family friendly “NEW AUDIENCE.” I don’t know. As Mark Chapman said ……some of these Friday crowds more resemble a stag night.

      However, there are a lot of people who do love an “event.” Trooping the Colour is an event. The Summer solstice is an event. Glastonbury is an event, and they have nothing to do with sport. And the ECB have said the the sport is secondary….. so who knows? People buy after shave because David Beckham uses it.

      Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) March 29, 2017 / 2:39 pm

        And they wonder if sidelining long serving/suffering fans is a good idea………………

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus March 30, 2017 / 7:58 am

          #39….

          Liked by Shiny Toy.

          Like

      • LordCanisLupus March 29, 2017 / 5:48 pm

        I mean. They literally launched T20 to get a new audience for county cricket. It worked. #39 is just being obtuse.

        Like

      • Mark March 30, 2017 / 8:56 am

        39 Please Stop hiding behind this nonsense that you are trying to save county cricket. You are going to put most of the county matches on before May 31 and after August 31. That is not saving county cricket. It’s marginialising it.

        You are pushing a get rich quick hoopl for your chums.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. SimonH March 29, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    It doesn’t matter if absolutely nobody is watching, you tool….

    (I know it’s not scientific but the Guardian’s thread on this match managed to attract a massive 4 comments)

    Like

  12. SimonH March 29, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    Not something we heard from the previous captain:

    ‘Sky continue to make it interesting to viewers but you can’t beat the fact that it is going to be available to everyone and not just those who are subscribing.’

    And this is a new one:

    “Joe Root was speaking on behalf of BRUT Sport Style, the new fragrance from men’s grooming brand BRUT”.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-4362308/England-captain-Joe-Root-starts-hatch-plan-Ashes.html

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus March 30, 2017 / 7:05 am

      Did this happen?

      Like

      • Ian March 30, 2017 / 7:44 am

        Yes I heard it and sadly it did.

        Like

      • Mark March 30, 2017 / 8:48 am

        WTF is a brand ambassador?

        You mean he takes sponsorship money to sell “product?” In other words a corporate endorsement salesman. So why is the BBC (who don’t alow adverts) pushing this blatant advertising?

        If Jimmy Anderson won’t talk to the BBC or anyone else unless he brings along his Brut dog and pony show, then fuck him.

        Slowly but surely The England national team has morphed into a bunch of sales reps. The cricket is secondry, as we now know.

        I understand that professional sports teams need sponsorship, but don’t ponce around calling yourself an Brand Ambassador.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andy March 30, 2017 / 12:19 pm

        Simon, I saw something similar in the times while getting my lunch, couldn’t read teh whole thing, but other journalists picked up on it too.

        Hopefully it shows Root will not be overwhelmed or cowed. He certainly seems to be trying to say the right things for teh fans.

        The England team are just following most other mainstream sports and slapping adverts on every available space. There is something particularly unpalatable about R4 spouting it though….

        Like

    • oreston March 30, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      You mean Henry “splash it all over” Cooper and Barry Sheene aren’t advertising BRUT anymore?! When did that happen???*

      Seriously, it’s good once again to have an England Test captain who can actually speak coherently to the media. Knowing his own mind and a commitment to employing tactics that might actually win games are also welcome.
      Great to see that Root wants to bat in his best position again, which of course begs the question of whether he’ll slot Cook in at 3 and go with a new opening pair of Hameed and Jennings. I’m fine with AC staying in the team if he’s making runs, but I just feel the transition to a new era somehow won’t be complete until he stops opening the innings and the bloody soul-destroying odyssey of finding an opening partner for him who a) is deemed good enough and b) AC and his media chums won’t try to undermine can finally be laid to rest.

      *Yes, I do realise they aren’t available anymore 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH March 30, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      “Neither LA nor Paris would be a disaster for us, in fact both would be opportunistic, especially the US option.”

      You do wonder sometimes if English is Dave Richardson’ first language.

      “they said when taking any decision on new sport they’ve put an overall limit on the number of athletes, so as a team sport we would only fit six to eight teams”.

      So it isn’t about growing the game as expected.

      Also, the first comment sees the immediate implication for the new ECB tournament.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. SimonH March 30, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Just the sort of thing you might Tweet if you run a podcast called ‘Inside Cricket’:

    Liked by 1 person

      • Mark March 30, 2017 / 2:58 pm

        Oh here we go, another candlelight dinner. These people do love their endless fine dining, and then leaking about it. So who is 39 munching with now? Name names!

        And also, it’s now time to ask what financial interst 39 and Selvey have in this hoopla? Have they got shares or capital in one of the ventures? Are they in any way in line to profit from this tournament.

        English cricket is fast resembling a banana Republic.

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus March 30, 2017 / 5:39 pm

        Casual throwing in of nickname. Check. Agree with ECB line. Check. Agree with a line that has raised the ire of lots of cricket fans. Check.

        It is as if he’s never been away. Can’t wait for the blog.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Riverman21 March 30, 2017 / 6:09 pm

      I see the Analyst is complaining about the amount of negativity towards the new tournament.

      If for one moment we can look at the facts:
      1. England international players will not be available.
      2. Existing regular cricket watchers at 10 of the 18 grounds will have to travel a minimum of 40 miles round trip to see a game.
      3. Existing paid up members of all clubs will have to watch second xi cricket take part in 50 over games for 6 weeks of the summer.

      Even with a pair of rose tinted specs can anyone tell me how is this positive?

      PS Despite all of the above i would still watch my local team for the duration rather than attend a franchise match. If i listen to said experts a fan like me with 40 years of cricket watching paying £200 a year to be a member of a county club plus spending money at the ground probably adding a further £300 per year is clearly one to be ignored.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus March 31, 2017 / 10:38 am

        How did you feel about Tom Harrison calling you an obsessive? Did this energise you? Make you feel positive.

        The existing fans are the sport’s best current asset. They can spread the gospel. But the last few years have shown what the ECB think of you/ us.

        At some point people will turn away. We are very hard to replace.

        Like

      • Mark March 31, 2017 / 10:43 am

        They don’t want you, or me. They want a shinny new audience. Who will pay top dollar,and buy lots of merchandise shite.

        The cricket is secondary, they have already admitted it. They are putting on an new event. If you want o go, fine. But they don’t give a shit if you don’t. They are fixated on the “shock of the new.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH March 31, 2017 / 11:17 am

        Turn up, pay up, shut up is the motto.

        Morgan’s “We will always have the same cricket fans unless we do something differently” is nearly as bad as Harrison’s “obsessive” in my book. Maybe it’s just clumsily phrased and he didn’t quite mean it like it sounds. Funny how all these people with years of ECB media-management training keep saying these things that come across a bit like that.

        A lot of what’s going on is straight out of the lifestyle advertising handbook. Forget the quality (or lack of it) of our product – if you consume what we’re offering you’ll be this sort of person. Those who consume are labelled with positive words like young, vibrant, exciting and so on; those who won’t are out-dated, fuddy-duddy and have no place in our brave new world. Some of it also reminds me of what happened to music a few years back – target it much more at the very young because they are more open to manipulation.

        One of the posters at TFT made the excellent point how the new tournament links to that All-Stars Cricket initiative of a week or two back. The latter will be used to push the former.

        Like

      • Riverman21 March 31, 2017 / 4:35 pm

        TBH LCL i couldn’t give a shit what Tom Harrison thinks as he clearly doesn’t understand cricket. Isn’t he looking at it like a product like selling a can of beans. Put it in the right tin give it a funky name approved by some sort of focus group and BINGO.

        What bugs the hell out of me is people who used to play the game as they clearly have a love for it. How the hell did they get so warped in their thinking? How can a media contract writing or commentating on the game cause someone to leave their critical faculties at the gate? If Dobell can see it why can’t Hughes? Therein lies the answer to a lot of questions.

        Long live the independence of thought and writing on this site. Obsessive or not it talks a lot more sense than those snake oil salesman.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Mark March 30, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    One of the things that has flown under the radar is the 50 over competition. Here is what they say about it……

    “The domestic 50-over competition will continue at the same time despite the absence of the best 96 limited-overs cricketers; an average of five per county. That means, according to the ECB document, that “there is likely to be a requirement to play at out-grounds for counties whose venues are used by new teams.”

    So the best 100 odd ODI players in England womt be playing for their counties, and the games will be booted out to smaller venues. I just can’t wait to see how much the counties try to charge for these second eleven matcjes!

    Like

    • oreston March 30, 2017 / 3:22 pm

      50 over cricket is absolutely the priority – or at least it was for about 5 minutes.

      If they’re playing these matches at out-grounds, Harrison will probably try to spin it as some sort of community engagement initiative.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus March 30, 2017 / 5:36 pm

        After 2019 we go in to “major ICC 50 over comp is not in our backyard” mode.

        Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) March 31, 2017 / 7:24 am

        We can always aim to get a World t20 compo over here once the mega successful compo kicks off…………………..

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus March 31, 2017 / 8:16 am

          This makes absolutely no sense. And nor does his follow up.

          Like

        • LordCanisLupus March 31, 2017 / 8:22 am

          Two groups of four. Two games per day. 6 days. Semi finals on day 8. Final on Day 10. Reserve days in place if required.

          They manage to have an Olympic football tournament. Managed to have a 50 over comp in the Commonwealth Games. Managed to have a two week basketball tournament for many Olympics. What’s he on about?

          Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH March 31, 2017 / 9:06 am

        “IOC not interested in cricket, only money”.

        Not that there aren’t any other sports’ governing bodies of which that could be said….

        His former newspaper seem to have some sort of sustained campaign going on against the IOC and Team Sky. I’m not here to defend those two bodies but the willful blindness to other bodies where the evidence of similar wrong-doing is overwhelming is most peculiar.

        There’s some sort of agenda going on but what it is I wouldn’t claim to be able to work out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark March 31, 2017 / 9:40 am

        “IOC not interested in cricket, only money”.

        Which is rich coming from someone who’s nose has been rammed up the ECBs backside for the last few years.

        Of course you can have 20/20 showcased at the Olympics if you want to. There is a football tournament at the Olympics and that goes on for the full 2 weeks. As Dmitri says, a couple of games a day, then semi final and final. No problem. Someone or some bodies dont want it.

        Now I should say personally that I couldn’t care less if cricket was at the Olympics. I like golf, but I DIDNT WATCH any of the golf in the Olympics last year. I don’t watch much of the Football at the Olympics. I think I watched more of the woman’s football than the men’s.

        I don’t believe a single word Selvey or 39 say. They speak in riddles, and relay the opinions of strange dinner acquaintances they never have the integrity to reveal. They are not journalists but agenda pushers. They bigger question is what are their conflicts of interest?

        Liked by 1 person

  15. SimonH March 31, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Newly appearing for the dark side we have:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2017/03/30/englands-new-twenty20-competition-comparable-brexit-must-back/

    “I compare it to Brexit”.

    Total dog-whistling.

    “It’s not in anyone’s interest to see counties go out of business”

    Oh really?

    “let’s stop talking about why it’s not going to work”

    Expect to hear a lot of this.

    “The intention to have games on free-to- air television is a huge part of it”. (from Eoin Morgan)

    22% is huge?

    “One of the biggest turning points for my generation was the 2005 Ashes, people in and around London specifically who aren’t involved in cricket were talking about cricket and that was awesome.” (Morgan again)

    Can anyone spot the differences between the 2005 Ashes and this new tournament?….

    Liked by 2 people

    • SimonH March 31, 2017 / 9:51 am

      More on what Morgan said that wasn’t in the DT (it mostly involves figures with lots of zeros attached):

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-4365632/Eoin-Morgan-expecting-cricket-s-5m-player.html

      It’s reported by Lawrence Booth who’s been rather quiet recently, presumably busy with Wisden. Can any fans of Booth find him giving this new tournament the kind of broadside we’ve seen from Marks or Liew? Despite him being a fan of Northants – one of the big potential losers? I’m afraid that, while not quite in the #39 or Selvey league, he’s a convert.

      Like

    • Mark March 31, 2017 / 10:04 am

      Says Ashley Giles……. who just happens to be the director of cricket for Warickshire who will be one of the big beneficiaries of this new ” product” Hell fire, haven’t they already changed their name to Birmingham for their one day teams? Almost as if they were anticipating this move to city based cricket?

      Of course there will be no big salary increase for the director of cricket at Warickshire (sorry Birmingham) when the money flows in! (Snark)

      Quite why anyone would want to listen to Ashley Giles on 20/20 is a bit odd. Didn’t he coach ENGLAND to lose against Holland? This New product is going to a money bonanza for snake oil selling coaches with clip boards and crack pot theories.

      Like

      • SimonH March 31, 2017 / 10:11 am

        Aren’t Warwickshire massively in debt and one of the counties with flat-lining NWB attendances? They’ve also been regularly awarded Finals’ Day in recent years.

        I’ve read Giles was on 170k at Lancashire – any idea what his Warwickshire job pays? I doubt he took a pay cut.

        He was obviously very bruised by his experience coaching the white-ball team when Flower had the Test team – but he kept his thoughts muted. Those who do that (think Moores in 2009) tend to be rewarded in the long-term.

        Like

      • Mark March 31, 2017 / 10:34 am

        I remember a couple of years ago a semi final at “Birmingham” for the 50 over competition against Durham I think it was, and the ground looked empty. It was on Sky. (Isn’t all cricket on Sky?) A decade ago a semi final at Edgebaston would have been sold out.

        I have no idea what the financial situation at Birmingham is. But you have to marvel at the salaries these counties pay the coaches considering most of them end up failing, and the financial plight of county cricket. Complete wast of money in my view. £170,000 to put a few cones out, and do some slip fielding practice. Nice work if you can get it!

        Like

      • man in a barrel April 1, 2017 / 12:06 pm

        I yes, Warks is a financial basket case. They were one of the 3 counties I reviewed

        Like

  16. nonoxcol March 31, 2017 / 9:39 am

    So there, plebs.

    Has anyone done an analysis of county allegiance versus support for this thing among journalists and ex-players? There seems to be some sort of correlation with Middlesex for sure…

    Like

    • Mark March 31, 2017 / 9:52 am

      That is a stupid reply. He can not say that with any confidence. These things can take on a life of their own. Nobody at the ECB forsaw how 20/20 would take off when they launched it 15 years ago. The idea there would be a World Cup, and India would create the IPL was not foreseen.

      The people behind this this new ‘ product’ want it to be succesful. They are going to hype it, and they are prepared to sacrifice large parts of the English season to making it a success. If it works it could destroy the remaining parts of English one day cricket. The Blast will be seen as inferior if the new product is a great success. Then what happens to the smaller counties trying to push a sub standard ” product?”

      There have always been people who want to reduce the number of counties, and this may well be the way of doing it. I just wish they would be honest about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. SimonH March 31, 2017 / 10:04 am

    Well, what did Liam Livingstone just have to mention in his Guardian interview:

    “Andy [Flower] has a very good way of being able to put pressure on you when you need it but take it off when you don’t, which creates an unbelievable environment in which to improve.”

    Livingstone did very well under Flower with the Lions and perhaps it’s natural that a player says good things about a coach he’s had success with. I don’t recall players who’ve been less successful under Flower being asked or feeling they could volunteer much of an opinion.

    BTL there are things like “antidote to those who see Flower as the root of all evil”, “vicious and one-eyed attacks” on Flower and our old favourite “KP fell out with every coach”, I can’t help wondering why I’ve been bothering to defend the CC (for these are CC regulars commenting, obviously) and remembering a certain article from Maxie (his last main one) some time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark March 31, 2017 / 10:13 am

      Does creating a dossier of faults on on your best player come under “putting pressure on players when they need it?”

      And does not doing anything about stopping players running fake Twitter accounts from the dressing room constitute…….. ” taking pressure off?”

      Like

  18. thebogfather March 31, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    I am the obsessive, with love of cricket forged from eloquence
    We are the obsessives, deriding the ECB, our nemesis

    On the sacrificial game is altered by excess
    Unleashing an already tired beast, too late, aw bless
    No incantations of regret or remorse
    Seems paywall reality may have reached its course…

    They decorate the scarf with a fugi knot rash
    A camouflage product of the 22 yard stare
    Gouging the notches in big bat besot bash
    So hip, not, idiotic product proffered wi’out care

    Listen to the syllabullshit of sycophantic precision
    Platitudes without thrust or thought, rape our minds with derision
    Apoplectic in plagiarism, casting aside the outside
    Pathetique in its lack of sagism, or common sense inside
    Verbal inanity from empty suits and those MSM recruits
    Who cuddle in a muddle of dining table fine winery
    So befuddled they be, opining fables of inanity

    Nothing but sentimental mercenaries in a free loader zone
    Parading a Bollywood conscience
    Now the fashionable objectors with a Giles Clarke fetish
    Slaves to the cash till ring of excess
    Such non-observers or reality with relish
    Yet we the obsessive will remain

    It’s still Our Game

    Should we resign ourselves to their failure? Obsession, my friends
    Could we ignore the killing they tailor? Devotion, my friends
    How do we eradicate the power hungry mongrels and their media
    Who seek to kill cricket, and leave us with nothing more than more
    T20 excess so forgettable
    To let them, would be so regrettable

    Let’s be the obsessives, the assassins…

    (With thanks and apologies to Fish/Marillion/Assassing from the album Fugazi)

    Like

  19. SimonH March 31, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    I see the Guardian’s latest update on the new tournament has no comments allowed.

    I don’t think lack of comments is always deliberate and part of broader agendas – but the near-universal hostility on that last thread can’t have gone well.

    Stifle debate until the vote’s in and then start with the “move on” lectures. That would be a plan. Not a very good one, but it would be a plan.

    Like

    • Mark March 31, 2017 / 2:23 pm

      “The Internet we want.”

      Which is a censored, antiseptic, bland Internet purged of all opinions that don’t fit with our Guardian owners, sponsors and journos.

      The beatings will continue until the right answer has been restored.

      Like

    • SimonH March 31, 2017 / 6:13 pm

      I can’t think of any C18th tytant who was this haughty though:

      Like

      • SimonH March 31, 2017 / 6:24 pm

        And just the 8 Tweets from security-expert Selvey on how safe Pakistan is. Not seen too many from him about all the match-fixing suspensions that might call into question whether Pakistan are ready to resume hosting international cricket.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Andy March 31, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Interesting from bumble on Twitter.

    He’s just said it costs ‘circa £120k’ per game for sky (it’s a t20 discussion so assuming he’s taking blast).

    Can’t link I’m afraid as I’m on my phone.

    Like

  21. Andy March 31, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    Also just seen this;

    @richardgibson74: Lancs have sold 14800 tickets for Roses NW Blast game in mid-July. Their record T20 crowd is 15680. Yorks sold 13k for Aug return in Leeds!

    Old Trafford capacity is 19k and headingly 17.5k I think.

    The blast pulls in the crowd for meaningful games….

    The ecb are driving The blast & 50 over comps to become like the championship with the new comp being the premier league.

    Thing is there is not the public drive for a new league like there was for football.

    Like

  22. SimonH April 1, 2017 / 9:51 am

    Heroic from Dobell on the latest Switch Hit. Outnumbered 3 to 1 and wiping the floor with the opposition. Mark Butcher exclaiming “I don’t care about the quality” was a particular highlight (or lowlight). Some interesting hints on how the ECB rigged the “consultation” process emerge such as Dobell saying that they lied about NWB attendances to make them look lower and that they wouldn’t allow any of the documents shown to the counties to be taken away and examined more closely or publicly.

    I also am sick and tired of hearing how the recent India/Australia series was one of the greatest ever. It wasn’t. It was quite good and it was of course much better than the England series. It wasn’t a patch on, say, SA/Australia in 2015. The series ended with both sides’ best seamers not playing (Starc and Shami) and with one side’s best batsman not playing. They’d been broken by these ridiculous schedules. I also (and this is not to say India aren’t the better side at home – they are) can’t avoid the suspicion that India are just not going to be allowed to lose a home Test series. I gave up on it before the end.

    Like

      • AB April 2, 2017 / 9:28 am

        Butcher is one of the absolute worst. He makes so many obviously incorrect statements in a single breath, its impossible for George to debunk them all.

        This entire new tournament premise just seems to be based around a series of assumptions that are just parroted by every single talking head, but which fall apart under closer inspection.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus April 2, 2017 / 9:43 am

          More on that Morgan interview:

          “The price tag is there because that’s your market value. Guys are paid a lot of money because they’re worth it. It becomes a shock for everyone at home because we haven’t been exposed enough to it. I think if the exposure to the IPL at home had been the same from the start until now, as opposed to being just over the last two years, people wouldn’t be as shocked about it.

          No Eoin, we don’t remember KP and the way he was treated because he was given a lot of money which “he earned”. No, many called him a greedy, mercenary. A tag never applied to genial Freddie, who went to play a whole IPL with a knee injury and retired soon after.

          “But I don’t think it will damage county cricket at all. It’s not a gamble. It’s proved in other countries that it’s been done. I’m a massive cricket fan regardless of whether T20 goes through the roof. The majority of cricket fans are like that. To people who say it’s a gamble – which it is not – you can always go back to what you had before that.”

          There might not be anything to go back to. Of course it is a gamble. What if the T20 competition doesn’t attract the world stars? We better hope Australia and South Africa aren’t touring at the time.

          Eoin Morgan and Charlotte Edwards were attending a Chance to Shine and Yorkshire Tea event to promote the Junior Journalist competition.

          Nice commercial plug hidden behind something to appear nice.

          Like

      • AB April 2, 2017 / 10:11 am

        Not entirely sure how you can “go back” to having 18 professional teams around the country when 10 of them have gone out of business, the players have all got office jobs and the ground has been sold off for housing.

        Like

      • SimonH April 2, 2017 / 10:26 am

        I don’t normally copy Tweets from non-journos but this is priceless as an example of the stuff GD is having to respond to:

        The first four won’t be available (unless international cricket is crapped in August), the next three might be available if not selected for Tests or injured, the last might not be able to get a visa.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH April 2, 2017 / 10:29 am

        Oh, and let’s add that ‘Team North’ is much more likely to be ‘White Rose’ (or whatever Futurebrand come up with) and under the bidding system Root could end up playing at Lord’s and Stokes at Cardiff.

        Like

      • Mark April 2, 2017 / 10:48 am

        Simon, as a matter of interest….How is Joe Root going to be playing for anyone?

        “Test Players are not anticipated to play in the new competition if selected in the relevant Test squads.” Also……….

        39, in waspy tweet response to more criticism, said that in time they may reduce test cricket in August. So having decided to destroy county cricket, they may also move test cricket from August to accommodate this giant whit elephant.

        One minute they talk of the best players playing for new francises yet they also claim the best players will not be available.

        Like

      • AB April 2, 2017 / 11:49 am

        I honestly can’t think of a pair of brand names less likely to energise kids than “red rose” and “white rose”. It sounds like a compromise dreamt up by a committee of idiots.

        Like

  23. SimonH April 1, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    Buried beneath a bland headline, Rayner on Leach:

    “I was furious when that news came out. I don’t feel it would stunt my own progression to say my views on this, that someone, somewhere was under pressure to justify why Leach wasn’t out in India. The guy took 65 poles and no one batted an eyelid”.

    Like

    • oreston April 1, 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Unfortunately Rayner might be a bit naive if he thinks that he can make a statement like that (basically echoing what many of us have said, or at least thought, about the timing, motives and handling of the Leach affair) without his card being marked in consequence. Clearly he needs some remedial “media training” to free him from the urge to express any such independent thoughts and opinions, particularly when they implicitly question authority.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus April 1, 2017 / 4:19 pm

        Think Rayner’s chance has passed so not exactly in any danger of non-selection.

        That said, still remember seeing his career performance at The Oval against Surrey, and on a helpful wicket, with his height and the turn in the wicket, he was unplayable by mere mortals. Hashim Amla batted like a god that day, and Steve Davies showed why he should have been next after Prior if he’d kept keeping. I have rarely enjoyed a day’s cricket more, even though Surrey lost.

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus April 2, 2017 / 9:26 am

        From Eoin Morgan on Cricinfo (interviewed by pro-T20 “revolution” Andrew Miller).

        “Change is always difficult but I don’t think this is change,” Morgan said during a Chance to Shine event in Uxbridge. “It probably should have happened a while ago. We’re always going to have the same cricket fans unless we do something differently.

        “It’s a huge responsibility in growing the game. People are falling out of love with the game because it’s not engaging enough with the public.”

        Can someone please explain to me how it is good business practice to continually slag off your existing customers? Also, can you make sense of a comment that says this isn’t change but something has to change, and that you will always have the same fans but people (who I presume are current cricket fans) are falling out of love with the game because it isn’t engaging enough with the public (who I presume were never in love with it because they haven’t been going or watching it on TV).

        They are twisting themselves in knots on this.

        We were, still are, on Eoin Morgan’s side after the not going to Bangladesh thing. But Morgan is not an uninterested witness here. He’s saying these things because he’s not good enough to play test cricket. He’s given up on first class cricket, is really not even a member of a county playing staff for most of the year, and he’s the one evangelising the revolution>

        As I said. Total honesty is good. The ECB blew it after 2005, and now we want a copy of the Big Bash to try to make up for it, throwing some crumbs to FTA to say “look, we tried”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark April 2, 2017 / 9:27 am

        So none of the top Indian players, & none of the top England players! In addition, many other top players from other countries won’t be playing either.

        Sounds like it’s going to be a belter of new “product.”

        Just as well they want a new audience! One that apparently doesn’t want to see the best players in the world. This is begining to resemble crickets version of Gerald Ratner.

        “It’s crap!”

        Like

  24. AB April 2, 2017 / 10:07 am

    ECB: we have a problem, because the majority of kids in the UK can’t name a single cricketer. These are the kids we need to attract.

    Q. How will you do that then?

    ECB: By hosting a tournament full of all the cricketers that they know. Then they will come.

    Q. wait, wtf. but you literally just said…. I give up.

    Like

    • quebecer April 2, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      In all fairness, that does sound a bit like me.

      Like

  25. Mark April 2, 2017 / 11:02 am

    Can someone please explain how the money from this hoopla is going to be distributed? Will the 8 new franchises keep all the money for themselves? So how will this help the 9 counties that miss out? I still have not seen anything the helps county cricket in any way.

    Also,it seems a lot of the money will go through the ECB, so the opportunity for skimming money off the top for ECB projects is increased. We have seen that the ECB likes to spend money on the right sort of projects, employing the “right sort of people.” No surprise the usual suspects are so supportive of this venture. You know, the ones that rely on access for interviews to the top players and coaches and officials.

    The whole thing stinks. A small elite are hijacking cricket, and taking it under their control for no other purpose but to make money for themselves and their chums. And make no mistake……this thing will only be judged on if it makes money for the cabal. If in the process it destroys county cricket, destroys the blast, and even destroys test cricket as well that will be ignored. A price well worth paying.

    Like

    • AB April 2, 2017 / 11:54 am

      All the money goes to the ECB. They then distribute some of the money at their discretion to the counties. One imagines they will soon get tired of bailing out the “failing and outdated” counties.

      I also would imagine if a host county got a bit uppity and started asking for enough money to cover their costs, the ECB would just find a few venue. A football or athletics stadium perhaps…

      As we’ve said several times, its a silent coup, a ruthless power grab. The ECB are creating a monopoly.

      Like

      • Mark April 2, 2017 / 12:34 pm

        I can’t understand why the 9 losing counties are going to vote for this. They may be getting a £1.3 million bribe, but in the long run they are signing their own death warrants.

        Like

      • AB April 2, 2017 / 8:08 pm

        You have to understand that all organisations are run in the interest of the current management. Yes, many of the counties will disappear, but the current management of those counties will have a big fat paycheck to take into retirement with them.

        Like

    • SimonH April 2, 2017 / 12:12 pm

      Even by their own figures, it’s going to be years before it makes money. It’s more a question of how loses are going to be covered. That would be from the ECB contingency fund.

      Like

  26. BoredInAustria April 2, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    I have just come back from a visit to my aging parents and especially a frail father in Pretoria.

    While our small family fought our battles against the on-slaught of old age, and the country is sagging under battles of political power struggles, the final of the domestic 50 Overs Series (The “Momentum One Day Cup”) and thereby the end of the cricket season seemed to have passed by without any notice.

    Here my thoughts on the bit of SA cricket I saw on TV last week.

    On a Friday match in Centurion, the Titans massed up 425/5 (a domestic record) on their home ground after winning the toss against the Warriors (a combined team from the former Border / Eastern Province (East London / Port Elizabeth).

    Henry Davids and Aiden Markram both knocked hundreds in a 212 opening partnership and one might get to see something of Markram in the summer. The Proteas back up keeper Klaasens were also in the runs with 50 after carrying drinks in NZ for a few weeks. The Titans, coached by Boucher, played without AB, Faf and Morne Morkel but Albie and Behardien played. The Warriors played without Kyle Abbott, but Colin Ingram turned out of the Protea players I know.

    For those really interested you can read a bit more yourselves: http://www.espncricinfo.com/momentum-one-day-cup-2016-17/content/story/1089447.html

    But the point of this little post is the shockingly low number of spectators for a domestic final in SA.

    I sat with my practically blind father whose technique of watching cricket now is to sit directly in front of the TV, with his good ear turned to hear the commentary. I could read him the exact score as he would be out by a couple of runs each over (especially with the Titan’s run rate).

    The spectator numbers at the ground were very low. As the local team won the toss and batted from 14.00 (a 3 hours power cut had given us, about 1km from the ground, a headache earlier in the morning, but all was restored at the toss). But their record breaking display was in front of a handful of people in the mostly empty ground on this Friday afternoon. As the Warriors started the chase the crowds have swelled somewhat, but still very sad for a final. Admittedly a Lions team from Johannesburg might have improved interest in the game somewhat.

    I found this low turn-out in the light of what has been written on this blog over the last months very worrying for SA cricket. I was not very convinced by the quality of cricket (difficult to really judge with many international players out, the flat batting pitch and the Warriors collapsing in a heap under the pressure of chasing 400 +). Encouraging was a large number of black players in the teams (and in the crowd).

    My parents have a low budget Cable TV deal, which include a sport pack-age. A lot of cricket is shown, but it seems this might only be watched by some old blind men and their visiting sons…

    South African politics will be facing a very crucial few weeks that could have very severe impact on the economy, and the value of the Rand. What will be the future for SA cricket, will need to be seen.

    PS – I am catching up with the blog as I was travelling intensively the last weeks. This does remain the Nr. 1 address to read what is happening in cricket. Wonderful work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus April 2, 2017 / 7:37 pm

      Great post sir.

      Hope things worked out over there. Sounds like a tough old time and thanks for the nice words at the end. I could really wish 2017, Donald Trump, the US healthcare system, Virgin Atlantic, and a number of other matters further.

      I recall watching a couple of state games in Australia that were lightly attended despite some high quality cricket. It’s the way of the world. Remember when sport was something to enjoy without really worrying about legacy, bottom line, context, future-proofing etc. Football’s most radical change was three points for a win. Rugby was three points for a try, I think, when I started watching, it’s now 5. The game hasn’t become shorter, but other versions are tried and some stick as alternatives to the main course.

      Our generation will end the greatest sporting test, a tradition like few others, just to satisfy what they perceive the next generation want. As you have shown, 50 over finals are now not bothered with, but it is never, NEVER, the fault of those who messed about with competitions so much that the sporting public think “if the governing body don’t give a stuff, why should I?”.

      Hope to hear more from you as the summer continues.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark April 2, 2017 / 6:53 pm

      I don’t know why they have this fetish about filling a 60,000 stadium. Sure, they can do it at the start. Huge hype, and mass advertising, and people do like an event. The chance to claim they were there at the start. But can you do it week in week out? And where else outside London are you going to get these type of crowds? Unless we are going to have 20/20 played at Old Trafford or some matches indoors at the NEC?

      Like

      • SimonH April 2, 2017 / 7:19 pm

        They seem utterly hypnotised by the 80k crowd that attended the Melbourne BBL derby.

        Another reason – not the only one, or the main one, but a factor mentioned in one recent account I read (probably Hoult or Dobell) – is that the Olympic Stadium story was a way of exerting leverage over Surrey.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus April 2, 2017 / 7:27 pm

          Common sense suggests that if you are going to have a T20 competition in late July and early August, the current tenants of the Olympic Stadium and putative controllers of what goes on there, aren’t going to allow drop in pitches in the middle of a football pitch at the start of the season. At least they could have mentioned Wembley who don’t seem to care about their surface that much.

          Like

    • LordCanisLupus April 2, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      I got blocked by Wilde for less. In fact, I have no idea why Simon Wilde blocked me!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s