In The Year 2028

It is 2028. English cricket is in turmoil. There’s a new report out that says after the 2029 Ashes, England will play any test cricket in May and June, including future Ashes series, and all other test series will cease. India has decided to extend the IPL into a six month competition, with 20 teams, playing each other home and away ending during the Northern Hemisphere summer, and at the risk of the test matches being played by effective 2nd XIs (or 3rd XIs in the case of the West Indies) it has been decided to cease playing test matches. The unspoken word is that key international players like Morgan Owen and Peter Kevinson are about to announce they will playing for the Ranchi Rubber Factory and Ahmedabad Reliance respectively instead of the 2029 Ashes, despite averaging well over 40 in the tests they’ve played.

Meanwhile the eight owners of the “franchises” (the teams were sold by the ECB to raise money after the disastrous 2026 summer, when England held home tests against Sri Lanka and South Africa without the visitors’ top players and crowds and TV audiences tanked) have joined together to announce, a la Premier League 1992, that they were breaking away from the ECB and forming their own English T20 Premier League company to run and administer their competition. Their first announcement after this would be to announce that two new teams would be added to the competition. Liverpool would get a new team, to create a rivalry with Manchester, and a third team would be put into London as the Olympic Stadium had been made available after West Ham had moved out to move back into a proper football ground. Given Lord’s and the Oval had sold out regularly, once the pesky Blast had been dispensed with in the 2022 Harrison Review, it made commercial sense to stick a team there, rather than the competing bids of Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin.

As a result of the breakaway, the eight current franchise owners announced that players would not be released for international or county cricket, and that given they were paying these players vast sums of money to pay T20, they would devote their careers to that format. Emboldened by the competition filling stadia throughout the land, the owners knew they held the whip hand. The ECB banned all T20 players from playing international cricket. The players shrugged. Kevinson’s contract with the Southampton Stars, the Ahmedabad Reliance and Melbourne Stars more than covered his needs without playing exhausting test cricket.

The franchise owners negotiated their own TV contract, with Sky taking 90% of the fixtures, and ITV4 having the rest. They also set to capture the internet interest by setting up their own ET20 website where cricket fans could pay £100 for the year to watch every game on streaming video. With all TVs getting their signal via the web, this was seen as more important than selling to a media company. The owners realised that not only could they contract out the technical side to one of the burgeoning private production companies, but it also got to keep all the subscription and advertising revenue for itself. Some people pointed out that MLB had been doing that for 15 or so years prior to the formation of the new T20 league in 2020, but now someone with a clue was in charge, the sport might get into the 2010s in terms of media coverage.

The sport had never had a more visible product, but traditionalists were left in the cold. Having seen the county championship abandoned in 2025 through lack of interest and quality, as many of the better players got minor IPL contracts in the expanded 20 team league, the only route into test matches was to shine in one of the T20 competitions. While Morgan Owen and Peter Kevinson had made sparkling returns, Roy Jason, a perennial scorer for the Kerala Kangaroos in the IPL, and for the South of the River Lagers in the ET20, had flopped in the last tour of South Africa. Graeme Cygnet, a promising young spinner for the Sherwood Foresters in the ET20 and the Canberra Crybabies in the 10 team Big Bash, found that bowling flat darts wasn’t a way to get top players out in tests, and we bemoaned the dearth of English spinners as Rashi Adil had retired the year before.

One problem loomed on the horizon for the ET20, and that was India’s announcement to have another league in the winter months now Test cricket had been shelved. In doing so they would insist that all players contracted to their teams would be to them only. World superstar Kooli Tendravid, a magician in all forms of the game, announced he would be the exclusive preserve of the Mumbai Billionaires, and immediately the ET20 team that had benefited from the relaxing of the Indian restrictions in 2024, the Birmingham Bears, went to the wall. Head of the ICC, Tom Harrison, said from the rented offices in the IPL HQ, that change was necessary to futureproof the game in India, and that the obsessive fanbase created in England needed to adjust to the new world. The following day Morgan Owen announced that he would be signing an all year contract for Ranchi and his putative ET20 team (he rarely played for them), the Marylebone Cricket Club Fancy Dress Party, would no longer be able to play him.

The ICC were left to fill the one event allowed per year in the timeslot assigned. The World T20 would be shoehorned in to the programme in September and October and would be played only in India. It is an annual tournament, with 6 teams representing England, India, Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the winners of a qualification tournament between everyone else, played during the IPL and ET20. Each team played each other twice, before a Semi-Final and Final. Three time winners West Indies had dissolved as an international federation, but Barbados did squeak in as the 8th best qualifier for the straight knock-out qualifying tournament. Their top players, Brathwaite Carlos, Brathwaite Craig and bowler Tino Mediocre, were all playing in the IPL and ET20, earning £500k and more each. When Barbados demanded they play for them for a match fee of $50, they were branded mercenaries for turning it down and banned for life by Cameron David, the head of the Barbados Cricket Association.

Wisden, henceforth known as the Bible of T20 cricket, has shortened to 100 pages and is an online resource only. The real bible has become CricViz, with the stats obsessed franchises utilising the data for the annual draft for new international players. Cricket blogs either looked back in joy at the exploits of Alastair Cook, laughed at the inefficiency of Brian Lara’s backlift, or went to town on Morgan Owen’s Fielder Utilisation Coverage ratio. Paul Newman still maintained Kevin Pietersen should have been sacked, George Dobell had been made patron of the Chris Woakes Charitable Foundation and Derek Pringle and Dmitri Old had a bar fight with their zimmer frames after a chance meeting at the ET20 exhibition at the Olympic Stadium. Mike Selvey and Giles Clarke, seeing what had become of the game, had driven off like Thelma and Louise, pursued by angry obsessives, bilious inadequates and the quaint social media zealots who still used Twitter.

In a sad reflection of the state of the modern game, Alastair Cook, aged 43, scored 205 not out for Essex against Sussex in the successor to the County Championship, the Southern League. He took the attack to the assortment of 30+ and under 20s left playing second tier cricket. When asked why he was still playing, Cook said “you know why? Because I love playing cricket, and batting for more than an hour”. The audience laughed at him. “I once got a century in T20, you know” he added. “That didn’t count” said one media pundit. “It happened before the year 2020. Cricket didn’t exist before then”. That media pundit had ascended to #17 in the cricket hotlist. Below the ten franchise owners, the head of the ET20, a couple of player agents, the MCC (who owned a franchise, a ground and still had a 200000 waiting list), media personality Ben Stokes and head of the IPL, Ravi Jadeja. Simon Hughes had come a long way.

OK. It is a bit hit and miss, and I did it in one take. Some of it might be nonsense. But you’ll be fooling yourself if you don’t think some of it will come true. Like if the competition is a success it will be flogged to owners for cash. That’s how we do things here. Add your own ridiculous thoughts to the comments.


46 thoughts on “In The Year 2028

  1. yahooovercowcorner Apr 2, 2017 / 11:59 am

    A quality, hilarious read. I particularly enjoyed the bit about cricket not existing before 2020, similar to how football in England apparently didnt exist before 1992.


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 2, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      Welcome yahooovercowcorner. Thanks for the comment. As you had to be cleared, it’s probably your first here?

      I made that comparison very deliberately. Nothing existed before 1992. Nothing. Football never existed, instead it was years and years of fighting with a football match supposedly breaking out. I still remind any Man Utd fan that in 1988-9 my team finished above their team, while Sir Alex was their manager.

      I usually laugh at my own gags (someone has to) but I wasn’t laughing through this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yahooovercowcorner Apr 2, 2017 / 1:16 pm

        Not my first, have been on here since late last year. When someone comments on my stuff it has to be cleared for some reason.

        Anyhow, yes from an overall point of view it isnt funny but the points you made did make me smile.


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 2, 2017 / 1:20 pm

          This one didn’t!!! But wordpress and comments have been very odd recently.


  2. Mark Apr 2, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Michael Vaughn, Mike Selvey, and 39, speaking form their tax free Tracey island homes, where they now reside had no regrets for their support for selling off English cricket.

    “It had to be done, the game was dying on its arse, we had the vision, the inside knowledge, and yes we have done very well” said 39, speaking from his Ferrari shaped swimming pool. 39 didn’t make any money directly from the carve up of English cricket, but from some rather dubious monopoly side deals. The new owners of English cricket decided that only the right sort of people should be writing about cricket. The cricketer magazine was given the only contract to comment on the game. And in a genius deal with May Teresa the magazine had to have 1000 copies distributed to every school in England and Wales. 39 used this privileged position to promote his book on how to bat. Almost in despair people bought the book just so he would go away. As a result the book became more popular than the Harry Potter franchise (which incidentally had now acquired the new 20/20 Glasgow Harry Potter Wizzard franchise) and 39 replaced JK Rowling on the rich list.

    Mike Selvey had used the changes to set himself up as a cricket security expert with Olie Holt. The venture had been highly successful, although some were quite churlish in saying their company seemed to win every contract going. Despite this the two had become very rich. “Money doesn’t buy you happiness” said a morose sounding Selvey speaking form his Island home. “I still miss the old days propping up bars with my old mates.”

    Michael Vaughn had used the changes to become the biggest agent in the world. In another extraordinary inside deal all players who wanted to play for the new “product” had to register with Vaughn’s Shinny toy agency. Vaughn was unavailable for comment (which was unusual ) but a spokesman said “Michael was away currently looking at lawn mower racing.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dannycricket Apr 2, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    In all seriousness, English cricket could be in a terrible state by 2028. At the current rate of decline, the average number of viewers for the 2027 Ashes in England would be around 180,000. It could be near this point that Sky and BT stop bidding for international cricket rights, and FTA TV (assuming it still exists) won’t see it as popular enough to bother showing. Certainly they wouldn’t pay as much, leaving the ECB and the current teams relying on the new T20 league to finance the rest of the game.

    So if the T20 league is a success, there’s every chance that it could be sold off to finance the counties and the ECB. If they didn’t, a Kerry Packer-type figure would see a massive opportunity in a T20 league which gave its money to its owners rather than subsidising an outdated sport.

    Alternatively, if the T20 league fails then English cricket collapses under its own debts. Cricket becomes a semi-professional sport in England played mostly by the wealthy who can afford to play for next-to-nothing.

    Or maybe I’m completely wrong, and the ECB will become great at marketing the game and everything will be great.


  4. Mark Apr 2, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Well,I won’t be at watching any of it. At the ground or on TV. I have never watched an entire IPL game on TV . What I have seen is tacky and very unfulfilling. If that is what the public wants then their welcome to it. Iam afraid cricket is not for me anymore if it’s just dumbed down hit and giggle.

    But then I don’t eat in McDonalds or drink coffee in Strarbucks. And they sell millions, so what do I know? Increasingly the good things in life have to be destroyed and replaced with plastic tat. That’s all that makes money apparently.

    Ba humbug!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. SimonH Apr 2, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    1) All young players have to go through a programme run by Andy Flower called Ultra MK. They go in as apparently normal people and come out looking strangely glassy-eyed, praising the ECB and mangling their syntax.
    2) Richard Daveson announces that cyborgs will now be allowed to play cricket. “Actually we’ve been doing this for some time”, Daveson said. “We just thought we’d bother to announce it now. We’re also looking into whether players can be cloned so they can playing two places at once. Obviously, this is the only way forward in managing the demanding schedules”.
    3) Cricket is declared illegal north of Nottingham.
    4) There are rumours of some sort of malfeasance in the Wantage Road luxury flats’ development. However nobody can quite get to the bottom of what went on.
    5) Lord’s is re-located to the Cayman Islands.
    6) Harry Tomson announces that 20-overs is really far too long for people with busy 2030s’ lifestyles. A new five-over competition will be introduced with one-ball being shown on FTA TV.
    7) Andy Bull writes a warmly nostalgic ‘The Spin’ article on Edmond Foppingham-Smythe who played once for the Gentlemen versus the Players in 1886. Ed Smith re-publishes something he wrote before on Roger Federer.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark Apr 2, 2017 / 5:10 pm

      From Vicks piece…….”In all there will be seven Tests, with three against the West Indies after the South Africa series, in just over two months, followed by the mandatory ODI series at the tail end of the season. The last game is a floodlit match at the Ageas Bowl on 29 September, a fixture that was probably not conceived by any doughty soul who has actually been huddled inside anoraks and blankets out in the windswept stands of the Hampshire countryside at 9pm. But it may make for good television.”

      “The lights will also be beaming out in Birmingham in August for the first floodlit Test match in this country – against West Indies.”

      “It is important to remember that early in the season matches now start on Fridays, not Wednesdays. Later in the summer they revert to Tuesdays – or Mondays. They like to keep you on your toes. Also, to save wasting time in the week of 26 June it may be handy to note that there will be a round of floodlit Championship matches starting at 2pm and finishing at 9pm. To call these games “floodlit” may be disingenuous.”

      What a dogs breakfast. It almost amounts to “let’s just try everything, and hope for the best!” So No identity crises here.


  6. Mark Apr 2, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    By England’s conservative standards Jimmy is sounding positively militant …..

    “Anderson was not even spoken to after Alastair Cook vacated the England job. That, at any rate, is how it still seems to the player, notwithstanding his absolute loyalty to Cook’s chosen successor, Joe Root.”

    “I don’t know if I’d have taken the captaincy but it would have been nice to have been considered for it,” he said…………..”But most of the fast bowling captains I’ve known have been pretty successful and I don’t know why it is that more fast bowlers aren’t given the opportunity to do it. I’m all for bowlers being captains.”

    Perhaps you went to the wrong type of school Jimmy. I always thought that at the height of the TINA insanity in 2014 Jimmy would have been a good choice to replace Cook. I bet he would have beaten Sri Lanka.


    • oreston Apr 3, 2017 / 12:38 am

      Maybe you could’ve made a case for Jimmy in 2014 (although he wouldn’t have been my first choice) but surely he’s too close to end of his international career now? As a 34 yr. old seam bowler (who’ll turn 35 during the South Africa series) he’ll have enough to do just to remain effective and stay fit for the next couple of years (possibly less than that) without the burden of captaincy. He should realise that, so perhaps his comments are more about frustration at not being given the chance earlier on.

      “…most of the fast bowling captains I’ve known have been pretty successful…” Perhaps for other countries, or in First Class cricket, but I can’t think of very many who have led England. Of course he’s right that they are very rarely given the chance. Was Willis the last one? (I’m not counting all rounders like Freddie.) Admittedly, Willis did become captain at a similar age.


      • Mark Apr 3, 2017 / 8:14 am

        They always claim that bowlers can’t do it because they have to concentrate on their bowling, and then go off to fine leg for a rest so they are out of the action. But I think the real reason is most fast bowlers tend to be working class lads who didn’t go to the right schools and are not going to go on to be barristers and accountants. I have always believed it is a snobby class thing.

        You can’t tell me that all bowlers are not tacticaly good. Many of them have a real feel for the game. Also you remove the endless problem of the batsman captain who everyone worries will lose his form when he gets made captain. Why not have 6 batsman who don’t have to worry about captaincy and just think about their batting?

        I have nothing against Joe Root, but you can’t tell me he has losts of captaincy experience. He doesn’t. Yet he is automatically promoted to the role. And then we will hear the usual lines about him growing into the captaincy. They say this with every batsman captain. Bowlers are never allowed to grow into the role. I agree that Jimmy is passed it now at 34 for the captaincy going forward. But they wouldn’t have considered giving him the job at 25 or 30. So the age thing is a red herring.

        Freddie was not a great captain but he was not just a bowler. He was also a good batsman. The all rounder in the team. Has to bowl and bat. Adding the captaincy to all that is too much. Botham failed in that role too.


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 3, 2017 / 8:43 am

          Maybe Jimmy was overlooked because as a captain you can’t eff and jeff after every misfield, and as he was also part of the bowling clique behind three bullying accusations not sure how that works for team unity.

          Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Apr 3, 2017 / 9:13 am

        Although I’m not claiming he was a very good captain, Willis’s record (W/L of 1.4) is surprisingly decent and it’s considerably better than, for example, Alastair Cook’s.

        Willis lead an England side without the SA rebels. He won home series against Pakistan, India and NZ teams that England would lose against at home next time they played them. The 2-1 defeat in Australia looks better now than it was given credit for at the time. Brearley had been whitewashed the series before in Australia and we know what’s happened recently. Willis did manage to avoid captaining against West Indies but otherwise his record stacks up pretty well.

        Is there anything in public record about him and the SA rebel tour? I can’t recall reading anything about him being approached. One would think, as England’s main pace bowler, he would have been a target.


      • man in a barrel Apr 3, 2017 / 10:39 pm

        I think RGDW was approached but turned them down. It was odd that Packer did not snaffle him either

        Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Apr 3, 2017 / 11:41 pm

        Middlesex have form in making fast bowlers captains: GOB Allen and JJ Warr for starters


  7. glenn Apr 2, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    I know England started T20 in 2003, but wasn’t the T20 craze started by the rebel Indian cricket League? They (a tv company) started a league paying players lots of money, and people were worried that players would join this and be banned by their countries. The Indians then set up the IPL in response, and lots of cricketers choose that over some games for their countries now because of the cash.

    I enjoy the foreign T20 leagues as it has been a chance to watch some cricket on free to air tv. Although they do get a bit monotonous after a while with 8 teams and games every day for a month. The English Big Bash knock off sounds awful. Everyone seems to hate it except Simon Hughes, Michael Vaughan and some other bloke I read on a forum. And as a Kent fan I have been told to, basically, sod off.

    I would have a more teams in the T20 Blast. Then with the last 8 teams in the quarter finals have a mini tournament with each team playing each other once over a short time, and let these last 8 hire some foreign stars for this stage of the tournament. Then have a final.

    The new tv deal is strange. Normally Sky buy all the English domestic cricket for a largish fee so they can blackmail cricket fans into getting Sky sports. But how much will the ECB get per year for the new T20 league, and how much for tests, ODIs etc?


    • SimonH Apr 3, 2017 / 8:56 am

      “And as a Kent fan I have been told to, basically, sod off”.

      Glenn, as a Kent fan, can you tell us anything about Kent’s change of chairman and position on the new tournament? The outgoing chairman voted against, I don’t know what’s happening about a new one but there seems no indication that Kent will now vote against and there haven’t been any public criticisms from the club (although, unlike Sussex, there hasn’t been any public conversion to the new tournament either).


      • Mark Apr 3, 2017 / 9:46 am

        Sounds very shady to me. Chairman being removed who won’t vote for the ECB. Haven’t they appointed Rob Andrew at Sussex? A professional administrator straight from Rugby.

        Sports administrating has become a giant gravy train. Somebody or some people want this new competition very, very badly. And that makes me suspicious, because I don’t think it will have that much effect on saving county cricket and all the other grandiose things they claim.

        I suspect what they really want is the complete take over of the counties, centrally run which will lead eventually to the reduction of counties to about 8-10. Which is what many have wanted for years. This 20/20 hoopla is a Trojan horse to achieve those ends, and everything must be done to ensure it is pushed through. It’s a power grab.

        Almost daily I am hating the ECB, and English cricket a little bit more.


      • SimonH Apr 3, 2017 / 12:19 pm

        Thanks Glenn, interesting link.

        The outgoing chairman on the meeting on the new tournament:
        “We turned up expecting a debate, but we didn’t have a debate, we were lectured to. It wasn’t particularly satisfactory.”

        The only surprise is that he turned up expecting a debate.

        I’m still curious why the old chairman is standing down (remembering he’s also the one who threatened to sue the ECB over Hampshire at the end of last season) and who’s replacing him.


  8. Sri.Grins Apr 3, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Nice writeup . Not likely to eventuate. India is still fascinated by Test Cricket and doubt 10 years would bring in much change in this


    • Mark Apr 3, 2017 / 9:50 am

      I had hoped that Indias love of 20/20 would have worn off by now. I guess not.


      • Sri.Grins Apr 3, 2017 / 2:10 pm

        Why should t-20 fascination wear off? In India a genuinely new audience has come up for t-20 in addition to parts of the existing audience who also watch the ipl. This ended up in more people with interest in cricket rather than less. of course, the large population is a guarantee for test cricket for decades but the point is that the t-20 league is ideally placed in terms of calendar. It does not impact the ranji long form which starts typically in nov.

        the summer is a time when in India it is too hot to play the entire day unless you have no choice. So dedicating april-may to ipl works well. I understand fears of the long form getting devalued by the changes being proposed in england as unfortunately, england does not have this luxury of scheduling the t-20 tournament because of the weather. Alll asian countries do not have this disadvantage.

        So, while I understand english concerns, these concerns are not so relevant for India as actually what the english t-20 pr team promises ( a new expanded audience) is a reality in India


    • oreston Apr 3, 2017 / 10:49 am

      Anecdotally, I have known young Indian cricket fans who love T20 and ODIs but have no interest whatever in Test cricket. That said, with a population now well over a billion there’s probably always going to be a market of some kind for every form of the game. That’s something smaller countries can’t be so sure of.


  9. SimonH Apr 3, 2017 / 6:04 pm

    Cultists going through Cookie withdrawal symptoms need to be fed their fix:

    What Wisdom-of-Chef had to be shared with the world?

    “July seems quite a long way away.”

    Doesn’t it just?

    “You’re always under pressure, that’s what life is about. That is what playing international cricket or being a professional sportsman is. You’re there to score runs. If you don’t do that over a period of time, people will look elsewhere. That hasn’t changed and that’ll never change, whether it’s myself or Jimmy Anderson, you’ve got to play to a certain level to be picked for England”.

    Oh Lordy, here we go again. At least the almost-dropped-in-2010 myth doesn’t get trotted out as well.

    “A lot will be made of it, there always is, it’s a good story to write about but I think it’ll be absolutely fine in terms of our relationship [with Root]”.

    Protesting too much?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 4, 2017 / 10:41 am

      Cooks’s never be under pressure in his whole career as England Test captain. He was even given the choice if he wanted to stay on. ” it’s up to Alasdair” was the official position of his bosses and his team mates. The media were salivating that he should even be given the “redemption tour” down under this winter.

      The only time he was ever under pressure was when he was ODI captain, and he finally got the sack after endless failure. He didn’t react very well if I remember rightly. Lashing out at his bosses and making snarky remarks about the teams World Cup performance.


  10. SimonH Apr 3, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    Superb from Wigmore on cricket’s global popularity (it isn’t the world’s second game for sure):

    Some nuggets buried within:

    “At the 2007 cricket World Cup, Ireland received just $56,000 in prize money while Zimbabwe, who they knocked out en route to the Super Eights, received $11 million”.

    “in the current NBA season, 400 matches are being live-streamed for free on Tencent, China’s most popular internet portal…. In the 2015 World Cup, a set of zing bails and stumps cost $40,000, more than the entire ICC funding for China the previous year. There have, however, been signs the ICC is becoming more serious – that funding figure for China rose to $260,000 in 2016. Still, this is puny compared to other sports: World Rugby last year announced an agreement with a sports marketing group to invest $100 million over ten years in Chinese rugby”.

    “Basketball, baseball, football, American football, tennis and golf are all experimenting with ways to make professional matches shorter”.


    • AB Apr 3, 2017 / 10:22 pm

      Baseball is a much bigger international sport than cricket now. They had 24 well matched and enthusiastically supported teams in the recent world cup


    • Andy Apr 4, 2017 / 11:33 am

      How are zing bails/stumps $40K…. THat is ridiculous. beyond ridiculous actually.

      As well as the fact Ireland got less prize money than zimbabwe


  11. Clivejw Apr 4, 2017 / 7:07 am

    Nah, there’s no rift between “Cookie” and “Rootie.” At the end of the last tour, realizing the end of his captaincy was nigh, Cook passed on all his captaincy knowledge to the heir apparent.

    It’s not reported how they spent the rest of that tea break.


    • nonoxcol Apr 4, 2017 / 7:36 am

      I’ve had a relatively quiet winter, but found myself unable to resist making a couple of comments below that article.

      Nothing ever changes, does it?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. SimonH Apr 4, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Just the five Tweets this morning from Selvey rubbishing Simon Heffer’s DT article that MCC are betraying cricket by not opposing the new T20. Three imply he’s old-fashioned (one calls him a “dinosaur”) and two imply he should stick to politics and has no business writing anything about cricket. Selvey doesn’t Tweet that much.

    I can’t believe that I’m defending Simon Heffer, but that’s what the world’s come to.


    • Mark Apr 4, 2017 / 10:29 am

      Selvey and 39 seem to really, really hate the cricket public. If you haven’t played at the top level or you don’t parrot ECB talking points then you are not allowed to comment on the game you love. It’s the very definition of ” outside cricket.” The very name this site took. But it’s true. If you don’t suck up to the ECB like good little spaniels like 39, and, Selvey then you have no place in the sport. They can claim they just meant Pieres Morgan all they like, but they meant everyone who doesn’t bow down to their expert knowledge.

      Selvey and 39 are a good example of why BREXIT and Trump happened. A lot of people are so sick of these pompous, arrogant so called experts who are constantly wrong, and who are defending a rigged game for their own interests, and the interests of their talentless chums.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Apr 4, 2017 / 11:47 am

        I called a recent dose of Bull-crap “peak Bull”. He really has joined the lengthy cast of whom it should never be said, “it can’t get any worse”….


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 4, 2017 / 2:39 pm

          I actually didn’t recoil at this article too much. It is just getting opinions from the Big Bash experience. Some of it is a warning shot across the ECB bows.

          I am getting tired, though, of the constant drip of negativity at those who support the game and are sceptical. Scepticism is good. It should test the ECB, not be ignored.


      • SimonH Apr 5, 2017 / 8:26 am

        LCL, I think you’re being far too generous to Bull here.

        What he’s done (consciously or unconsciously) is quite clever. Firstly, in a classic lifestyle-marketing ploy, is brand everyone against the new tournament “blazers” or “traditionalists”. This has led to quite a few BTL criticisms being apologetic or muted in tone. Secondly, and most importantly, he’s reduced all objections to this new tournament to one point – not enough FTA coverage. Now, we all know this is an important issue but it is by no means the only one. Whole other issues (like the future of the NWB, the implications for the international schedule, etc) are just ignored. It’s very clear from some of the comments that many people think the rest of English cricket is going to carry on as normal with this new tournament bolted on. Bull has not drawn their attention to how wildly improbable that is. Thirdly, he’s not highlighted the presence of a viable alternative so he keeps giving the impression that this new tournament and FTA are the same issue which they aren’t. Fourthly, he’s ignoring his own track record on FTA which, if he reminded people, might call into question why anyone should take any notice of what he has to say about it.

        My guess is that opposition was so overwhelming that simply supporting the new tournament was unviable. Instead, the work is on muting opposition and managing it down to a scale that can be attacked later. If we end up with 22% of the matches on FTA and Bull comes out and says he now opposes the new tournament, I’ll admit I’m wrong. I’m not a betting man, but given Bull’s track record I can’t see that happening. What I can see is some sort of “first FTA coverage since whenever…. not perfect but we live in the real world… get behind it…. opposition are old men with thermoses etc etc” article down the road.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Clivejw Apr 4, 2017 / 3:03 pm

      Personally, I wish Simon Heffer would stick to cricket and not write about politics.


  13. AB Apr 4, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Natwest blast current has 950k attendance, with 20% increases every year and already for 2017 we have seen a 35% increase in early ticket sales.

    Its almost certain that it will go over 1m viewers this year, and past the big bash which has 1.05m to become the 2nd largest cricket league in the world. By 2019, at current growth rates, it could be closer to 1.5m. All this whilst receiving virtually zero mainstream media coverage and being constantly talked down by the ECB – they’ll be calling in fake bomb threats next to try and keep people away.

    In 2020 we’re going back to the “old” NWB in a block with those ever popular Tuesday night games – the format that barely got 400k back in 2012. Its hard to say would project figures of between 500k to 800k.

    Meanwhile, the poorly conceived “new tournament”, even with 20% FTA tv will struggle. No-one is really interested in “white rose mercenaries” vs “red rose guns-for-hire” when they’ just watched the real thing only a month ago. It will feel more like a charity match. Existing fans will stay away. To confound this, they’re playing in the summer holiday when most young families will be away on holiday. At MOST, they will pull in 400k spectators. If the weather doesn’t play ball, you could be looking at a total disaster, with half-full stands at best. Sponsorship will be pulled and several games will be quietly dropped from the tv schedules.

    So between 2019 and 2020, we will probably lose somewhere between 500k to 1m spectators. It wouldn’t surprise me if the NWB continues to stubbornly out-perform the new circus, despite receiving absolutely zero coverage and exposure (although ECB will feverishly massage the figures).

    Best case scenario, by 2025 the new format is dropped, and a rebranded 18 team blast relaunched. Within a few years, we will be back to the same situation as 2016, except the ECB will have wasted a total of well over £200m on an ill-conceived vanity project.

    Worst case scenario: ECB will claim that the existence of the blast is what is holding back their new tournament, and kill it. The new tournament will continue to attract poor crowds. Interest in cricket will deteriorate rapidly. By 2030, Sky will announce they are no longer interested in paying good money for the rights to an obscure, minority sport. Some test cricket will live on for a decade or so, but the players will once again be talented but unpaid amateurs and the games will no longer be televised.


    • Mark Apr 4, 2017 / 10:33 am

      The blast is becoming too popular, and the wrong people are not making money out of it. So we have a Mafia power grab to steal that business and centralise control. Al Capone would have understood it all too well.


  14. Andy Apr 4, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    The latest Andy Bull Spin has a interview with Big Bash folks that is revealing.

    a few good quotes;

    Everard (head of BBL) “A lot of the criticism at the time was that it was just a money grab,” he says, “where in fact it was a strategic investment to safeguard the future of the sport. That was the rationale that drove the competition. It was never just about making a profit in the short to medium term. Everything about the BBL was designed to grow and diversify our fanbase.”


    Everard again “free-to-air, was very, very important,” to the BBL because it believed “reach comes before revenue.” Migala (the BBL head marketing guy) agrees: “The objective with the BBL was to really open up cricket to the next generation of Australians.

    Can anyone raise the argument that the ECB are following the same route with their offer of eight games FTA…….

    If the ECB were serious they would allow sky to keep teh blast and push “Blast 2, the revenge” to full FTA.

    I ssupect they will be looking to sky to in effect bail out the competition


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