Hello from Dmitri World.
I’m writing this before the end of the Australia v New Zealand fixture, so you’ll have to forgive me for a lack of match report. The New Zealanders got off to a good start, but have started to encounter turbulence as the innings draws to a close. I’ll update the post at the end when I get to upload it onto the blog itself.
So the news thus far is that England’s comfortable win over Bangladesh has come with a casualty. The thought of Chris Woakes being bemoaned as a huge loss two years ago would be greeted with almost deafening laughter (as long as you were out of George Dobell’s earshot), but now the end of his ICC Trophy has been greeted with due solemnity and deference. I doubt we could have got more downbeat if we were a Barca fan and found out Lionel Messi was out for the year. In a stunning, and I genuinely mean stunning, piece of media groupthink, there are calls for the recall of Stuart Broad from the press-pack and the assorted hangers-on. I’ve seen ships that have sailed out of port, but this one has got half way around the globe! Think of Stuart Broad’s memorable white ball cricket moments. The first one that comes to mind was the shite he served up in the opening game of the 2009 World T20 against the might and fury of the Netherlands. Sure, don’t judge a book by one page, however memorable, but that you would almost unanimously come to the Stuart Broad conclusion smacks of collusion. How about Chris Jordan? Toby Roland-Jones? ODIs are a younger man’s game, and Stuart Broad needs to be kept back for tests. Don’t be silly. What next? A batting injury and call for Kevin Pietersen? (tee hee).
I Owe You Nothing
The other hot button topic is BBC’s decision to show the highlights at 11:20pm. I am a bit of a BBC loyalist, I’m afraid, because the options, have been shown to be far, far worse, and certainly for a sports fan like me. The BBC were dumped in 1999 because Channel 4 outbid them and threw a few more quid at the production values. The decision to dump the BBC was greeted with outrage by the stuffed shirts then. There was even a flirtation with TalkSport taking the radio coverage away from TMS, as they certainly did when they were free to bid for the overseas rights. The BBC cricket coverage, and sports team in general, must have been pretty cheesed off over the years as their coverage, in an analogue era, is compared to the digital coverage of this era, and cheap shots at local news interruptions, children’s programmes, and horse racing. The Beeb did cover highlights from the 2006-7 Ashes and the 2007 World Cup, but then haven’t been really on the radar since. ITV had the 2010-11 Ashes highlights package. I can’t actually remember if anyone had them for the 2013-14 series, but then I want to forget that clusterflick as much as possible.
That the BBC are giving any cricket free-to-air coverage, whatever that means in this day and age, is a bonus. At short notice they are not going to cast aside firm programming on the peak-viewing side of the news shows on BBC1 and BBC 2, so it is inevitable they will be on late at night. As many have pointed out, the conditions for covering this competition mean the programme can’t start before the end of the first highlight show on Sky anyway. What do cricket fans expect? As for BBC 4, its remit is as follows:
BBC Four’s primary role is to reflect a range of UK and international arts, music and culture. It should provide an ambitious range of innovative, high quality programming that is intellectually and culturally enriching, taking an expert and in-depth approach to a wide range of subjects.
Sport is noticeable by its absence. Yes, it has been used for extended Olympics coverage, or Euro/World Cup football overspill, but those events are planned years in advance. Here the BBC had a week. The BBC can’t just do what it wants. If it gets support or popular, as BBC 3 did, then it is threatened with closure. It is playing in a hostile market, and yet still people act like it owes the cricket public something. Basically, if I’d been told to eff off, had my coverage ridiculed, been totally ignored, failed with other highlight packages, had an extremely limited budget, and so on, I’d not be helping out a sport that had not stood by me. Watching various media numpties jump on their bandwagon has been as predictable as it has been sad. As they have presided over a sport disappearing from the public eye, they then do everything to disparage an FTA provider when they actually decide to show games because it “isn’t good enough”. Who the hell decided to hide the sport away in the first place?
Also. Can’t we record programmes any more and watch them when we want? When Selvey keeps telling us that we have a different digital viewing experience these days, why are you so worried about 11:20 highlights? Also, might have noticed there’s an election on? Newsnight on BBC2 isn’t going to cut short its programme at this time for an obscure, second rate, international competition.
I think Sean and I might disagree on this, but I’m just about fed up with the cricket press expecting the BBC to come to the rescue for its ailing, diminishing, hidden away sport, when the Beeb has been treated with nothing but contempt, the government has closed down avenues to put it on a more prominent footing if it wanted to (to appease the Pay TV masters) and the former head of the governing body, often through his own Sean Selfey Spicer, makes it clear what he thinks of the need to go back. Which commercial entity would clear any of its decks for a 50 over game between Sri Lanka and South Africa? Get real.
Nicholas’s comments below the previous post are well worth a read too!
Cricket Boots not Cricket Suits
The publication of the ECB’s latest financial statements appeared to have passed our fun loving press chappies (and chapesses) by. Which I found strange given the headline pre-tax loss of £37m. That’s quite an eye-opening figure which is explained away, as always, by the prevailing Chairman as part and parcel of the four year cycle of cricket life. In many cases there are points to be made that a loss that makes up north of 25% of your annual turnover isn’t “that bad”. £24 million of that appears to have been the “encouragement money” to County Chairman to give in on the T20 competition. Take that out, and a £13m loss looks more palatable when you consider the revenue-weak nature of our opponents last year. The funny thing is, though, that the Ashes really aren’t that much of a money-spinner. Without 2014 and the visit of India, that infamous reserve pot (which has been halved this year) would be in serious, serious strife. There certainly wouldn’t have been any money to counties. Once again, our dependence on India is stark. It’s one of the key three strategic risks mentioned in the opening remarks (not explicitly, but under the guise of breakdown in relations with overseas cricket governing bodies – I’m pretty sure they aren’t referring with difficulties with Peter Chingoka or David Cameron there).
Other things of note is that one Director is being paid £600k for his work at the ECB. It appears to be a substantial increase on the previous year. Those of you thinking that Tom Harrison deserves it, form an orderly queue. No pushing in.
There’s the always interesting, and I’ve not quite figured out what it is, implied conflict of interest over Graves and a guarantee of a loan from / to Yorkshire. It expires in 2019. Nothing to see here.
There’s been a considerable increase in the number of development staff on the books. In itself that’s nothing to worry about, but in a year when you’ve spunked half your reserves up the wall you might think of waiting until you actually have your pot of gold before spending it.
These are the highlights, and they show how desperate the ECB is for a successful T20 tournament. Forget all the twaddle about growing the game, the success would diminish the importance on relying upon Indian summer visits to keep our game afloat. Let us not pretend that we would somehow survive an Indian administration apocalypse, because we are very dependent on them to play us. Very dependent. I await our fearless scribes and their take on these figures. You can also see my Tweets on the subject.
Oh Yes! Cricket
So to tomorrow’s game – at last. The South Africans must start favourites, as Sri Lanka appear to lack star power. I know Sean is going to the game, so hopefully he can provide some pearls of wisdom during and after the action. If you have any comments on the match, or on the above, fire away below, and if you get the chance, enjoy the game on the TV. Who you got for the Derby?
Plus, Kane Williamson scored a ton, the Aussies could have been in strife, and thus far I’ve not seen a ball bowled on Sky or BBC and not been able to tune into TalkSport. And no, not even Guerilla Cricket.
Enjoy your weekend, all.
Thanks for an excellent piece.
Auntie deserves our thanks for always coming up trumps. Regardless of how one feels about TMS (and I’m generally not a fan, of which more later) it has been unceasing in its devotion to the sport. The beeb also provided highlights during the 2011 WC, which I watched endlessly at the time, not having a Sky Sports subscription.
The financials of putting on sporting events can drive anyone to insanity (unless you have a Russian or Qatari sugar-daddy) and it’s unsurprising that the ECB is having troubles, far too many of which nevertheless are of its own making.
On a lighter note, if anyone has time tomorrow, I’m making my 2nd appearance on Guerilla Cricket. Sadly it’s my only commentary stint during the Champions Trophy as apparently I have to pay bills and buy petrol.
Hope you guys all have a good weekend.
Very good Dimitri considering you have had other issues to focus on lately. And once again the MSM ignores the company accounts.
For me, I’m surprised the BBC didn’t tell them to stick it, but they may have wanted to try to hold onto TMS coverage in the future so have to show willing. I think that both BBC and ITV got fed up with boxing many years ago. They would show fighters on the way up (quite often total miss matches, but building up the fighters name recognition) then, when the big world championship came along the boxer would up sticks to pay per view. What was the point of doing all the heavy lifting, and then watch your man go off for the pay day. So they said sod it, we won’t bother.
The group think of the cricket media is fascinating to watch. There is hardly any divergence of thought from all our favourates. They march, lemming like over the cliff on almost every issue. Isn’t it funny how they all think the same? Stuart Broad? Do they have to pull a name out of a hat and then all nod sagely and say……”yup, he’s the one.” It’s almost as if they are terrified of thinking for themselves. No wonder the ECB had to issue guidelines on how what was said in the ECB box must stay in the box. Can’t have the punters seeing how the sausages are made. It might put them off buying this drivel.
The forecast is not looking great for next week. It varies across the country, and the UK weather is an Olympic gold medal champion at laughing at humans who try to organise events. We had a pretty dry May and now it might decide to to piss down in June.
Talk Sport, which is Murdoch funded seems to be setting its sights firmly on radio sport now. Slowly the Beeb will lose all radio live action. The price will go up, and the Beeb can’t compete with News International. So even that enjoyment of sport without adverts will disappear as we have to listen to adverts for Dickhead Bathrooms or bullshit double glazing outfits selling their wares. Welcome to the brave new world. I’m not sure cricket really belongs there, but everything has to pay its own way these days. Unless you are a Member of Parliament, with salaries and expense accounts and gold plated pensions, and foreign trips paid by the taxpayer. But I’m a dinosaur, and the world is now run by thrusting Johnny come latelys like 39.
Eminent for the Derby. Try and find a bookie paying four places as it’s quite wide open.
That Graves item is simply amazing. Can you imagine the furore if someone who was chairman of Sainsbury became chairman of RBS and guaranteed that RBS will make agreed payments to his former company. As far as I am aware, Yorkshire sold perimeter advertising rights to the ECB for the period 2011-2019, and Graves in his new capacity is guaranteeing that ECB will pay up. If there are similar rights’ arrangements with other clubs, which are not guaranteed by Graves, then this starts to look a bit……. Dodgy?
Which only goes to make The ECBs treatment of Durham loathsome in its hypocrisy.
I guess Durham didn’t have enough friends in high place who could issue a loan for them. Perhaps they should have gone to Tescos?
On second thoughts, it is probably illegal. But I imagine the auditors have a professional opinion to back them up
“Success [of the new T20] would diminish the importance on relying upon Indian summer visits to keep our game afloat. Let us not pretend that we would somehow survive an Indian administration apocalypse, because we are very dependent on them to play us. Very dependent”.
Good job our man at the ICC hasn’t just massively pissed off the BCCI then! Ambushing someone when they’re down is storing up trouble further down the road. Clarke hasn’t got the windfall from his new tournament or from his anticipated TV bidding war in the bag yet. Suppose these new fans don’t materialise? Suppose this TV bidding war doesn’t happen? It’s an extremely risky strategy.
I hope someone who still has a Guardian presence (I haven’t – I scrapped it a few weeks back) will post some of this info about the accounts on England threads and shame them about their non-coverage.
The absence of comment from the MSM on the ECB finances is very striking given just how much attention was paid to the vote re all things 2020. The big payout to the counties just doesn’t fit the narrative of the turkeys voting for Christmas critics and tells a tale about just how much had to be spent in order for there to be acceptance of the management vision of things.
The last time such a high payout was made to the counties was 1997 (coincidentally 56% of revenues that year as well), since when the pendulum has swung and swung towards the centre, just maybe this is a year when it starts swinging back.
Sri Lanka 3 hours and 10 minutes to bowl 40 overs, after they won the toss and chose to field. AT this rate (and AB de Villiers can also be notiously slow, if the game goes down the wire), the game might be done and dusted by 9 PM.
How this is fair on Amla (who had to be standing for 3.5 hours straight) is beyond me. How this is fair to the paying public is beyond me.
And how this is fair on the BBC, who can now only broadcast the highlights at some indeterminate point in time in 2087 is beyond me.
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Isn’t there a cut off point where they have to bowl their overs by? With penalty runs for offending teams?
As far as I know: no.
The only thing that happens is that players get fined, and captains get double the fine (in terms of match fees), and may accumulate a penalty point or two (which is easily rendered insignificant, by changing captains constantly – Sri Lanka did that to win a World T20 a few years ago).
Besides, those fines are not equal. England players would laugh out on missing a few thousand quid. For players from say Zimbabwe or Afghanistan it would be a wholly different matter. So even the ICC mandated penalties favour the haves over the have-nots.
We have a game on our hands. Parnell and Rabada have been all over the place, and Sri Lanka have raced to 68/0 after 8 overs.
Two superb bits of fielding from ABDV turned it around.
It’s only taken about 250 overs, but the tournament has its first bowled!
Good job the highlights are going out after the watershed, it might scare the chidren.
Where is the best place to buy tickets for this competition, and cricket in general? I find it a minefield. The ECB site doesn’t want to know. Test matches and domestic sure, but no champions trophy. Fine if you want to watch the lions cricket.
The ICC site is a joke, you have to create an account before they will even tell you if there are tickets available for certain matches. You can’t seem to buy from the venue unless it’s county cricket.
Nothing seems easy these days. There are sites that sell on tickets but you have no idea what the face value of a ticket originally was.
I’m just a dinosaur I guess.
Mark, try ebay. I have no inside information but people say more and more that tickets for concerts and other events that are expected to attract crowds get sold upfront to people who we must not call touts. You then get eBay auctions. Why the ticket issuers don’t do this upfront is a mystery. But I guess it ensures that the people we must not call touts carry any losses.
Thanks for that man in a barrel. Some of these so called ticket agents are nothing but legalised touts as far as I can see. Most never reveal what their booking fees, and other extras are until you go through the check out procedure.
I guess venues, and organisers are happy to hand it all over to these big corporates. Pity a politician won’t pledge to look into changing it. I’d vote for them.
Well that was a pretty pathetic effort from SL. An age to bowl their overs, and then a batting collapse to some terrible shots and run outs.
299/300 is the new black these days. But SL got nowhere near.
To be fair to Sri Lanka, there was something in the wicket. Not much though. South Africa do have a good bowling attack.
The opening spells were wayward, but other than that, South Africa bowled quite decently. 68/0 from the first 8 overs, and then 135/10 (which included 2 runouts; one of which was effected by Tahir of all people) from the next 33.3; Parnell’s first spell was 5-0-45-0; his next five overs went for 9 runs combined (and that second spell was mostly towards the lower middle order, not exactly ten and jack).
But the Sri Lanka team selection was curious to say the least. 2 parttimers, and three frontline bowlers and no other bowling option, is asking for trouble. 4 specialist wicketkeepers + 1 part-time keeper also seems a bit much. I guess that also highlights the importance of Mathews, who would also have offered an additional bowling option..
Anyway, hoping for a good Pakistan – India game tomorrow. Thus far, the most interesting game of the tournament ended without a decisive result, and the other two games have not been that great either.
Apropos of nothing, I’m loving the old books I’m reading at the moment.
At this moment Mandzukic scores an amazing goal!
Anyway, who do you think wrote this?
It sounds like something Mike Brearley would say, but I am guessing it’s Selvey?
I’ll try and write up some thoughts on the game today when I get a chanc. On the whole it was a very pleasant and jovial atmosphere at the ground, with a few mainly SA supporters, going slightly overboard in their beverage consumption in the heat.
My only slight whine was the queue to get in, which virtually stretched from the Vauxhall lane entrance to the Oval tube station, not exactly great for someone with somewhat limited mobility. I do understand the need for extra security after the events of the few weeks, but it did seem a little OTT…
I’ve had a quick search on Twitter to see if there were any highlights programmes during the last Champions Trophy (also hosted by England) on Freeview. I couldn’t find a single mention of one. The vitriol some people feel about it is therefore surprising to me. Isn’t any highlights programme better than none? Is 200,000 viewers not better than zero?
It might be worth considering other factors which might have contributed to lower ratings too. The BBC website (and ESPNcricinfo, and presumably others) had “live highlights” in their text commentaries. Put simply, short video clips of wickets, boundaries, and other moments of interest. People without Sky don’t need to wait for a television highlights show to see an amazing catch they missed, or a controversial umpiring decision. In fact, if you played all the available clips one after the other, you’d basically see everything that’s in the highlights programme, but it would be available from the moment the game ended.
There is also a fairly low awareness of the Champions Trophy by the general public, even by some casual cricket fans. International tournaments generally are the same in England, few people know that England won the World T20 in 2010, or how they did in more recent competitions. Despite the ECB’s new focus on limited overs cricket, a large portion of fans still ignore it. It is not, they think, proper cricket.
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Its a very good point about the live highlights in their text commentaries. In the Aus vs NZ match on Friday…… Aus first wicket of Warner had a clip that lasted over 2 minutes. The live event, and then detailed replay with full commentary.
Makes you wonder why any tv network would bother with highlights.
Oh god, CWOTV has Newman on. Or is it Ian Dale? Is there any difference?
Anyway, only 2 mins in and he is spinning like a top for a Stuart Broad come back. …The same Stuart Broad who used to have a coloum at …….cough, cough…… The Daily Mail.
Now they are on to the dropping of Rashid. The same Rashid they have denigrated for the last year. However, this gives them a chance to attack Morgan for his selection policy. They must be so conflicted. Who to side with Rashid or Morgan? They are going after Morgan. Telling Roy he is in for the whole tournamemt but dropping Rashid.
Oh there you go…….cricket writers bingo! It’s a bit early to take a drink but Newman is worried it may effect Rashid’s “confidence.” Only 10 mins in, and we have had the word “confidence” used.
A bit of praise for Morgan now for changing Englands ODI form round. Has to be said it was spitted through clenched teeth by Newman. He gets in the point that he was opposed to him not going to Bangladesh. Yea, like anyone gives a toss what he thinks.
Time for break……This is like pulling teeth,
Give it a decade and maybe Bull will produce a similar analysis of what went wrong in ‘The Difficult Winter’:
I know rugby isn’t everyone’s thing here – but, for an account of a demented management culture in sport, this takes some beating.
Has Dmitri found a new alter ego as “who ami” on this thread?
No. I’d do a better job than that! But fair play to them!
Progress, though. That article wouldn’t have seen the light of day under Sean Selfey Spicer.