People Don’t Ask The Price, But It’s Sold


20 Overs. Too Long. Too Complicated.  Anyway, also, well batted today Olly Pope….

In their classic hit “Fight the Power”, after the bit where they call Elvis and John Wayne rude names, Public Enemy then bring up a popular song of the time to outline their attitude:

“Don’t worry be happy was a Number One jam…Damn if I say it, you can slap me right here”

Yep, I’m shoe-horning this nonsense in, but after a week like the ECB have had, like English cricket has had, like we, the loyal cricket fan at our wits end has had, slapping me round the face to bring me to a state of calm seems one of the more sensible ideas. Don’t worry, be happy. Be happy that a half-baked idea, put forward by #39, who even thinks it isn’t that great a shakes now, has been adopted, put out there, and given to the plebs who follow the game to ruminate on its genius. Don’t worry, they’ve got this. The brilliant ECB are in charge. Be Happy!

This post is going to be short by my standards. Chris has laid down two magnificent pieces of work that raise the bar for us, the competition out there, and for all of us going forward. He has taken a surgical instrument to the stupidity and made it look it what it is. I’m afraid I’m not up to that. The old blunt instrument needs to be applied.

Firstly Ed Smith. Hey, forget the plagiarism, that’s no problem. He’s written a bit about baseball stats. He’s edgy. He’s left-field. Please! Beneath the smokescreen of “analytics” and “Moneyball” (and good grief that raises the old anger in me, that), the ECB have appointed a man as Chief Selector who is straight out of Central Casting. Jarrod Kimber defenestrated the nonsensical process, which was enough to get Selvey laying down the proverbial cape over the puddle for the ECB, to the surprise of no-one. No, Jarrod had it wrong when he said that if they wanted analytical sort, inviting Selfey and Muppet Pringle to interview was the cricket version of filling out the selection board member’s time, given they’d never shown any inclination to analyse stats in the past. The subject matter for the board was supposedly “Selection, Art or Science”. I’ve got a bruised head from banging it against my keyboard/wall/bat. It’s an art. That can be helped by analytics. Any other answer comes from an idiot. When humans become androids, then maybe it is science. Until then, stop this drivel.

One also noted that while Jarrod was being “pathetic”, Selvey never bothered to tell us the actual process that they went through. Nothing stopping him. Well, other than the usual.

Then there is the 100. Chris said most of it, but Strauss today has put fuel on the flame and lit the match. It’s for the mums and the kids. Harking back to a day when Ron Noades once launched a rival to the football pools and reportedly said it was “so simple, even a woman could do it”, Andrew Strauss thinks the game needs to be babied so kids, and women not interested in cricket so far, can understand it. So to do that, we reduce it from 20 overs to 100 balls, with some oddity of a 10 ball over somewhere or other. We’re all confused why, but according to the brains of the outfit, and their are plenty of those on show, this isn’t “aimed at you”.

This is the point of this post. The whole chimera that as a cricket fan, no matter for how long, or how much you have watched cricket, this competition isn’t aimed at you, you are blind to the benefits, so run along and be the oddball county follower you know you are. It’s a genius marketing technique that tells its existing customers, you know, the people who are the lovers of the game, can extol its virtues, of all forms, that you don’t need to bother, to alienate, and borderline insult them. We know you are aiming at new customers, new devotees. Great. Here’s a tip, don’t treat the existing ones like idiots. How about bringing them into the decision making process, the development, the ideas lab as it were? No, it’s the same old same old, no doubt aided and abetted by a management consultancy firm charging exorbitant amounts and moving on to the next mug.

Lizzy Ammon sums it up in her tweet this evening:

The ECB are telling you, them, us, that they know better and you, frankly, know nothing. We warned, well I warned, people about this a long while ago. We are now in the hands of zealots at the ECB, convinced of their own genius, high on their own supply of great ideas and importance, and paying total lip service to good governance, pretending consultation is in action when it’s paralysis by moron behaviour, and most of all showing all the co-ordination and sense of direction of a marathon runner with heatstroke. Graves is acting like a two bit dictator, Harrison is his marketing genius with a touch of zeal and evangelism, and Strauss is the face of the farce. It’s the ECB going downhill. It’s cricket in it’s death throes. It’s the abandonment of sense, of rational thinking and reason. It’s jobs for the boys and the “consumers” can just put up with it. Even the younger journo crowd, the MacPherson’s, Stocks’ etc. were disbelieveing. How has it come to this?

I don’t want to say I told you so….. Oh and if this is anonymous cowardly nonsense, then great. I happen to think the bigger cowards are the ones who won’t call out the ECB when they showed signs of this behaviour previously.


51 thoughts on “People Don’t Ask The Price, But It’s Sold

  1. jennyah46 Apr 22, 2018 / 6:11 pm

    Having read this I want to bash my own head against the wall, IPad, or the fridge door on my way to another wine bottle. Every word is true.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. thebogfather Apr 22, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. #FTECB – they are not worthy of my time nor a rhyme! I’m supporting @IcelandCricket from now on and would rather travel there (easier to get to than TheBramsgroveBowl/Lords/Oval and probably cheaper to travel and get a seat than a ECB match anyway, and much more welcoming)


    • oreston Apr 22, 2018 / 6:42 pm

      Iceland? “Volcanic dust stopped play” would be possibility, but at least the climate would ensure there’s no way they’d be daft enough to try to play meaningful cricket in April or September. I look forward to your reports from the Reykjavik Oval 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Apr 22, 2018 / 7:18 pm

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston Apr 22, 2018 / 8:16 pm

          Not sure that bat is quite regulation but it’d be a brave umpire who’d question it…


  3. nonoxcol Apr 22, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    Strauss really does have a piece of his soul missing, doesn’t he?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 22, 2018 / 6:32 pm

      Do you remember back in the day that certain journalists believed that L’Affaire KP was lost purely because the South African born mercenary had a much better press and publicity team.

      Leaving the merits of the KP argument aside, KP’s press team would have needed to be no better than School Magazine quality, reporting on the health of the class hamster, when pitted against the behemoth of idiocy that is the ECB brains trust.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. oreston Apr 22, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Thanks to the BBC and FTA coverage (hah!) in the 1970s I became a fan of boring old Test cricket, with it’s rain delays and complicated rules and stuff. from about the age of 7. Was I unusual in that regard? No, not really. Have children changed so fundamentally in the past four decades that they would now be incapable of appreciating long form cricket and have to be spoon fed some dumbed down, infantilised crap instead? Well, here we get into the old nature/nurture debate. There are undoubtedly more distractions in contemporary life but since the powers that be is this country haven’t even allowed the possibility of enthusing the youngest generation about Test cricket since 2005 we’ll never know.
    I do wonder how people like Strauss, who played the game with distinction at the very highest level, can have so little conscience, so little regard for its future, that they’re willing to subscribe to a raft of bullshit policies that collectively make it’s long term survival almost impossible.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thebogfather Apr 22, 2018 / 6:45 pm

      It’s also the sycophants like Selfey, Pringle, ShinyToy, Etheridge, and others (and no doubt ThePlagiarist too, once he’s chosen which report to, ahem, align himself with) that really grates me – how ignorant can they pretend to be for a paycheck against their supposed love of OUR game?

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Apr 22, 2018 / 7:19 pm

        “People might question the appointment – his international credentials – but you’ve only got to read some of his books, what he writes, to know that this man knows what he is talking about.”

        What chance do we have? He can write a book, it might have some long words, but be fucking dreadful, but he’ll do. It might be arrant nonsense. No matter. This is why people like Smith and Syed can get away with their stuff and no-one points out the rubbish. Because their “intellectualism” is used as the shield, not the stick to beat them with. Perhaps some of the overwhelmed can start thinking for themselves, eh?

        The above quote is from Steve Harmison.

        Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol Apr 22, 2018 / 7:26 pm

      I more or less instantly found everything about it mesmerising, aged 8. Being very mathematically inclined from an early age probably helped, but by 11 I was composing stories about cricket and getting some idea of how well it lended itself to creative writing. The first story was a fictional England side making 300 plus for 4 to avoid a 5-0 whitewash in the 1984 series v WI. So yeah, pretty creative! 😉

      I absolutely refuse to believe that I was some kind of freak, and that there aren’t potentially thousands if not millions of the same types at primary school age now.

      Liked by 4 people

    • jomesy Apr 22, 2018 / 8:10 pm

      Today we had one of my daughters’ bday party. Beautiful day, as it was 7 yrs ago when she was born. Typical kids party followed by, at her request, group whackabout cricket…class mates, cousins, mums, dads, anyone else nearby who seemed keen! Sun setting when we called it a day. You’re right and LCL summed it up perfectly with: stop this drivel.


      • northernlight71 Apr 22, 2018 / 10:57 pm

        Happy Birthday mini Jomesy! April is a good month for birthdays. My daughter had hers last week and we were at her cousin’s party today. . .10 pin bowling since you ask. Cricket isn’t even on the edge of the radar up her. Can’t imagine why not.


        • jomesy Apr 23, 2018 / 7:55 am

          Thank you NL (and a belated happy bday to your daughter). FWIW I know it has, quite rightly, taken a lot of stick but my girls all did the ECB All Stars programme last year. They loved it and are signed up to do it again this year and are very excited about it. Indeed we were using the orange stumps and bat and the white ball. Obviously they are also encouraged by my interest in the game but the group element also has an impact. I appreciate that it’s not a well-costed option and that we are lucky to be able to do but, despite all its flaws, it does have some positives.


  5. thebogfather Apr 22, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    Multiple his soul, our soul, arsehole whole analogies come to mind…


  6. Mark Apr 22, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    It’s not for you, it’s for the mums and the kids……..

    But wasn’t this exactly the same sales presentation a decade ago to usher in 20/20? A simple, shorter game that the mums and the kids could watch, and then the kids could be under the duvet by their bed time.

    So is the ECB now saying that 20/20 has failed? (Try telling that to the Indians ) and a new format is required? Or are they saying that the population is evolutionary even stupider than it was in the early millennium so the game must now be dumbed down some more? According to 39 even the concept of counting to six to complete an over is too taxing for today’s kids. Instead we just start with a hundred, and then deduct one at a time.

    Never mind that a governing body that spends all of its time appealing to its non supporters could be accused of governing body treason! Tumbrels to take the ECB board up to Tyburn. What exactly are they trying to achieve? Like it or loathe it 20/20 has worked in India and Australia. So the ECB must be incompetent to be the one nation of the big three to completely fail to create a 20/20 success. I thought that was what they were trying to create with their inner city jamboree.

    If you want to attract the kids put Graves, Harrison Strauss, Selvey, Smith in the stocks and charge the kids to hurl rotten eggs and tomatoes at them. Cricket will become the number one attraction in town. They will be lining up round the block. You don’t need some flashy marketing company to tell you that.

    Believe it or not I do have some sympathy for the cricket board. The game I love is dying, because we live no in a world of time poor people with very low attention spans. I doubt Test matches will exist in 50 years. Maybe only 25. But you have to be more honest about the problems, and the causes. Putting the sport behind a paywall a decade ago was a disaster for exposure. But you must be honest about your mistakes. And you must stop killing the game to supposedly save it.


    • Ab Apr 22, 2018 / 10:25 pm

      Thing is, we don’t. This is just a myth made up to excuse not putting test cricket back on fta tv. Once your start looking into it, with the growth of slow food movement and slowburn box sets, the actual evidence points in the exact opposite direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark Apr 22, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    “People might question the appointment – his international credentials – but you’ve only got to read some of his books, what he writes, to know that this man knows what he is talking about.”

    And his great friend has his own show with Robbie Savage, and The ping pong man. We are so fucked!

    I see how they do it now. How to become an intellectual? Write a book with long words in it, and then hang out with the right people.

    People like this…….


  8. thelegglance Apr 22, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    I’m still trying to get my head around a sporting body openly briefing to those who love the game, pay subscriptions and buy tickets, that a new competition is not aimed at them.
    It’s simply extraordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 22, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      It’s sporting treason!


    • Mark Apr 22, 2018 / 8:57 pm

      From Wikipedia…….

      “In the 1985, Coca-Cola’s market share had been losing ground to diet soft drinks and non-cola beverages for many years. Consumers who were purchasing regular colas seemed to prefer the sweeter taste of rival Pepsi-Cola, as Coca-Cola learned in conducting blind taste tests. However, the American public’s reaction to the change was negative, even hostile, and the new cola was considered a major failure. The subsequent, rapid reintroduction of Coke’s original formula, rebranded “Coca-Cola Classic” and put back into market within three months of New Coke’s debut, resulted in a significant gain in sales. This led to speculation by some that the introduction of the New Coke formula was just a marketing ploy to stimulate sales of original Coca-Cola; however, the company has maintained it was a genuine attempt to replace the original product.

      Coke Ⅱ was discontinued in July 2002. It remains influential as a cautionary tale against tampering too extensively with a well-established and successful brand.”

      Problem for cricket is they don’t have a successful brand to start with.


    • Ab Apr 22, 2018 / 10:28 pm

      Why would any potential new fans want to get involved with this competition if this it treats its fans? Not long until a new fan is an established fan and then the ecb no longer cares about you. Do the ecb think people are stupid?


  9. Zephirine Apr 22, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    So if it’s for the “mums and kids”, are they prepared for less revenue from the bars?

    It wouldn’t be a bad idea to leave the existing Blast for the boozers and have the new competition very much family-oriented, low-alcohol drinks etc. I think that’s pretty much what the Big Bash is. But they won’t make so much money.

    And there’s absolutely no need to mess around with the format.

    Was it Harmison who said that about you’ve only got to read his books? I think he was just being diplomatic, after all he got the brush-off when he tried to be a selector himself, wouldn’t want to look bitter.


    • Ab Apr 22, 2018 / 10:30 pm

      So why schedule it in the evenings at all? Just play it on weekend afternoons when families might actually be willing to make the effort


      • oreston Apr 22, 2018 / 10:51 pm

        Because they’re also chasing a (quite possibly illusory) prime time TV audience? You’re right though. In my lifetime I don’t think cricket was ever as popular as in the days of the old John Player League. 40 overs a side, 2.00 – 7.00 pm on a Sunday. The very definition of family oriented.


      • northernlight71 Apr 22, 2018 / 10:56 pm

        Mums and kids further north than Manchester are clearly not worth bothering about, though.


        • Ab Apr 23, 2018 / 6:59 am

          Or east of Nottingham or west of Southampton…. Basically half the country.


  10. Grenville Apr 22, 2018 / 10:57 pm

    So, we know that a short window for the competition is subject to the whole show being a washed out farce. They tried it was the blast, iirc. We also know that English fans love long form cricket, they even like the county championship. Remember that title decider at Lords two years ago? I am told that a simple four camera set-up outside broadcast is pretty cheap. It fills a lot of dead air for broadcasters in the day time. You could even run your own youtube channel. (I also agree with AB(?) that long form cricket makes better tv. You don’t watch every ball, but can dip in and out. Shortform needs you to follow the whole game.

    If I was the ECB, I’d make the County Champshionship my flagship domestic ‘product’. I’d want every game streamed live. The short form I’d market as a live event, on Sundays and Friday nights. I’d go for bums on seats.

    I might be wrong strategically, but I don’t think I’m balmy. I find it interesting that not even the most sceptical envisage this as possible or ask why the ECB kowtowed to Sky in keeping the four day game off air.


    • Philip Coombes Apr 23, 2018 / 8:54 am

      Somerset are streaming all their games (at least home ones) for free on Youtube this season. It’s a pretty basic two camera set-up, wicket to wicket only but I watched it on and off all weekend as did up to 30000 others apparently. If they went to a proper TV set-up with cameras that moved etc I’d quite happily pay to watch it.

      One of the best things about cricket is that for the long forms of the game you don’t need to actively watch it all of the time, you can do other things as well and sometimes the gaps between balls are just as good as the actual action.


      • Grenville Apr 23, 2018 / 10:44 pm

        Right, there’s clearly a TV audience for long form domestic cricket. The ECB didn’t have to package it up with the tests and they didn’t have to shove it to the margins. I find the complete acceptance of the ECB’s position that the less said about the county championship the better extremely odd.

        Thanks for the tip re Somerset. Any other clubs doing the same?


        • dannycricket Apr 24, 2018 / 6:16 am

          My view precisely. Bundling the county championship rights in with everything else when neither Sky or BT want to show them is madness. There is a market for the games, and it’s at least large enough to justify producing it.


          • AB Apr 24, 2018 / 9:54 am

            Just another example of how dumb the ECB are and how easily sky manipulates them. Sky have no interest in showing the CC, why would they when they can fill their schedules with repeats of old cheaply made documentaries?

            But cheekily, they insist on still having the exclusive rights to something they have no intention of showing, because they know that if another broadcaster started showing it, it would probably get quite a few viewers and could potentially either take quite a few subscribers off them immediately, or at least give them a competitor with a taste for cricket, a growing reputation, and a foot in the door.

            and the ECB go along with this! How they can be so stupid it is genuinely hard to countenance. The only conclusion can be that their “negotiator” is secretly working on behalf of sky to screw the ECB over.


  11. Sri.Grins Apr 23, 2018 / 5:53 am

    Clearly, the problem the ECB is facing is being a late entrant to the market and product differentiation as well as ability to get broadcasters to buy in.

    They could have done two things. played the intercounty T-20 and get the top 8 entry into the B-100. That would have enhanced interest in both the leagues with B-100 being allowed more liberty to recast their team once they are in with players who did not play in the city t-20.

    The other option would have been to make the t-20 intercountry free to air with some channels and get into an ad revenue share model which would have addressed both reach out and free to air and cut t-20 time by speeding up the game by over rate penalties and other methods.


    • thelegglance Apr 23, 2018 / 8:21 am

      But they weren’t a late entrant. They were first. They had the chance to do all of those things 15 years ago, and at any intervening time.


      • Sri.Grins Apr 23, 2018 / 8:37 am

        The point is that the ECB is a late entrant in cashing in on the success of tournaments like IPL and Big Bash.

        They missed their chance for 15 years but now they want to make use of it now because they are seeing the money made in Oz and India. We can have a separate article on why ECB missed the chance to create something rivaling IPL/Big Bash.

        The trouble is how to manage this because the 18 county setup is too unwieldy and if they have a T-20 franchise, they are many years behind the competition.

        Not easy to decide how to go about coming up with a new moneymaking short form concept. I am not saying that they did makes sense. it does not. but, they still had ways of making money capitalizing on the fans watching Blast and targeting a new audience than coming up with something that is mostly seen as negative and turning off existing fans..


        • Zephirine Apr 23, 2018 / 8:49 am

          Obviously the IPL makes money, but I’m not sure the Big Bash actually does, I think it was set up as a way to get people into the sport and if it’s a loss-leader, that’s OK.

          I suspect the problem here is the ECB is belatedly trying to do both.

          As for dropping the women’s T20 when women’s cricket is about the only area of growth, it’s completely insane.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sri.grins Apr 23, 2018 / 10:37 am

            I agree with you on the ecb trying to score multiple sixes with a single swing of the bat.

            Big bash has been losing money but the new TV deal should address that as I assume that most of the increase in the bid came from higher value for the big bash and not from the performance of Oz in test cricket. 😁😁


          • oreston Apr 23, 2018 / 11:04 am

            Dropping the KSL is possibly the most egregious aspect of this latest ECB public relations clusterfuck. Then to come out and say that they want “mums” as spectators (though apparently not women as actual pro or even semi-pro cricketers) is the cherry on the cake.

            Liked by 2 people

  12. pktroll (@pktroll) Apr 23, 2018 / 7:48 am

    I just don’t get what they are trying to do with this, I really don’t. The IPL DID succeed in making an already popular game, more widely available to an already likely captivated audience. In England, apart from die-hard cricket fans we are likely trying to magic people out of thin air who are have the problem of not actually existing.

    This seems to be some pathetic attempt to gain exposure when trying to compare England with India in terms of cricket loving market is ridiculous.


  13. nonoxcol Apr 23, 2018 / 11:23 am

    Reminder: The current ECB CEO was previously its Head of Marketing (2003-2006), during a period when English cricket had its highest public profile this century, a period that was also literally a window between the invention of T20 and the first World T20/IPL.


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 23, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      Because you’ll never see sycophancy to a higher authority from me. We despaired of your profession too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Apr 23, 2018 / 6:00 pm

        It’s just another captain and opening batsman, not a f****** unicorn.

        If only we had seen this journalistic standard applied to the former England captain. Instead of misty eyed columns about…. A Debonair young man from the right kind of private school, and puff pieces about sheep farming.

        I see he’s defending the Smith appointment with his catch all …I know things about the process you don’t know.

        It’s a genius device for winning any argument. Just claim you know stuff (without any evidence) and declare victory. Can’t wait for him to get his blog up and running………Oh wait…

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Mark Apr 23, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    Just listening to the football on five live tonight. Apparently the Everton mascot is the first ever “virtual mascot”, and is being operated by a kid on his I pad from his bedroom.

    This opens up tremendous opportunities for cricket. Why bother with a head selector when we can create virtual players? We can bring back to life former players, (perhaps in hologram form.)

    Wally Hammond can play for England again. Boycott can become Cooks new opening partner. The ECB say they want to get kids and mums interested. Maybe they can operate the new players from their bedrooms on their computers.

    We could also bring back virtual journalists, who could write their columns on virtual paper. The opportunities are endless. We can all be replaced. Virtual fans, virtual bloggers. A virtual Graves and Harrison have to be an improvement.


    • oreston Apr 23, 2018 / 11:23 pm

      Or maybe it’s already happened…


    • thelegglance Apr 23, 2018 / 11:34 pm

      That virtual mascot was because the child is very ill, and too sick to attend the game. Just in case you weren’t aware.


      • Mark Apr 24, 2018 / 12:24 am

        The bloke on the radio didn’t explain that the kid was ill. (Or at least I didn’t here it) Sorry that he is unwell. But they did say he was operating the mascot himself from his bedroom.

        Hope he makes a good recovery!


          • oreston Apr 24, 2018 / 6:04 pm

            Wish I’d bothered to find out about that story too…


  15. Mark Apr 24, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    I have found the ECBs target audience……I don’t think 16.4, and getting rid of LBW will make any difference.


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