Keep It Simple, Stupid

“Well very simple. I think what we’re trying to do with our new city-based tournament is really appeal to a new audience. So people that aren’t necessarily traditional cricket fans, and in particular looking at mums and kids during the summer holidays. So, what we’re trying to do is find a way of making the game as simple as possible for them to understand and, you know, if you imagine that sort of countdown from 100 balls down to 0 and the runs going up, I think that’s a pretty simple way of playing the game.”

These are the words of the ECB’s Director Of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss, in response to the question “A new 100-ball competition. Your reason for introducing that?” on Sportsweek. What stood out for me in this long winded (and arguably sexist) response, is that Strauss used the world “simple” three times in the first four sentences.

First, a recap of the current proposals by the ECB for this new format. Instead of the current T20 format of 20 six-ball overs per innings, each team will face a maximum of 100 balls in 16 overs. Of those 16 overs, one will have 10 balls and the rest will remain as 6 balls each. Since the initial proposal, there has been a suggestion reported in the Telegraph that the fielding team will have the option of switching bowlers during the longer over up to three times.

All of which begs the question: How is this simpler than T20? It honestly sounds like the most convoluted format of cricket I’ve ever heard of.

I, like most people who frequent this blog (or at least most of the people who comment), prefer Test cricket to the other forms of the game. With all the talk of the new tournament and now a new format, I’ve been trying to think why that is. The answer I have come up with is this: It’s a simple game.

For a start, the goals of the teams playing Test cricket are very simple. The fielding side has to take 20 wickets. If a Test team can’t manage that (see England’s performances this winter), they can’t win. Conversely, the batting team will attempt to preserve their wickets. If successful, they should never lose.

Which is not to say that there aren’t complexities in Test cricket. LBW is cricket’s answer to football’s offside rule, incredibly difficult to explain to a newbie and probably requiring diagrams of some sort. It is a necessary complication though, because otherwise it would be possible for batsmen to essentially negate all forms of dismissal. The names for the positions in the field aren’t exactly intuitive for people unfamiliar with the game, but given the massive variety of possible places a fielder can be in there may not be an obvious solution to that. More recently, the DRS system has also added some confusion to proceedings. That was almost an enforced change, with technology showing umpires’ mistakes almost instantly on television and causing an outcry amongst aggrieved fans.

The other formats of the game are certainly shorter, but can hardly be described as more simple. Take as an example the powerplays. I’m a cricket fan, I’ve watched and listened to dozens of ODIs, I’ve even done match reports for some of them here on BOC. I literally couldn’t tell you when the ODI powerplays are or how many fielders have to be within the circle. It seems to change every few years, and at some point I decided to stop keeping track.

Even more importantly, the powerplays mean that the rules by which the teams are playing change throughout the game itself. This would be like every rugby union game starting with 10 minutes of 7-a-side to encourage more tries, or football matches having 15 minutes without goalkeepers. I honestly can’t think of any other examples in sport where the rules shift mid-match, excluding tie-breakers such as extra time and penalty shoot-outs.

The thing I really hate about limited overs cricket is the limit on how many overs any player can bowl. As a fan of the sport, I want to see the best players from both teams facing each other as much as possible. Instead, batsmen in ODIs and T20s face the majority of their deliveries from bowlers picked for their batting ability over anything else. Whilst I understand the reasons behind it, namely that it weakens the bowling and strengthens the batting and therefore ensures a high-scoring game, it still feels contrived and artificial to me.

If the ECB really wanted to produce a format which was easy for newcomers and existing fans to understand and enjoy, surely the obvious solution is to have as few rules and restrictions as possible? No bowling limits, no fielding limits, and especially no weirdly long overs. Just get 11 great players on the field and let them create the drama and excitement, like in every popular sport.

It’s really very simple.

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103 thoughts on “Keep It Simple, Stupid

  1. OscarDaBosca Apr 24, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    I love the idea of no bowling limits and no fielding restrictions.
    I remember Steve Waugh in 1999 during the World Cup against SA in final (how long they did this for I can’t remember) having 3 slips and a gully in the opening overs because conditions demanded it (this worked as well as a power play)

    Like

    • dannycricket Apr 24, 2018 / 8:00 pm

      The limits on bowlers genuinely anger me, particularly in T20s. If a team has a great bowler, I want to see a lot more than just 24 balls from them. It’s cheating me and the rest of the crowd out of a great spectacle.

      Like

  2. northernlight71 Apr 24, 2018 / 7:34 pm

    The more time I spend thinking about it, the more I’m reminded of my own mother, sadly no longer alive to see the debacle which English cricket has become. She’d have had a few things to say to Strauss. If he thinks Ed Smith is an intellectual, he’d have been weeping blood once my Mum had taken him to task for his patronising tone about women not understanding cricket.
    KP was right. He’s just a doos.

    Like

  3. glenn Apr 24, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Why wasn’t some of the English T20 competition live on free to air tv from 2005 onwards? Were the BBC, C4 etc not interested? Or did Sky want all English cricket so they could blackmail fans?

    ITV4 got 600,000 viewers for the IPL. Quite a few mums ands were probably watching.

    Like

    • dannycricket Apr 24, 2018 / 7:52 pm

      Sky wanted it all for themselves. They also bought the IPL in order to keep it off FTA TV. Their whole business model is to make themselves the only supplier of live sports, at least as far as the government and sporting bodies allow. Of course no other sport have been quite as amenable as the ECB…

      Like

  4. Baz Apr 24, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    I hope Mr Strauss was at Lord’s today if he was he would’ve been given a piece of a few ladies minds! Best he goes back into hiding until England win a test match.

    Goes to prove that there is not one member of the English cricket establishment that is in touch with modern society and I include Claire Connor in that laughing stock too.

    No amount of marketing or PR will fix this mess even mums and kids know a laughing stock, women’s football, netball and hockey have all stolen a march on the ECB as they sell the soul of the game to keep men’s county cricket alive with £1.3 a head.

    Pure and simple neglect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Benny Apr 24, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    Reading that bumbling quote at the beginning made me think that I’d hate to have Strauss stand up in court and defend me (hopefully never necessary). To be fair, he has no more experience of being a barrister than he has of rejigging a sport so I wouldn’t expect him to make good job of it

    Oh and fine article by the way. Don’t think fielding position names matter at all unless you are listening on a radio.

    Like

    • dannycricket Apr 24, 2018 / 10:30 pm

      It’s not a major thing, but neither are they particularly intuitive for non-cricket fans. For example, in football a complete novice could largely guess where most player positions are just from the name. Centre midfield, centre back, goalkeeper, right back, winger, and so on. Cricket terminology is less transparent. Even ‘off’ and ‘leg’ would need explaining to a newbie, let alone the thirty or so fielding positions which might be used by commentators.

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      • KidVicious Apr 25, 2018 / 11:32 am

        All the fielding positions could be renamed relating to a clockface. “And a wonderful delivery, causing the batsman to edge to the close 5 o’clock fielder”. “And he’s holed out at 11o’clock again”
        But then again, many of us unwashed masses probably don’t know how to tell the time and so it wouldn’t keep the game sufficiently simple.

        I love the fielding positions. It all makes getting into cricket a fun learning experience. The gradual transition which sees radio commentary start as complete nonsense to painting a complete mental picture of the game.

        Everytime the Olympics (and Winter) comes round I am always drawn into a sport I know nothing about. By the end of a broadcast I am an armchair expert, be it Curling, Archery or Gymnastics. Commentators do a good job of describing the basics for the uninitiated, and enough technical detail and tactics for the long-term fans.

        Many comments on the Guardian’s Spin article (surprisingly brutal article) referenced NFL, which really isn’t the most beginner friendly sport. And yet it’s popularity is as high as ever. The biggest thing for kids to get into the game are accessibility and heroes to idolise. Without either the format could be the most simple imaginable but will not draw anyone.

        Many congrats on the 1mil hits as well, been too busy to comment.

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        • Benny Apr 25, 2018 / 1:00 pm

          So agree about accessibility and heroes.

          My point about fielding positions is that, if you are at a ground watching a match and you don’t know what a cover point is, it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the game one iota.

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  6. Sri.grins Apr 25, 2018 / 7:16 am

    Completely disagree with the concept of not having limits in odis or t-20s.It is the limits that make odis or t-20s interesting. In response to the restrictions and the limits, bowlers have an incentive to develop variations and batsmen have also become innovative trying to deal with the variations.

    I understand you guys like to vendors test cricket. I do too. But, trying to make Lois miniature version of test cricket innings is not necessarily a good move.

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    • dannycricket Apr 25, 2018 / 7:25 am

      But surely the converse would also be true? In response to the lack of fielding restrictions, batsmen would have an incentive to develop innovative shots and bowlers would have to develop variations in order to deal with them.

      Therefore, particularly when attempting to develop a “simple” form of cricket which is easy to for newcomers to understand, surely the version with fewer rules and complications should be preferred?

      Like

      • Sri.grins Apr 25, 2018 / 8:08 am

        The simple answer is no no no in my view.

        First, it hits the number of bowlers selected in a team.

        Second it hits the all rounders. Very few all rounders will get selected in teams.

        Third, the pace of runs scored will drop.

        As far as simplicity is concerned, I hope no one thinks that t-20 or odis are not watched by people because they find the rules of Lois complicated.

        I can’t comment about outside the sub continent but anyone in the sub continent not following the Lois is either a pure test fan or has such little interest in cricket that they don’t wish to follow it.

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        • dannycricket Apr 25, 2018 / 8:43 am

          I think you’re mistaken. To answer your points in turn:

          1) Yes, it would affect the number of bowlers selected. Particularly in T20s (and indeed 100-ball formats), I would assume. I think this is a good thing. I would rather great bowlers were allowed to make a greater impact on games than just 60 or 24 deliveries.

          2) I don’t care about mediocre allrounders. The good ones will still be picked, because they justify their spot with either bat or ball.

          3) The pace of runs might not drop, because there will be fewer bowlers. If there are fewer bowlers then there can be more batsmen, which means that the batsmen can be more aggressive because their teams has 8 or 9 strong batsmen rather than 6 or 7 as they usually have now.

          4) Here in England, almost no one follows LOIs. ODIs and T20Is have not been available on a free TV channel here for at least 20 years, maybe more. Therefore there is a massive untapped market for new fans, if the sport makes a good first impression when it returns to the BBC in 2020.

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          • Sri.Grins Apr 25, 2018 / 9:43 am

            Let us agree that each of us thinks he is right. 🙂

            Why would anyone select all rounders in T-20? great all rounders are scarce.

            As it is bowlers get little encouragement. if you reduce the number of bowlers, very few teams would play 5 bowlers which they do today in LOIs just in the 11.

            if you wish to watch great bowlers making an impact, watch test cricket. Why would you want a version that is the same as test cricket except that it is shorter?

            I disagree with you about no one following ODIs.

            How come 600000 viewers watched the IPL where no English players participated?

            How come the ODI and T-20 competitions draw more crowds in England than county cricket? I do not have attendance figures for country cricket vs odis vs t-20s (domestic) but please correct my assumption about this if I am wrong.

            I assume that viewership numbers on TV also reflect this even if it is within the pay TV wall. I am sure you can again correct me if I am wrong.

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          • dannycricket Apr 25, 2018 / 10:03 am

            600,000 people watched the IPL in the UK because it was on free TV. Since it moved from ITV4 to Sky Sports in 2015, I would assume the viewing figures are significantly lower now.

            Limited overs games draw larger viewing figures and crowds for one very obvious reason: They are played almost entirely when people aren’t at work or school. The same can’t be said for Test and 4 day cricket. It doesn’t make LOIs more popular, but it does maximise the audience for any given match. Nor does having higher crowds and viewers mean that something is better, or can’t be improved.

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          • Sri.Grins Apr 25, 2018 / 9:48 am

            if the T-20 blast is successful (Viewership on ground, viewership on TV in England) ,it means that enough people in England follow LOIs to allow counties and the ECB to make money from these events.

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          • Sri.Grins Apr 25, 2018 / 10:35 am

            To me, it seems more like fixing something that is not broken.

            If you make LOIs a mini version of test cricket, there is no guarantee that it will succeed nor any significant advantages except in the minds of test cricket fans who do not follow LOIs. 🙂

            Not sure, if that is a significantly big enough market to justify changing the current rules. 🙂

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          • KidVicious Apr 25, 2018 / 11:43 am

            I don’t think Danny was really proposing overhauling the LOI format – more pointing out the inherent hypocrisy in the statement that relates to simplifying the game to attract punters and yet adding more and more rules to the proceedings.

            The point being T20 does just fine, and people accept that there are rules that have to be explained. Don’t hide behind a veil of simplicity when that is not your motivation.

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          • Sri.grins Apr 25, 2018 / 12:01 pm

            I agree with you on ecb using simplicity to justify the change does not make sense. I think almost all posters across multiple media outlets posting on cricket are agreed that using simplicity to justify the b-100 is dumb. However, the discussion between Danny and I related to what he thinks would be a good improvement in existing rules and has nothing to do with the ecb

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      • AB Apr 25, 2018 / 12:07 pm

        I actually think a T20 in which the same 2 bowlers just bowled unchanged from either end would be really dull. It takes away a huge tactical element and to when you bowl which bowlers and which bowlers the batsmen target etc, and it reduces the game to simply who has the best 2 bowlers, which is a miserable and shallow form of cricket in my view.

        Also, sticking 9 men on the boundary is very dull and would only make the ability to slog 6s even more of a premium. It would reduce the skill element of the game in favour of power. There’d be no room for batsmen like Kane Williamson guiding 4’s into gaps, each team would just be 9 lots of Dre Russell plus a couple of specialist bowlers.

        The existing rules exist for a reason. In the past, professional formats have simply copied the rules developed in the amateur game, “bottom-up” if you will. Amateur cricket captains understand the game a lot better than professional administrators and so these rules tend to be pretty well tested and thought-through.

        The problem we have now is that rules are being imposed from the “top-down” by people who don’t really know what they’re doing, and the result is a complete dogs dinner.

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  7. northernlight71 Apr 25, 2018 / 8:10 am

    Maybe the ECB aren’t as stupid as they seem. Suddenly, the idea that the new 100 ball nonsense might be quietly shelved will mean that the original, pointless 8 team city-franchise-fest will seem positively traditional and not at all a way to continue to undermine the 18 counties and the current quite successful T20 Blast competition?

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    • dannycricket Apr 25, 2018 / 8:44 am

      I’m not going to let this stand…

      The ECB are definitely as stupid as they seem. Perhaps even more so.

      Like

    • Mark Apr 25, 2018 / 9:00 am

      Ahhhh…the old bait and switch? Make it so bad that the lesser of two evils suddenly seems like salvation.

      I agree with Danny the ECB are not clever enough. Cunning, yes, but not that clever. Listen to Strauss’s latest, and honestly tell me this man is a genius?

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    • thelegglance Apr 25, 2018 / 10:16 am

      ECB statement: “We’ve listened to the feedback and it’s quite clear that everyone is in favour of our original proposal. I would like to thank Sanjay Patel for his creativity, and he will take up a new role alongside Colin Graves, away from the public.

      “At no point did anyone from the ECB suggest this was a brilliant idea, and we completely concur with everyone that it was insane, and we are very glad we didn’t mention or propose it.

      “T20 is the future of cricket, and we’ve always said so ever since we told everyone we invented it, and we are delighted that there has been such support for the concept in recent days. Such vindication of our decision making is exactly why we have seen huge growth in cricketing interest over the last few years”

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    • KidVicious Apr 25, 2018 / 11:54 am

      Thought that myself, but if that was the case they’d just wheel out their useful idiots to do all the media work. That Strauss came out to publically champion this himself suggests he’s not planning a Machiavellian masterstroke.

      Not sure whether that’s reassuring.

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  8. Mark Apr 25, 2018 / 8:52 am

    Sorry folks, rant in coming……and as ever it’s the people helping the ping pong man.

    There needs to be a BBC inquiry as to how they allow people to promote their books at the network. Is the BBC going to allow endless plugging by certain people at the expense of others? Who makes those decisions? And is it ethical to allow a BBC pundit with his own show to promote his new book on numerous other different shows?

    I’m sure you can guess this is about The Ping pong man. He has written a new book, and the BBC seem to be acting as his personal promoter. The book is aimed at a new demographic, children. (Always a good way to have new doors opened to you.) and is called “You’re Awesome.”

    In reality, if Mr Ping Pong wants to be honest the book should be retitled “I’m Awesome” because by all accounts it’s a rehash of his crack pot theories now aimed at a younger audience. (Expect a book on black box thinking for pensioners in about two years time.)

    This is his belief that anyone can be Lionel Messi, or Roger Federer, or Brian Lara, or those without a musical bone in their body can be Mozart. Don’t worry if you are 5’1” tall a glittering career is opening up for you in the NBA.

    Syed should be free to write his nonsense of course, but others should be weary of promoting it so slavishly. Particularly so called non commercial outlets. I’m told he was given a platform on Blue Peter. Jesus Christ is nothing sacred? The once gold stand of children’s television having on hacks to promote their latest offerings? They did promote ABBA once in the 70s but they were taking the world by storm at the time , and are in a slightly higher league than a Times hack.

    He was invited on to News-night to bore the pants off their audience on his theories about Arsene Wenger. Why? No, seriously WHY? They have him on occasionally when they want conventional wisdom dressed up as fake radical. How the once flagship BBC current affairs show has gone down the pan. With its establishment lackey presenters like Evan Davies, and the gormless Emily Maitless. It’s a far cry for Paxman and his theory of “why is this politician lying to me.” It’s become BBC fluff. Light and woolly. The ideal place to promote snake oil salesmen.

    His modus operandi seems to be to hitch his wagon to any form of success, and then claim that this validates his theories. Like A German U boat captain scanning the horizon with his periscope looking out for a new target to latch onto. In the past he has latched onto Team Sky. Not an all together good idea as the weeks and months go by and more revelations come out. Black box thinking?

    Now some will say what’s wrong with encouraging children? , and of course nothing. But there is a difference between encouraging,and deceiving them. The world is a tough, hard place. Its not a cozy warm dumbed down TV studio where elites are given free platforms to lie to their audience. Telling children they can be brilliant at anything is highly questionable. 99.9% of the population can’t be Mozart.

    Like

    • dannycricket Apr 25, 2018 / 8:56 am

      In fairness to Syed and Team Sky, maybe their asthma medicine came in black boxes?

      Like

    • nonoxcol Apr 25, 2018 / 6:44 pm

      Hope you’re all sitting down, nice and relaxed….

      SHOCK HORROR!

      Do read the mini-thread as well.

      Like

      • nonoxcol Apr 25, 2018 / 6:46 pm

        And then, just bask in this…

        O brave new world…

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          • dannycricket Apr 25, 2018 / 8:43 pm

            I’m not sure I’ve ever insulted Selvey, maybe I can join?

            Of course, I’m not actually sure I’ve ever read one of his articles either…

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          • LordCanisLupus Apr 25, 2018 / 10:08 pm

            Cricket. Rather praise old dinosaurs than new talent.

            Sums us up….

            Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 25, 2018 / 7:32 pm

        His latest tweet has this gem….

        “To reap the benefits of hard work, you have to work hard!”

        It’s sloganism dressed up as a theory.

        As to his support for the ECB and 16.4 who really is surprised? And who is surprised that Selvey supports him? It’s as predictable as night following day.

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        • d'Arthez Apr 26, 2018 / 9:34 am

          Or be the manager taking all the credit for his underlings’ hard work. As if that has never happened before at the ECB …

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      • OscarDaBosca Apr 26, 2018 / 2:59 pm

        It’s an intellectual love-in, don’t worry guys we know what’s best for you, and if you don’t like it you probably don’t get it.

        Apparently they are going to make the scoreboard easier to understand for this competition too, because cricket scoreboards give people headaches with their complexity.

        If I wasn’t already driven to the edge by the ECB this would have set me off.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Zephirine Apr 25, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    Moeen Ali is at the IPL: (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/apr/25/moeen-ali-england-test-side-ipl-interview)

    “I literally would have come for the experience, especially with the players at RCB like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock.

    “And I’m wanting to train all of the time. Even today we’re not down to but I have asked to do some extra time. Sometimes in the same environment, you maybe lose a bit of that. So I think the IPL has come at a great time, getting different ideas from new voices.”

    Such as? “For example I have never worked on power-hitting. I’ve just always batted and when days have gone my way, it’s been nice. But with Trent Woodhill, one of the coaches, I’m learning different ways to hit the ball.

    “In Twenty20 it’s not always about straight drives and high elbows. It’s amazing how far you can hit the ball. I’ve always been able to hit the ball far but not consistently like I have in practice over here. I’m enjoying it so much.”

    Before anyone jumps in and says “Oh, but that’s just learning how to bash”, that’s not why I’ve quoted this. My point is that yet another English player is saying he goes to the IPL and LEARNS STUFF. Obviously it’s partly due to the mix of people that they won’t find at an England training session. But we have centres of excellence and coaches and central contracts and the whole enchilada. Why don’t they learn stuff while they’re playing for England? (Even playing T20 for England?) ?

    Liked by 2 people

    • oreston Apr 25, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      I’m sure you know quite well, but to answer your rhetorical question it’s because the “whole enchilada” doesn’t add up to a hill of (refried) beans.

      Like

      • Zephirine Apr 25, 2018 / 6:05 pm

        🙂 No doubt Analytics Ed will have all the answers.

        Like

        • oreston Apr 25, 2018 / 11:22 pm

          Can’t wait for him to name his first squad and hear the rationale behind it. Then there’s his appointment of the other selector to look forward to. Japes aplenty in store for us…

          Like

  10. thebogfather Apr 26, 2018 / 2:18 pm

    Ed Smith Hed selector alert – sharing his plan with the fans… and no, i haven’t read it or got a link

    Like

    • nonoxcol Apr 26, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      Loving some of the replies…

      The P-word actually has more traction than I imagined it would.

      Like

    • Mark Apr 26, 2018 / 4:26 pm

      “My plan for English cricket…….”

      Nobody wants your plan. You’re are a selector. You pick the players.

      We already have a cricket supremo, called Strauss. Who seems to think the public are dummies who have to be pandered to because they can’t count up to six or understand the LBW law.

      We don’t want any more so called experts with their crack pot theories.

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  11. Silk Apr 26, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    It’s bollocks.

    If mums and kids (do dads not do childcare?) aren’t into the existing T20, then why this?

    It’s a solution in seacrh of a problem. No wonder the ECB like it. There is no reason for their existance if they don’t fill their time with pointless tasks, like reimagining cricket and move money from poor clubs to rich ones.

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  12. d'Arthez Apr 26, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    Never mind the sexist attitude from the ECB, if they really want to cater for mums with kids, make the game accessible:

    1) stop overcharging for the All Star Cricket programme / abject failure (by its own touted figures) . Alternatively subsidise it better; the ECB sits on millions, and can hardly be bothered to spend 2% of its monies on promoting participation, and I honestly would not be surprised that they take more out of Sport England (or whatever that body is that is supposed to promote participation in all kinds of sports, than they put in)

    2)) Don’t assume the new target audience are a bunch of retards. The countdown suggests that the ECB thinks the target audience qualifies as imbeciles. Usually that is not a great marketing ploy. What is next? 1 ball overs? Just six fielders on the field, because the kids cannot count more fielders?

    3) Don’t hide the existence of the game as much as possible. Sky now has rights to 98% of all domestic games, and they will definitely not broadcast 99% of the domestic FC games, and approximately 85% of the limited overs games (figure may be higher or lower, depending on the washouts). Clearly it would be beyond the ECB to get some of the 95% non-broadcast games on telly somewhere, not behind a pay-wall.

    4) Don’t just wipe out the women’s competition for no good sporting reason.

    5) Find ways to keep cricket in schools.

    With regards to mums and kids attending the games:

    1) better hours for the games (a 6 PM start, and how does that integrate with family dinners, since people have to go to the ground and travel back)? Never mind the prohibitive cost – has anyone at the ECB done some serious math on what an average family would need to spend to attend one game? And how that compares to the hundreds of alternatives?
    Either way, parents will have to spend hours to go to the grounds, and leaving, so whether they spend 6 hours and 3 minutes or 7 hours does not make much difference, does it?

    2) Ban alcohol sales completely at the ground. Include a sobriety check before you are given entry. Because clearly what children are dying for is the game being ruined by a bunch of drunken yahoos, or that the existence of the drunken yahoos at the ground is actively dissuading the parents to the grounds. If they want to watch a bunch of drunken yahoos, they can go to the local pub (or sit in front of the pub, if they’re denied entry).

    3) Add to that, expand toilet facilities (if you are going to target mums, be aware, that their toilet breaks can last a bit longer than men’s – and thus it can lead to unsupervised kiddo’s getting injured, hit by the ball whenever it is smacked for 7 (a new ECB novelty, boundary 7) or lost in the ground. Such experiences are extremely unlikely to result in repeat “customers”.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. LordCanisLupus Apr 26, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    Back to the England Chairman of Selectors issue, and the article in The Cricketer by our hero, Mike Selvey.

    Let’s have some good old fashioned clippage.

    “Full disclosure at this point. Having seen the job specification, having sought the advice of several people whose opinion I respect enormously, and with further encouragement from within the ECB itself, I applied.”

    I’ll let that last little nougat speak for itself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 26, 2018 / 10:26 pm

      It’s like frigging Groundhog Day on this site. Everything we have said on here for the last four years keeps repeating over and over again.

      But the ECB don’t leak (yawn) They are a reputable organisation (yawn) There is no grand conspiracy with certain tame journalists. (yawn)

      I hear they have decided not to hold international matches at the London stadium now. That was just Another shit idea pulled out of someone’s arse. I seem to remember shinny toy getting very excited about that one. We could have have had The board of the ECB, and the board of West Ham utd all together in the directors box at the same time. Would we notice any difference?

      Time for the counties to withdraw from this Mickey Mouse outfit and go their own way. They have the grounds, and the players. Leave the ECB with a few empty suits and a bunch of media lackeys.

      Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Apr 27, 2018 / 3:02 am

      So, here we are with the third round of CC games commencing and we have an Ed of Selectors without a no.2 in place and the promised list of ‘specialist scouts’ as yet unidentified… fully expect the ECB to have them in place once those pesky CC games are out of the way until September

      Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Apr 27, 2018 / 5:30 am

      Half of his problems with the impertinent Guardian commenters stemmed directly from his repeated talking down to people who were clearly at least his intellectual equal, regardless of where (or if) they went to university. As if he wasn’t as transparent as so many perceived.

      Every single time developments gave him an opportunity to re-evaluate, he doubled down instead, and just exacerbated the issue.

      I note that Vic Marks has now been in post for 18 months or so without receiving anything like the same opprobrium. I still ponder the parallel universe in which the arch-Florista stayed on. Last week would have been a joy to read, and another bonus for the moderators, no doubt. Instead both Vic and Andy Bull received 90% assent BTL.

      (I can crowbar music references in too!) Soft Cell sang about the standing joke of the year. Selvey is the standing joke of the entire post-2005 era of English cricket. Except for when the ECB attacked his colleague Donald Macrae over a Carberry piece, and when Graves spoke out of turn re his best mate’s bete noire, he has come down firmly on their side on literally every flashpoint.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 27, 2018 / 7:26 am

        “with further encouragement from within the ECB itself,”

        Hmm, I have often questioned if the governing body gave him “further encouragement” in getting a job with Sky? The very same broadcaster who has the contract for all domestic English cricket.

        Why else would they give him a job?

        After all they were prepared to tell Shane Warne to stop criticising the England captain, and there was a mark change in the way they stoped any criticisms of said player. Every time the Sky panel had to discuss another Cook failure they all looked as if they had been thrown a hand grenade.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Apr 27, 2018 / 11:27 am

          “with further encouragement from within the ECB itself”

          Which “pragmatist” could it be, still hanging around four years after he “called time”?

          I’m racking my brains.

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus Apr 27, 2018 / 11:42 am

            His pitch, well his justification. from the magazine article is:

            “I have been selecting sides for more than 30 years in the sports pages, but never with any accountability and I relished the chance to have that”.

            Fantasy cricket managers just banged their head on their laptops.

            Like

          • Mark Apr 27, 2018 / 11:59 am

            Please tell me that is not a tue quote? It’s a parody, yes?

            He thinks playing fantasy cricket in the media gives him the credentials to get the job? Jesus wept, on that basis every PlayStation player should be England football, Rugby and cricket selector or manager.

            Can you imagine if the the under 15 PlayStation champion was interviewed for the job of selector?

            Of course he did say Strauss calling KP a c*** was that years top five cricketing highlights. I suspect that may be the real reason he got an interview.

            Like

  14. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 26, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    In other news…I understand there’s a very rich American entrepreneur in town with bucketloads of cash wanting to buy a stadium…What price Lords Colin??

    Like

    • Mark Apr 27, 2018 / 8:14 am

      I have been saying for decades the FA is not fit for purpose. Should have been destroyed and a new body with a different, and clearly laid out structure put in place to run English football. There needed to be a cross party inquiry into the goings on at the FA.

      Whatever your thoughts on how the new Wembley was built, and how much it cost it’s there now surely it now belongs to the nation? The idea it should be just sold off on a whim by people who have a terrible track record of making any long term decisions is scandalous.

      And does anyone trust these morons to spend the money wisely? They have a track record of abject failure in most aspects of improving players. Very good at paying themselves and their cronies large salaries mind, where I suspect all the money will go.

      The similarities between the clowns at the ECB and the FA are remarkably similar. Both selling the game out and the fan down the river. The FA haven’t yet come up with reducing the game to 20 minutes and getting rid of the off side law. But it can’t be long.

      Like

      • thelegglance Apr 27, 2018 / 8:25 am

        Can’t totally agree with that. The FA, for all its flaws, funds the game at the basic level to a far higher degree than the ECB would ever dream about. That’s probably because the FA holds elections to itself at every level, forcing them to be accountable at County level and below for what they do, rather than simply appointing a single member on one committee to be responsible for the entire game outside professional levels.
        The FA aren’t any kind of paragon of virtue, but that they are so much better than the ECB speaks volumes. The very fact any sale of Wembley would be used to release cash to the amateur game demonstrates clearly the difference between the organisations – can you really imagine that being the ECB’s focus if a similar thing happened to them?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Apr 27, 2018 / 11:51 am

          They will squander the money they get from selling the stadium. It will disappear into a black hole of nothingness. And then what? What happens when it’s gone?

          How will they fund the amateur game when they no longer have an asset to sell off? The FA were involved in setting up the Premiership which put into place a system where the money would be kept by the big clubs and not go down to the lower leagues.

          They both sold out their sports for money. The cricket decision to put the game behind a pay wall has come back to haunt the sport much faster. Football is only now reaping what it sowed. All the money has gone to the elite, and the cupboard is bare. Look at The money going to agents, never mind players, but agents paid for by clubs. Millions of millions into the pockets of agents.

          That’s your grass roots right there.

          Like

          • thelegglance Apr 27, 2018 / 12:06 pm

            I’m not going to try and claim how amazing the FA are, but it is the case they do vastly more than the ECB do.

            I’m not sure why this is so controversial. It’s not even close.

            Liked by 1 person

  15. thebogfather Apr 27, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Dear ECB
    Having sold the soul of our game for your 15.6 minutes of fame
    May we, the lovers of Cricket express our thoughts explicit, here
    For when one or many reply to your twitter feed
    ne’er a response nor acknowledgement is e’er received
    Thus your Ton with a countdown is laughed at and frowned
    Each one of you must, if love of the game and integrity is a truth and trust thrust
    Stand down, resign, then confess…your failure was under duress
    Fed in secret wiles, from the ill-fitting greasy suit, that is SlurGiles

    He may hide away, yet still rides the play
    Of his ‘EmptySuit’ game killing successor
    His sway in secret MSM hid display
    Still excretes sh!t fame, willing be the long-game oppressor

    Oh, Slur Giles, and your loving louse comparison
    Empty Suit, lacking trust or truth, Tom Harrison
    May you both become the true and accused
    Killingly held sway, as one assuredly abused
    By each and every one
    Including ‘kids and mums’
    For, let’s be honest here
    You’re c’nuts without a clue
    Less is money, therefore all you’ll accrue
    Is The End,of Cricket…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. d'Arthez Apr 27, 2018 / 2:55 pm

    In a surprising / shocking move (but not really) the ICC have decided to (try to) award all international teams T20I status (middle of 2018 for women, January 2019 for men).

    Despite all stated intentions, it seems rather obvious that they intend to make T20 the sole form of the game in a few years. Why do you ask? Just look at how well the ICC has funded the WCL Divisions …. Several divisions folded in the last few years, as poor India, England and the other Full Members were so desperate for funds, that they took it from the Members who obviously only needed the money to be able to AFFORD to play international cricket. Brilliant growth strategy.

    But at least, one cannot accuse the ICC of keeping it complicated. Unlike the ECB with this planned monstrosity of 16.Bore

    Liked by 1 person

    • AB Apr 27, 2018 / 3:19 pm

      I’d be ok if it was j100 countries playing T20 games and ~12 countries playing test matches.

      Like

    • mdpayne87 Apr 28, 2018 / 9:35 am

      Do the same for ODIs and Tests and then we really will have a global game on our hands.

      Like

  17. Sri.grins Apr 28, 2018 / 12:25 am

    Plunkett is bowling quite well and is impressive

    Like

  18. Deep Purple Fred Apr 29, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    Lupis you weren’t bloody wrong about Big Ben. It’s not just a bit of scaffolding so they can slap on a coat of paint, they’ve wrapped it up like a fortress. And half of Westminster.

    Still, there were all these black people chanting “Amber Rudd has got to go”, that also led us to a good discussion about England. There’s a statue of Mandela there too. England is quite complicated.

    Like

    • Silk Apr 29, 2018 / 6:42 pm

      I have to cycle round Parliament Square every day. Its a nightmare.

      Like

      • quebecer Apr 29, 2018 / 9:26 pm

        That’s cycling for you.

        Like

  19. Deep Purple Fred Apr 29, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    You let these types into England, next thng you know they’ll be playing cricket for you.

    Teenage ennui was finally moved to admit that in London you can be what you want. Buildings are boring but there are goths!

    Why do soldiers frog march in kilts at Buckingham? Do they do it in winter too? What’s the point of the Queen? Sorry, wrong father to ask. I told her later it was because she was an important connection for England to its history and tradition, and she just laughed at me because it took me three hours to come up with an answer. I should have stuck with the tourism thing.

    Like

    • northernlight71 Apr 30, 2018 / 6:53 am

      The Saxe-Coburg Gotha clan are indeed a very important connection to the history of England. A history where having the right family and not being Catholic was much more important than actually being from England 🙂
      Perhaps you should have stuck with “There is no point to the Queen….” 🙂

      Like

      • BoredInAustria May 6, 2018 / 6:30 am

        Years ago I had some consultancy in a large middle eastern kingdom out of the UK. Before the meeting, we made some small talk. My client was interested in the British Monarchy. As a South African born Austrian citizen and convinced republican I was perfectly placed to answer his questions.

        “YouRRR Queen, does she make laws…”
        I had an attempt to explain the relationship oh HRM regarding legislation.

        The next question: “YouRRR Queen, can she sentence someone to death….?”
        I had a careful discussion on the UK legal system, death penalty etc.

        A third question followed: “YouRRR Queen, can she declare war..?”
        Also this question I tried to explain the parliamentary system, the role of the monarchy etc.

        My host clearly was able to form an opinion, or maybe just bored with the discussion. A final question: “WHY do you have a queen?”

        At this point my British born colleague joined to hear the final question, and bring an informed perspective on the discussion: “She is good for tourism…”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Deep Purple Fred May 7, 2018 / 10:26 am

          That’s really funny. It’s true it’s a pretty poor monarchy by Middle Eastern standards. She doesn’t even do stonings. At least she doesn’t ride her bike around, like the Dutch Queen.

          I stll think she offers emotional support to the English though, a reminder of former glories. Otherwise people wouldn’t cheer everytime they stick their nose outside the palace.

          Like

          • nonoxcol May 8, 2018 / 10:16 am

            Generalising about the English, how very dare you!

            There is literally nothing I find more puzzling about this country than the existence of actual living, breathing people with (one assumes) lives of their own, who camp overnight outside the hospital when there’s a royal birth.

            Some of us also remain bewildered by the public reaction to events of 31st August – 6th September 1997, but you could probably write a multi-faceted sociological or cultural studies thesis on that. And I don’t have that kind of time.

            Like

    • Zephirine May 1, 2018 / 1:50 am

      It’s tricky. You start to say “Because that’s how we’ve always done it and the traditions go back, ooh, hundreds of….” and then you remember that most of our ceremonial was invented either by Victoria (anything in tartan) or by Edward VII (most of the gilt) and so is not that old at all, really. And yep, tourism.

      But it is quite true that in London you can be what you want. Paddington Bear said so.

      Like

  20. Topshelf May 2, 2018 / 7:50 am

    Times pundits have given their tips to Ed Smith for selection. Simon Hughes goes for Nick Gubbins, a Middlesex player, even manages to slip “with aplomb” into his copy.

    Lizzie Ammon – whom I generally consider pretty sensible – picks Amar Virdi, saying “the coaches at Loughborough were impressed by how many revolutions he got on the ball in testing last year.”

    Link for those who pay…

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/sport/which-county-starlets-should-ed-smith-have-his-eye-on-for-england-xv06hp6lr

    What’s striking for me from the list – Tom Helm, Joe Clarke, Amar Virdi, Ben Foakes, Jamie Overton, Nick Gubbins, Dom Bess, Ollie Pope and Sam Northeast – is how many are prefaced with “not ready yet.” Or are injured.

    And not one from a county north of Worcester.

    Like

    • thebogfather May 2, 2018 / 10:44 am

      Like

    • Sophie May 2, 2018 / 12:31 pm

      Not saying he wouldn’t, but I find it funny how everyone just takes it for granted that Foakes would do well as a batsman in tests.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. northernlight71 May 2, 2018 / 1:34 pm

    Someone needs to let Mike Selvey know that England are suddenly the top ranked ODI team in the world, by virtue of the fact that the last few games in 2015 that we had to labour under special Alastair as captain have been taken out of the new calculation equation.
    I only think that someone should spread the news, as I know nobody here really cares 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 May 2, 2018 / 10:50 pm

        Oh yes, that article and the comments underneath it are a joy.
        I think my new favourite Cook quote will be “Hindsight has probably proved them wrong….”
        Somebody might want to point out to him that these days, a bit more hindsight has proved them, bizarrely, completely right. If only they’d had the cojones to complete the job with the Test captaincy at the same time……

        Like

      • nonoxcol May 3, 2018 / 9:00 am

        I’d forgotten that one. A fun read – quite amazed at the unanimity of derision.

        I think I just about still cared then. His hundred in Barbados, Strauss/KP/Graves, the Worst Ashes Ever and the reaction to it pretty much ended that. The NZ series was objectively great, but I can’t say I was an “England fan” during it.

        Like

        • Zephirine May 3, 2018 / 8:24 pm

          Sad, though, how many of us had hopes of Colin Graves.

          Like

          • quebecer May 4, 2018 / 3:03 pm

            I’m even more ridiculous given that I thought Strauss’ natural competitiveness and being a proven winner might make his a decent enough choice for his position. I thought his need to win would trump anything else. I’m such an idiot.

            Like

          • Deep Purple Fred May 4, 2018 / 4:13 pm

            Full agreement from me on that.

            Like

          • quebecer May 5, 2018 / 1:11 am

            Hope you enjoy the culture change under Langer.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Deep Purple Fred May 5, 2018 / 12:53 pm

            The culture is in safe hands.
            Ponting had it right, no one complained about culture when we won the ashes. Lessons learnt: don’t lose, don’t get caught, and deny everything.

            The cricket coach doesn’t need to worry about culture, our Cultural Attaché Sir Les Patterson takes care of all that stuff.

            Like

          • quebecer May 5, 2018 / 5:39 pm

            Quite right.

            P.S. Glad your daughter got the point about London.

            Like

          • Deep Purple Fred May 7, 2018 / 10:28 am

            I see an opportunity for Baldrick. Australia is short an opener at present, he’d fit right in.

            Like

  22. dlpthomas May 8, 2018 / 1:28 pm

    Australia are really taking the piss by including Fran Karacic in their world cup squad. He barely speaks English, has never even visited Australia but is eligible for selection because his father was born here. The justification is “we needed a right back and it’s legal.” So, remember that name when the Australians have a whinge if / when Archer plays for England,

    Like

  23. Mark May 8, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    The ECB is now beyond parody.

    Here is a glimpse of what they have in store for us……

    If you fast forward to 51.50 you can see David Gower and Bernie Clifton leading the way.

    Like

  24. Zephirine May 9, 2018 / 12:38 am

    “Another concern is the Test players like Joe Root and Ben Stokes. They’ll be allocated to a team for marketing purposes but won’t be playing,” Mitchell said. “The point was made [by the ECB] that this new audience won’t necessarily know who Stokes and Root are anyway.”

    It’s not often that words fail me, but they did when I read that.

    That’s Daryl Mitchell from the PCA. However, elsewhere he seems to suggest a bit of back-pedalling is going on:

    “[The ECB] are very keen to stress that it is still a concept,” said Mitchell, who was one of only three players consulted before The Hundred was announced last month. “It is not set in stone, it is still a concept and an idea – but one they are very keen on.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/may/08/the-hundred-ecb-pca-players-approval

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 9, 2018 / 7:04 am

      As NorthernLight says on Twitter the use of the word “payback” is interesting. This is also a colossal straw man. Too much damage has been done now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol May 9, 2018 / 8:04 am

        Bloody hell, even one of his former colleagues has lost patience with him. So naturally, ECB Special Award resorts to the patronising “Barney….” straight away. You can almost see the little tap on the head.

        Also, “specifically BBC” – it’s literally 20 years this August since anyone saw a ball of Test cricket on the sodding BBC.

        Ah, smart phones and kids further down. CHECK.
        Ah, poor ickle viewers who want to pay through the nose and pull the ladder up because they can’t wait for a horse race to finish. CHECK.

        Incidentally, I have never liked C5’s “excellent” highlights show, and the worst thing about the Ashes 2005 DVDs is that they’re almost entirely comprised of the S&V highlights shows, so day 3 at Edgbaston or day 5 at Old Trafford get the same allotted time as certain less eventful days and not much more than the rain-interrupted days. It’s a nit-pick, because they’d be one of the first things I’d save in a fire anyway, but the idea that highlights are a replacement for live in your formative years is absolute balderdash.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mark May 9, 2018 / 9:16 am

        So to prove those of us wrong for suggesting that a minority sport, that is not played in state schools anymore might become completely invisible behind a pay wall the ECB and its stenographers (people like you Selvey) would dream up a Mickey mouse abortion of a game called 16.4 just as payback?

        You are a pillock Selvey. A moron who has been wrong almost constantly for the last four to five years. Instead of now blaming those who were proved to be right a bit of humble pie should be eaten. Try admitting you got it wrong. If you don’t, you will just become an even bigger laughing stock.

        You now align with the equally moronic Strauss who increasingly sounds as if he is a sandwich short of a picnic. Seriously? you want to piss off those existing cricket supporters,(customers) in search of an unknown, and unspecified new audience? (Mums and woman of low intelligence who can’t count to 6 apparently) in a new game in which England’s top players won’t even participate, and it doesn’t matter because the public have no clue who they are anyway?

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Mark May 9, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    So cricket Australia show themselves to be as bigger charlatans, and liars as The ECB. If you are one of the chosen lizard people you can do pretty much anything you please, and a job will be found for you somewhere on the gravy train.

    Even if what you do is bad only a punishment of about 1 month will be seen as sufficient before a new job is created out of thin air to keep the wolf from the door. However, whistling and looking out of the window will get you a life ban if you are not from the right class of lizard

    The game is run by truly horrible people. I am rapidly coming to the view that I hope they end up sinking the whole sport like the Titanic to the bottom of the ocean. And I hope they all drown in the process.

    Like

    • Mark May 9, 2018 / 2:35 pm

      The ECB show off their new version of the Tour de France.

      Mums who can’t understand why the wheels have to be the same size can enjoy this new version where wheels can be of many different combinations, colours and sizes.

      George Harrison said…..”We won’t actully be touring all of France. These cycles are bloody uncomftobale after 30 mins. But this is ideal for the kids and the drunks, our target audience.”

      Mr Shinny toy of no fixed abode said…..”I think it’s brilliant because thats what I always say however stupid the latest idea is.”

      Liked by 1 person

  26. northernlight71 May 9, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    I think we need an Open thread for the Hundred. Just because there seems to be new nonsense every day…..nay almost every hour….. which could and can amuse us as we sit in despair at the way cricket in this country is run.
    I mean, I long since stopped getting much pleasure from English cricket. All I have now is the positive effect of schadenfreude as I watch the ECB twist and turn in the wind.
    Also, following Selvey on Twitter makes me upset. I need an antidote for that.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Mark May 9, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    Danny Mills is showing on BBC 5 live why you don’t ask ex players for their views on fans. They don’t understand fans, they only see everything from the point of view of players.

    One day clubs like Leicester and Stoke and WBA may not have any fans, and people like Danny Mills won’t understand why. Because according to them you should just turn up and pay your hard earned regardless what shite is served up in front of you.

    Players don’t understand what entertainment is. They see fans as just cows to be milked for their ludicrous wages. The Premiership is so overdue a massive recession. I can’t wait.

    Like

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