We’re hot-desking in the office at the moment, which means as a relatively late starter I have all the fun of the fair in securing a desk. On Wednesday I sat next to a cricket supporter. Not a die-hard by any stretch of the imagination, but someone, ideally, who should be following the game. As Eoin Morgan completed his hundred, and Moeen Ali was attacking the Proteas, I turned to him and said “Morgan’s got another ton for us”. He looked at me in a facade of confusion. “What are you talking about?”.
He had absolutely no idea England were playing an ODI against the World’s Number One team. They say test cricket lacks “context” but this series is being played in advance of a major tournament as some form of glorified warm-up. England aren’t messing about with anyone at this time, and I am no doubting that their intensity is necessary, but this is a series with preparation in mind. England won’t, and can’t, make many changes in the next week and nor will South Africa. England are getting decent reps from the pundits, but there’s still this nagging doubt that the batting will collapse into a heap, or their bowling won’t staunch the runs. We might have a lot better prospects than the “puncher’s chance” of 2015, but it’s important not to peak too early.
But back to the visibility of this series. We know on BOC that ODI doesn’t FYB. But it is an important part of the ECB’s Mission Statement, and Strauss has a lot riding on this Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup. It’s certainly an impressive trick of the light to be able to charge £89 for Compton Upper tickets on Monday for what is a preparation event, but should we be worried that floating cricket fans had no clue this series was on? In a slightly related development, BBC were announced as the Champions Trophy highlights channel, which will improve some visibility, but not a knockout one. The game is drowning in ignorance, and it is doubtful a long run in the Champions Trophy is going to halt that.
One sage is not convinced the BBC will help the visibility at all…
You have to laugh. On so many levels.
Tomorrow sees the second ODI at Castle Greyskull, the international venue in England that is about as inaccessible as could be. That it’s a Bransgrove hosted event is also particularly lovely. There’s not a lot of love on here for him. The game itself is important only to see if England can maintain the momentum. It’s been a very high scoring ground in the past for ODIs and if the threatened storms don’t materialise, it should be tomorrow too. Jason Roy could do with a hit, Mark Wood needs miles under the clock, and Jos also needs to show a little form. But these are minor quibbles. England are playing an ODI on FA Cup Final day. On Rugby Union Premiership Final Day. The PGA Championship is on at Wentworth. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend.
Will anyone notice another ODI with this talented exciting team? Another one of my colleagues is off to the Sponsor Bowl tomorrow. So I suppose people are. But enough of them?
You tell me.
Jeez…. £89 a ticket for a match that could by Monday be meaningless. And if you put this series in the context of the coming CT….it is meaningless. What is depressing is they obviously think they can sell them at that price. But if your model is not to grow the game, but loot the very few who still bother with this sport then this is the model to follow. No wonder your work mate had no idea the match was on. The ECB have managed to turn International matches into the same visibility as county games.
As to Selvey and his bitterness at the BBC? This is amusing to me. He has become a Murdoch man now, with his talk sport gigs and you can bet he will be back on Cricket writers on TV even though he is no longer a writer for a major newspaper.
Speaking of the cricket journos, did you see that ECB hand out about ECB media accredited passes? Listed were a certain number dos and donts. One of them being that what goes on, and is said in the press box must remain secret. Oh the irony of an industry that lives on leaks, and innuendo and passing on gossip does not want the same rules to aply to themselves. If I was the ECB I wouldn’t worry too much. The people with these ‘ golden’ passes are so up themselves they would never leak against each other anyway.
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Anyone watching the end here? 2 overs left as I type and 20 runs needed. Morris has slogged SA into a position where they might well win and now Miller hits a 6. 14 from 11 now. For all the talk of England’s batting firepower, they are some way from being the best bowling attack.
I’m watching PK. Been an eye-opener.
A bit worried about Jason Roy for one. He’s had a fabulous 2 years or so but the last few games he’s been poor. I hope he comes alive during the main tournament.
Lovely bouncer, last but 1 ball. 4 needed from the last ball. Would be brilliant from Wood if he stops them. He does. Brilliant last over.
“selvecricket” has invaded County Cricket Live!, and is being schmoozed by the other regulars (with exceptions).
I know I’m not going to get a lot of sympathy, but feel my pain.