First, Do no Harm

We’ve written extensively on the whole ECB Hundred omnishambles, to the point where we leave it for a while as there seems little else to say, especially when the ECB themselves seem so determined to remove the need for nasty blogs to have a go at them by coming out with statements and decisions so cretinous as to need no further comment.

Still, as was pointed out in the comments to the last article, we should leave a thread open for people to laugh themselves silly comment on the latest fun and games, so here it is.

The latest entertainment came from the meeting between the PCA and the ECB, where Daryl Mitchell did our erstwhile overlords few favours with his words to the media afterwards. He warned everyone that without players there is no game, something that’s entirely true, though it remains notable how no one in the upper echelons of English cricket appears to have noticed that without supporters there is no game either. Which perhaps goes some way toward explaining the unique marketing strategy of infuriating and then rejecting cricket fans up and down the country as well as at the same time patronising those they want to come instead.

Still, that wasn’t the killer line. That came later with this gem:

Root and Stokes will be allocated to a team for marketing purposes, but they won’t be playing. The ECB made the point that this new audience won’t necessarily know who Stokes and Root are anyway”

Aside from the obvious pleasure of seeing the ECB receiving a dose of their own medicine and being thrown under the bus by someone else, it’s such a startling thing to say on so many levels. To begin with, an admission that the two most high profile players (for one reason or another) in the England set up aren’t known by the wider public is symptomatic of the disastrous profile of cricket generally, something given fair warning about when Root didn’t make the shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year even though he was number one batsman in the world at the time.

But it’s more than that. The ECB are going to be trying to push a competition absent their most high profile players, and saying it doesn’t matter. This hardly smacks of an attractive package for anyone to rush out and buy tickets. At the same time, the word is that the teams won’t be named after their geographical locations, rather impressively limiting the kind of tribal interest that team sports require. A little snippet that appeared saying some local players might be needed was a truly delicious example of an organisation that appear to have no idea what they’re doing.

Far more serious for cricket generally is Australia’s decision to cancel Bangladesh’s tour because they say it’s not financially viable. The ECB and Cricket Australia appear to be in competition with each other to see who is the more incompetent – a governing body Ashes if you will. The trouble is, the game itself is what is being burned.

If there’s anything that’s certain from all this, it’s that neither remotely cares for cricket supporters nor the integrity of the game itself. That may not be surprising, but it is an abrogation of their primary roles. Indeed their only role – for if they care not for the game of cricket and those who love it, what purpose do they serve?