County Cricket: Is It To Blame?

In light of England’s performances this winter, a particularly Difficult Winter some might say, it will surprise no one that people are looking for someone to blame. Whilst alcohol and team discipline have been strong contenders, it looks like county cricket will ultimately be the designated scapegoat to cover the ECB’s embarrassment.

The argument is this: County cricket is not creating world-class batsmen, fast bowlers or spin bowlers. The selectors are choosing the best players available, the coaches are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given, and therefore it isn’t the England team’s fault that they are losing.

Is It The Responsibility Of County Cricket To Develop Test Cricketers?

I don’t believe that developing players for England is a priority for county teams, nor should it be. The main focus of every county is to win their next game and ultimately to win the competition. The County Championship is a competition which has run for 127 years and winning it means a lot to the players, staff and fans.

The emergence of Test-ready players has always been a side product of the counties finding promising young cricketers to improve their own team, and then the players reaching close to their potential through training and playing in competitive domestic games. It has never been the counties’ goal.

Is It In The Counties’ Interest To Develop Test Cricketers?

There’s two aspects to this question: Does it help them win games, and does it make a profit.

It could be argued that developing Test-quality players isn’t advantageous for county teams. The current county champions are Essex, who haven’t developed a Test-quality player since Alastair Cook over a decade ago. Yorkshire have produced two world-class batsmen in Root and Bairstow and are essentially punished by having both only play in two games each this season.

So a county which develops a batsman for England gets perhaps 2 years of above-average returns from their player before their England call up, at which point they’re forced to rely on a second-string player to fill the gap. It would arguably be better for them to grow or sign a player who is marginally better than most county batsmen but not so good as to be in contention for an England spot. At least that way they are virtually guaranteed to be able to pick their first choice XI.

There’s little financial incentive to work on development either. There have been three genuinely world-class players to debut for England in the last 10 years: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes. Durham have in recent years provided a world-class allrounder to the England team, as well as their current opener and perhaps their two best fast bowlers. Rather than getting a generous stipend from the ECB for Stokes, who is possibly the lynchpin of the whole England team, they have had their Test status revoked and massive points penalties after having to accept a bailout. Yorkshire have developed two world-class players and yet they probably have the most debt of any county. Including their planned ground redevelopment, they now owe something like £40m.

Neither county is benefitting financially in any significant way from these players. It probably costs a lot of money to find talented youngsters and train them from junior cricket through to the cusp of the England team. It almost certainly makes more sense financially to simply hire journeyman cricketers from other teams, or indeed other countries like Australia and South Africa, than to grow your own.

What’s The Solution?

Firstly, I’m not entirely convinced that debutants coming into the side are necessarily of a significantly lower quality than players in the past. It is the nature of sport that players are rarely playing at their full potential when they are first picked for the national team. Instead, they typically improve by playing against a higher calibre of opposition and by being fine-tuned by the team’s coaches. The players who are on central contracts have very little to do with their respective counties once they enter the national side, and so how can domestic cricket be to blame for them not performing or becoming better cricketers? If players aren’t improving (or even regressing) whilst in the England setup, that has to be an issue of selection and coaching.

The ECB also takes a huge role in attempting to develop the most promising young players in English cricket. Through the England under-19s, Loughborough and the England Lions teams, they get their hands on most of the promising young players long before they’re in contention for the national team. Therefore, one obvious solution would be for the ECB to fix what appears to be a broken system. Andy Flower became the Technical Director Of Elite Development at the ECB in 2014 after he was fired as coach of the England Men’s team, which means that he is ultimately responsible for both the England Lions and the ECB academy at Loughborough. If he has failed to produce one “elite” player in his four years working there, surely questions have to be asked about his effectiveness.

Even if you accept the premise that county cricket needs to do more to create world-class players, it’s not immediately clear what could be changed to make that happen. I would guess that the ECB’s plan of replacing the county youth academies with their own regional youth academies will resurface, having been shelved to placate the counties before they voted in favour of the new T20 competition. This may be the dumbest idea known to man. The national academy at Loughborough has not only failed to develop an elite player in recent years (or ever, as far as I’m aware), I’ve honestly never even heard it being credited for improving a single player. Not one. And they want to take over the county academies, at least some of which do actually work.

There are some suggestions about dramatically changing the structure of county cricket which will quite simply never happen. Some people suggest that the quality of the Championship would be improved if the number of teams was reduced to eight or ten. Whilst this may be true (I personally doubt it), this would require half of the counties to essentially vote themselves out of existence so I can’t see it happening. Likewise, the competitiveness of Division 2 might be improved if it was possible to be relegated to the Minor Counties. There are some clubs which perennially sit at the bottom of the league whilst still cashing their cheques from the ECB, but again for this to occur some teams would have to vote against their own interests. They’re dumb, but I don’t think they’re quite that dumb.

There are always murmurings about the large number of foreign players in county cricket. Commenter StephenFH did some research last year which suggested that 111 players in county squads weren’t qualified to play for England, 26% of the total number. Some people say that if you got rid of these players then there would be more opportunities for English players to be selected and develop. This might be true, but if the foreign players are better than the homegrown players they are keeping out of the team then getting rid of them would also lower the overall standard of the competition. Isn’t it a good thing that English players have to earn their place in the first XI, and have to compete against the best players available when they get there?

All of which leaves the usual tinkering around the edges that happens in county cricket. Moving more games to the middle of the season, cutting the number of games, changing the points system, redistributing teams between the two divisions, minor changes to the playing conditions and so on. Basically what happens every year or two anyway. It seems unlikely that such small changes would reap big rewards for the ECB, but it will at least allow them to reassure themselves that they are doing something.

Not that it really matters. After all, we all know it’s really KP’s fault…

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41 thoughts on “County Cricket: Is It To Blame?

  1. man in a barrel January 11, 2018 / 8:58 pm

    I suspect that the number of first class counties needs to be cut. Cricket as an activity seems to grow up either in rural communities or urban/industrial conglomerations. Think Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire, Lancs, Derbyshire.

    I suspect that Northants has never fielded a team of Northants born players. Many of them were brought down from Durham before it became a fully fledged county.

    Leicestershire and Notts also used to depend on imports and rejects.

    A look at how the RFU seem to have developed a system that throws up international talent while still retaining a strong club competition and strong club identity should be on the cards. The ECB seems more interested in an FA model where England is a 3rd rate international team that hosts a “fabulous” league

    Like

    • Silk January 11, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      I would tend to agree. But I don’t see how the ECB could do it without screwing it up and destroying FC cricket in England, forever.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scrim January 12, 2018 / 2:42 pm

        South Africa did it in the mid-2000s, going from 11 provinces to 6 teams representing regions.

        (Confusingly, the 11 provinces plus a few extras still play in a second tier competition that also has first class status.)

        I don’t know what led to the regional team competition, how it was done, and if it is regarded as successful. They were producing Kallises and Pollocks (and KPs) before, now they’re producing de Kocks and Rabadas, so from the outside it is hard to know if anything was broken or if anything was fixed. Does anyone here know more?

        Like

      • Scrim January 12, 2018 / 2:42 pm

        South Africa did it in the mid-2000s, going from 11 provinces to 6 teams representing regions.

        (Confusingly, the 11 provinces plus a few extras still play in a second tier competition that also has first class status.)

        I don’t know what led to the regional team competition, how it was done, and if it is regarded as successful. They were producing Kallises and Pollocks (and KPs) before, now they’re producing de Kocks and Rabadas, so from the outside it is hard to know if anything was broken or if anything was fixed. Does anyone here know more?

        Like

    • AB January 12, 2018 / 12:01 am

      The number of counties playing professional red ball cricket is unsustainable, because domestic red ball cricket will never attract big enough crowds to cover costs. They can’t support themselves, and it won’t be long before the revenues from test cricket can’t afford to cover them either. We have to either make red ball cricket more attractive to fans, or we have to reduce the number of teams (so that the revenues from test cricket is not spread so thinly).

      Realistically, we will probably have to do both.

      However – the story in white ball cricket is completely different. England is easily a big enough market for 30, 40 maybe more. professional T20 teams if they found suitable grounds to play in.

      Somewhere like Cambridge could easily pack 5,000 people into Fenners each paying £20. If they played a decent number of home games, the sums would start to work.

      Like

  2. metatone January 11, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Some key points I’d highlight to agree with:

    a) Most young fast bowlers in CC get an extensive development “intervention” from Bluffborough. If that isn’t working (as it hasn’t) it seems wrong to look first at the counties.

    b) I think it’s reasonable to say counties are (in general) throwing up about as much Test talent as they always have. However, 2005 aside, it’s difficult to think that this has been good enough in the modern era.

    c) For batsmen in particular, it seems the balance of when players are released to counties has to change. There’s little form to be gained in the gym and (unlike bowlers) it’s hard to see CC being the workload management problem.

    Some caveats:

    a) The structure of the CC season is an issue – it’s been a perennial complaint of mine since before I arrived on BOC (so that’s prob. 5 years or more) that less and less 4 day cricket was being played in summer time. That’s not to blame “county cricket” but it does seem an issue in developing quicks and esp. spinners.

    b) Similarly, the attitude to spinning pitches (largely always on the edge of being judged sub-standard) really hasn’t helped, but it’s as much an ECB thing as a CC thing.

    Some disagreements:

    a) If counties don’t want responsibilities to the England team, they can stop taking central money. (Which is not to say central money is being appropriately distributed etc. as you highlight, but still…)

    b) I do think eventually CC will have to be restructured in a way that creates more room in the schedule. Something has to give, both in terms of players and finances. It’ll be hell to make it happen, but a crisis will come to force it sooner or later. Yorkshire and Durham finances are the pebbles before the avalanche in that regard. My guess will be a move to 3 divisions for CC will be the first halfway house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket January 12, 2018 / 7:42 am

      The problem with talking about changing the structure of county cricket is that it can’t happen without the county teams voting for it. They were dumb enough or greedy enough to do it for the T20 competition, but I can’t see it happening again in the near future. Short of a third party like Packer or the ICL coming in to force change from the outside, perhaps.

      Most of the Major counties would have to vote for any significant change, and most of their chairmen are elected by members who love the championship and hate change. Unless the counties themselves manage to alter this reality (by enlisting more T20-loving voting members, for example) then things will stay broadly as they are.

      Like

      • metatone January 12, 2018 / 8:40 am

        Then things will continue right until some counties are actually bankrupt. I’d plead with those counties (not only small ones) who have financial balancing issues to start making their own proposals for how things will change. Otherwise they’ll be doing it at the behest of the banks.

        Like

  3. Mark January 11, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    I actually think county cricket should have as one of its priorities to find England test players of the future. County cricket is not like premiership football. The crowds are not packing in to see the product. But, and it’s a big but there has to he an incentive. Central contracts killed that. Or rather what has happened to Central contracts. When they first came in we were told that the England management would now have the power to pull test players out of county cricket. In particular fast bowlers during test series. I agreed with that. The previous system was utter madness.

    However, over time that has morphed into pretty much all players being pulled out of almost the whole season of country cricket. All we hear is ……”oh he is playing fantastic in the nets.” Who cares? Nets are not competiitive cricket.

    As for young players they would be better playing for their counties and then if good enough going straight into the test team, Gower was 21 when he played for England, Botham a similar age. Now I know they were special players but they didn’t go on a 3 years indoctrination course run by Andy Flower. On the other side Hick had to wait 7 years to qualify. He was at his best aroumd 21-24 playing for his county. He was about 27/28 by the time he played for England and I think he wasn’t at his best.

    Trouble is we have to throw 20/20 into the mix. It’s the new rock and roll. County cricket is Pat Boone and Cliff Richard just before the Beatles and the Sones arrived.

    Like

  4. Adam H January 11, 2018 / 9:55 pm

    On a somewhat related note, I find it baffling why ECB don’t provide a live stream of all county cricket games with 2 fixed cameras at bowler’s ends, like Cricket Australia does. That would help increase the profile and visibility of county cricket without having to spend any real money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark January 11, 2018 / 10:06 pm

      They never have promoted it. It’s been the same for decades.

      There is so much they could try. They could try loss leaders. Give away tickets in the summer to kids. Encourage local business to promote their wares for free. Have some entertainment at lunch time, encourage picnics, all kind of stuff. Tug of war contests. I know it sound desperate but you have a fucking big empty ground. Fill it with stuff. Make it a big thing in the local community. Encourage OAP to come for a coffee morning.

      Harrison is supposed to be the great marketing man. He couldn’t sell water to a drowning man.

      Like

      • Adam H January 11, 2018 / 10:48 pm

        Right, they simply refuse to try. And why don’t the counties themselves do something about it? It’s like the counties are also happy to take ECB’s money, without doing anything to promote their own products. All in all, a pathetic situation.

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        • dannycricket January 12, 2018 / 8:24 am

          My thoughts exactly. On of the things which annoys me the most is how the county TV rights are always bundled up with the England team’s. For a start, it prevents everyone getting an accurate value of what they are worth. The ECB estimated in the current TV deal of around £70m that the T20 Blast was worth £10m, the One Day Cup £2.5m, and the Championship £0. Certainly that is probably how Sky does value them, as they show a ton of T20 games, fewer one day games and as little championship cricket as possible.

          Now I don’t think those figures are accurate. For a start, if the counties were able to allow Freeview channels to show Championship games for free then I bet Sky would pay them off just for that not to happen. In which case, the counties could also force Sky to sign a contract with a minimum number of games to be shown and more coverage with perhaps weekly highlights.

          Like

    • AB January 11, 2018 / 11:52 pm

      This is a true story – they did provide free highlights, but sky threatened to sue them unless they desisted because it infringed on their exclusive rights.

      Like

      • RufusSG January 12, 2018 / 1:51 pm

        Additionally, it’s hilarious that Sky buy up the exclusive rights for the whole County Championship and then show about 1-2 games an entire season. If you’re going to get cross at teams for trying to provide highlights to their fans, you at least have to give more coverage yourself – paid or otherwise – or there’s virtually no point buying the rights.

        Like

    • Sophie January 12, 2018 / 9:32 am

      Some of the counties have live streams on their websites these days, usually synched with the BBC commentary.

      Like

      • Nicholas January 12, 2018 / 1:21 pm

        Under the current contract, I believe they are only allowed to do that when the England team is not playing a televised match.

        Hopefully this has been sorted out in the 2020-onwards deal, and the counties can market as much online video as they wish.

        Like

  5. man in a barrel January 11, 2018 / 10:39 pm

    LCL should chip in with baseball. I have spent hours in US Bars and airports watching baseball matches and trying to work out the rules. I wonder how many people actually attend baseball matches. But baseball is always on the screens

    Like

    • AB January 11, 2018 / 11:47 pm

      I have several comments to make, I’ll try to keep them separate and coherent.

      First point: We need to ask what the point of domestic professional cricket is.

      is it to make money – as a minimum, enough money to cover costs and provide careers for professional cricketers.
      is it to entertain spectators and drive interest in the game amongst the public?
      is it to provide cricketers for international side?

      In my opinion, its all three, but the weighting of the three is different when considering the red ball and white ball games, which I think it is a mistake to consider together.

      Red ball cricket is more reliant on the international game for funding, whereas domestic white ball cricket (T20) largely funds itself.

      Second point,, is that its unsustainable in the long run for one format of the game to be reliant on another for funding. That’s simply untenable, as there will be constant and insistent pressure to ditch the unproductive format. Each format needs to be financially sustainable in its own right.

      Which basically means, we need to come up with a system whereby red ball cricket is self-financing. If this means the revenues from test cricket are used to subsidise domestic red-ball cricket, then fine, but at an individual county level, the revenues of red ball cricket + the share of the proceeds of test cricket need to cover the costs of red ball cricket.

      Third point. I strongly believe, that red ball cricket is the better product for tv, whereas white ball cricket (mostly T20) is the better live product, and the two formats need to be marketed accordingly.

      No T20 has ever captured the attention of a nation, nor will ever capture the attention of a nation, in the same way that a gripping test series between two high quality and closely matched opponents has and will.

      Fourth point. FTA tv may not be “the golden bullet”. Actually scrap that. FTA tv is absolutely the golden bullet. It would make such a difference to national interest, buzz, exposure,, that no other initiative would ever compare. Its not even close.

      Fifth point. Almost any sports organisation in the word would give their right eye for the kind of tradition, history, storied rivalries that the English Major Counties possess. Correctly marketed and utilised, that kind of intangible asset is worth millions and millions and millions. Clubs like that Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees go to great lengths to play up their longevity and tradition, because they know that it is a sense of history that gets fans emotionally involved to keep coming back and watching year after year, and makes them internationally famous names. Only an organisation as stupid as the ECB could possibly not understand the potential of brands such as Surrey and Yorkshire.

      In my opinion, the ideal combination would be a domestic red ball system that is designed to provide high quality international ready players for the test team, with a clear route for every young player from every county (not just the major counties) to play at professional, elite, and international level. The introduction of an elite level consisting of a series of annual marquee matchups between the big traditional names in English cricket could easily catch the publics imagination and inspire rivalries and emotional involvement from transient fans.

      Imagine, ever year, a test match between Lancashire and Yorkshire, or between a northern team and a southern team.

      Test cricket needs to be on the tv. Its the strongest, most watchable format of the game.

      T20 cricket should be seen as the route to provide LIVE professional cricket to as many people as possible. No-one really cares about the quality, if we’re honest, we just want a close game and a few beers. Most people people can’t even tell the difference. EXPAND the T20 cup so that every single person in the UK has a team within an hour’s drive.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AB January 12, 2018 / 12:10 am

      Baseball is an amazingly apt example. There are so many similarities. Its fans love the sense of history and tradition and the multiple nuances and subtleties to the play, whereas its detractors call it boring. The USA manages to support hundreds and hundreds of professional teams, even in small town, where they are followed with affection.

      MLB marketing is absolutely brilliant. Its hard to even look at the mlb website without becoming impressed with baseball.

      Like

  6. man in a barrel January 11, 2018 / 10:42 pm

    Yet another esprit d’escalier, if the ECB identifies the talent in order to make it flower, how can the counties be to blame for not cultivating the dregs?

    Like

  7. thelegglance January 11, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    Ok, let me pose this: Most of the ECB’s revenue is generated by England. If the counties aren’t there to create players for England, what is their purpose?

    Like

    • AB January 11, 2018 / 11:50 pm

      To generate the next generation of fans and players by giving them an easily accessible opportunity to watch exciting live cricket? To provide talented cricketers with the opportunity to play cricket as a career?

      Like

      • thelegglance January 11, 2018 / 11:53 pm

        Sure, legitimate answers and the ones most would say. But does it need the counties for that? Does it need the subsidy?

        Or put it another way, if starting from scratch, would it be done that way? Or a different one?

        Like

        • AB January 12, 2018 / 12:17 am

          Would probably make more sense if we talked about red ball and white ball separately, because the answers are very different for the two formats, because they have different strengths.

          What you would do if starting from scratch is a fascinating, if somewhat pointless, question. Are we assuming people already know about cricket?

          Like

          • thelegglance January 12, 2018 / 12:20 am

            Take it back a stage. This is in the hypothetical if the county game is not intended specifically to create England players. Hence, if it’s not for that, what is it for? You’ve given some answers, and so of course that’s not real.

            What is real is the central question as things stand as to what it’s purpose is meant to be.

            Like

          • AB January 12, 2018 / 9:37 am

            I have said elsewhere, that the ability of domestic red-ball cricket to entertain large crowds and make money is limited (its not helped by its current structure and marketing but it will never be a huge draw anyway), and thus providing a high quality competition in which potential England players can develop and prove themselves, should be seen as an integral part of their remit, and the financial arrangements from the ECB should reflect that.

            If you were designing a competition designed to be high-quality, low-cost, focused on talent production, with a small number of teams that share revenue from a central pot, you probably wouldn’t come up with 18 full time teams. I think you’d probably come up with something like the pyramid structure that works well in baseball, with only the top layer of teams being fully professional.

            T20 is completely different. Because of the short, snappy nature of the game, its relatively easy to attract decent crowds and bring in decent gate revenues. The central function of T20 cricket should be to provide easily accessible live cricket to every single city and town that is capable of financially sustaining it, in order to entertain and inspire the next generation of players and fans. The production of players for the national team should be seen as an added bonus. The UK is able to support hundreds of professional football teams and ~50 professional rugby teams, so why could it not support the same number of professional T20 cricket teams?

            Like

        • Benny January 12, 2018 / 3:14 am

          Think you should take it back a couple more stages. Like any sport, there are people who enjoy playing cricket. The more talented of them want to play competitively. So we have teams, clubs, leagues and counties. There are also people who enjoy watching cricket.

          I believe, as Mark and Adam have noted, there needs to be promotion and marketing to make it work. Those running the game can’t be bothered. Last year, a pop concert at the Hove ground got posters put up around the area – cricket didn’t. The music industry sees the need to promote. There is no compulsion for county committees to do a good job, no cost or pain for doing a bad one. At worst, they’ll get replaced after a few years having had a nice period of elevated social status. I’m sure some put their hearts into it but not enough.

          If comparing sports, I’d mention that football clubs are well known not to care very much about the needs of the national side and, if asked whether they are to blame for England’s failure to win anything since 1966, would very likely laugh quite loudly.

          Like

          • thelegglance January 12, 2018 / 8:48 am

            That’s true, but in other sports the national team aren’t funding the rest of the professional game.

            Ok, I’ve been asking naughty questions long enough, so I’ll give my own answer, which is that I suspect cricket as an entity isn’t sure what county cricket is for any more than anyone else is.

            The enjoyment of pure cricket has been pushed to the margins, and it’s not even doing a great job of producing England players. Deciding that single question is probably the most important one there is, because everything else about England cricket follows on from the answer.

            Like

          • Mark January 12, 2018 / 11:18 am

            Benny is right, that is why the Sky deal is so important to them. A one off deal that gives away the farm for one price, and then they don’t have to do anything else. What does Harrison do now he has negotiated his big deal? He said you are thinking about the next deal. Well that is not even on the horizon for years now. WTF does he do all day?

            The counties should do far more individually to promote county cricket. But their arms are tied with the rights being flogged off to Sky. They could still make their grounds into big local attractions. They need to promote cricket because nobody else Is going to do so. Certainly not state schools or government or the governing body outside of a cosy middle class enviroment.

            They don’t want to do the hard work, instead they are putting all their eggs into 20/20 being their saviour. Red ball cricet is screwed whatever. The more 20/20 is popular the more the skills you need for red ball cricket will vanish. And if 20/20 fails the whole of cricket will be screwed.

            Like

  8. metatone January 12, 2018 / 9:34 am

    It’s sort of fascinating to me, since I’ve moved to London I’m really only sporadically bothering with going to County Cricket matches.

    In principle I’m closer than I’ve ever lived to live County Cricket (and even if I’m not emotionally attached to the home teams (both less than 45 mins away), I’ve never been a “just Yorkshire” watcher).

    Yet beyond the lure of seeing Sanga live the odd day here and there I’ve struggled to find the time to go. Or to find the motivation to find the time to go. Of course, middle age and the logistics of family life is one explanation, but (and I’m struggling to put my finger on what) it feels like more to it than that.

    Like

    • AB January 12, 2018 / 9:40 am

      I’ve been an enthusiastic, borderline obsessive cricket fan since I was 9 years old, and whilst I attend test cricket annually, I’ve never I’ve never felt the slightest inclination to go and watch a single day of CC cricket.

      Like

  9. pktroll (@pktroll) January 12, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    If I can have my tuppence work, I don’t think that county cricket can be to blame where the England team finds itself at the moment. However a few years down the line they are still doing this nonsense of limiting the championship to the margins then it will definitely be a part of the problem. The thing is that the players who have been in situ or are in and around the squad have either been in the side for some years or have been under various development programmes. So in essence they are where they are as a consequence of either pretty much only being an international cricketer for some years, or that they would have been on development programmes which Danny rightly states in the article.

    However with things as they are, unless there is a major shake-up amongst the powers that be with a real reform of the coaching and management structure underneath the England international sides then I won’t be surprised if the England team isn’t particularly competitive in test cricket going forward with the way things are.

    Like

  10. Benny January 12, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    According to that well known mastermind, Matt Prior, on the Beeb website, it’s all down to county cricketers not being ambitious enough and it’s the counties’ responsibility to make them ambitious.

    Mind you, you can be the best keeper in the world and England will still prefer to pick one not half as good because he bats a bit better – as Prior has proved. Then, of course, if Strauss and Flower just don’t like you …..

    Like

  11. nonoxcol January 12, 2018 / 5:04 pm

    Selvey having lunch with a fellow Cricketer columnist today.

    I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you which one.

    Like

    • nonoxcol January 12, 2018 / 5:05 pm

      In your heart of hearts you already know.

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 12, 2018 / 5:53 pm

      I will.

      Henderson. No riff raff allowed.

      Like

      • nonoxcol January 12, 2018 / 6:28 pm

        And implacable loathing of the Saffer, of course.

        Like

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