Third, Don’t Hack Off Your Customer Base

First of all I’d like to apologise for the length of time since I last posted anything, as in the main this has been due to the sheer volume of work that I have had on for the last couple of months; however this is not the only reason. I must admit that I’ve fallen out of love with the game and rather than trying to cobble something half-hearted together, which would not represent the sheer brilliance of the pieces from the other writers, I decided also to take a break from writing. I also admit that I was very tempted to walk away all together. Being a writer on a blog does seem to take over your life at times, and due to the nature of the things that we write, it also makes oneself a bit of a marked man on social media. I’ve gotten fed up of being called ‘an Alastair Cook hater’, a ‘one-eyed writer’, ‘KP fanboy’ etc. as it does get tiresome after a short while, though thankfully the ‘mute’ button on Twitter has proved to be quite an effective tool. There was also a part of me that felt, and has done for a little while, that we are ‘simply pissing in the wind’ against an organization who has no regard for the game, its’ players and certainly not its’ fan, so what is the point in trying to hold them to account?

We then of course come to the England team, a ‘mediocre’ (right word Colin, just aimed at the wrong people) bunch of egotistical prima donnas who seem to stop performing as soon as they leave the comfort of the favorable (doctored) pitches that they are regularly served up in England. I must admit also that for the first time in my life, I actually didn’t want England to take the wickets they needed to win the 2nd Test in New Zealand, I didn’t want the uncomfortable truth that England’s record away from home over the past 2 years is: Played: 12, Won: 0, Lost: 9, Drawn: 3. I also didn’t want the normal England cricket hagiographers trying to spin a positive picture, when our batting is beyond brittle, our bowling is decidedly average and that we are normally reliant on one of three players to help carry the rest of the team (clue – it’s not Alastair Cook). More worryingly though is that I’ve stopped identifying with and even stopped caring about this team. We might have been a bit rubbish in the 90’s but there were some world class teams in play then and at least they seemed to try their hardest! You look at this team now when things are going wrong and it seems that most of them don’t really care that much as they have a photo shoot in the morning or a pub to promote. Now I might by 1000% wrong on this, but this is just how I feel about our Test team at the moment. Please don’t think that this is going to be a ‘oh woe me’ piece, but I did feel that I needed to provide an explanation for my absence from writing for so long.

Although I’m hardly enamoured by the England team, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been enjoying watching other cricket, as this game can still give me the same buzz as it always has. I’ve been to 3 days at different county games this year (including heading to the H’Oval with Dmitri last Friday). There are of course, some people on the blog that love county cricket and many more who don’t and whilst there will always be conversations around the ‘quality of the product’, the enthusiasm and determination of the players cannot be faulted. The same can also be said of the few thousand fans that turn up to the games. These guys are the lifeblood of the sport, they are the ones who are passionate about their team and their sport and there isn’t a prima donna in sight! I was sitting in the stands with a paper, a couple of beers and some sun which made me fully appreciate what we have got with regards to live cricket. There were a couple thousand there like me too.

Yet these are the very group that the ECB have deemed not suitable for the game, not their type of fan so to speak. They have already marginalized county cricket to the very outskirts of the season, so that the games are either played too early or too late in the season, when the weather isn’t conducive to producing ‘good and fair pitches’. They have also shuffled the majority of these games to a Monday or Tuesday start, which means that the majority who work are now unable to see them (I believe the last round of county games are the last ones that will be started on a Thursday for the rest of the season, with the odd game starting on the Wednesday for those that work). All for what? So we can shunt in a format of the game (and I broadly use the word ‘game’) that has been designed on the back of a fag packet and a format that anyone who actually loves the game of cricket reviles? As we keep being told, this format is not for fans of cricket, it’s for mothers and children, who obviously struggle with a game that contains 120 balls each, but are going to flock to a game that has 100 balls and some whacky gimmicks (on the subject, we may as well replace Root and Stokes as the marketing pin ups with Peppa Pig and One Direction).

This week the lunatics who the run the asylum have gone even further by actively contradicting themselves whether this format is set in stone, with Harrison saying to the counties it wasn’t and Graves telling the media that it was. Of course the players and the fans were the last to know. We even had the quite comical quote from Graves below:

If anyone thinks that it is a laughing stock then I totally disagree,” Graves told Telegraph Sport. “This has gone through our Twenty20 board, the ECB board, we talked to the hierarchy of the PCA. We could not go further with the players at that time but now we have launched the concept we will talk to everybody.

“It is exciting and I think it is fantastic opportunity to launch a new form of cricket. It is not at the expense of the others. We all want county cricket, Test cricket and T20 but it is something to attract a new audience and expand the reach of what we do.

“We chose eight venues that we thought were right for the new competition. We offered them (Surrey) the opportunity to be one of those venues. If they don’t want to be that venue then all they have to do is tell us. I have got three venues who are desperate to have it. We are not forcing anybody to have it. If they don’t want it, fine. But if they do want it, they have to be 100 percent committed. People who make those sort of comments need to make sure they are totally on board. If they are not on board then fine we will go somewhere else. 

All good bluster, but unfortunately he got the main part of the quote wrong, it is a laughing stock and I’m sure that cricket boards all over the world are chuckling into their beer, watching the ECB continually shoot itself in the foot and taking some of the heat off themselves (hello Australia!).

At the heart of his comments, was this ‘magical new audience’ that the ECB suits have been told to repeat on nearly a daily basis. Naturally we haven’t been told how they plan to attract this new audience, who it is and the research behind this that means that people who have no interest in cricket are suddenly going to be won round by a 100 ball tournament with a 10 ball final over and some glitzy marketing fare. Come on Colin spill the beans, show us the proof that there is an appetite from non-cricket fans because the rest of us feel jolly pissed off that you are actively ruining the game we love! All this from a so-called ‘business man’.

Yet whilst the ECB continues to stumble around like a drunk vagrant, they have forgotten the golden rule of business (for we are no longer fans, just commodities and the ECB is a business not a board anymore), which is to consolidate and protect your current market before going head over heals for a new market set. The number of businesses that I’ve seen fail because they stopped delivering for their current customers whilst on the hunt to engage new customers is alarmingly high, yet this is exactly what the ECB are doing. When this farce of a format fails and believe me it will fail spectacularly, there is a very strong chance that fans like you and I will have lost any last vestiges of interest for the game. The people who currently attend county games, watch the live feeds and follow the international game on sky or TMS will have long gone, appalled at the fact that our governing body has not only ruined the game but have actively told them that our support is not good enough. We are certainly ‘not the right type of fans’. Sure the entitled idiots will still turn up at Lords each year to network and quaff over-priced champagne, but aside from that it is more likely you’ll see tumbleweed rather than people, if we even have a county or Test team by then. The ECB will be left with a lucrative TV deal and no more, because no matter the sport, it’s needs its’ share of passionate fans to survive, the very essence of the people that the ECB are trying to alienate.


47 thoughts on “Third, Don’t Hack Off Your Customer Base

  1. oreston May 18, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Welcome back Sean. Not that you haven’t been missed, but I don’t think there’s any need to apologise for the lack of posting. The urge to run away screaming from the present state of affairs is merely a natural and excusable symptom of the condition our condition is in (…there’s an ancient music reference for you!)
    I take some comfort from the knots the ECB are tying themselves up in every time one of them opens their mouth about the Hundred. And then there’s this – the sort of crazy talk hitherto only seen in comments here or TFT. I don’t set any particular store by Nash’s remarks but they are at least an indication of how a mainstream conversation about the fundamental organisation and governance of the game in England is beginning to take shape. It’s much too little and probably far too late, but at least the corpse is twitching a little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto May 18, 2018 / 4:01 pm

      It’s a tough one. I read a headline about the counties breaking away from the ECB and my heart leaps with hope, then I see the name attached to the quote and I think “Not that chancer”. Overall though, if the unsayable has become sayable, then that’s good, right?


      • oreston May 18, 2018 / 4:22 pm

        Yep, that was exactly my reaction to it Rooto. Where there’s life there’s hope… just not very much.


    • Sean May 18, 2018 / 5:59 pm

      Nash is a complicated one, as he has come out now and been very vocal in his criticism of the ECB’s governance.

      Yet he was an ECB director for many years and voted for the franchise T20 as chairman of Somerset. Smacks of hypocrisy to me.

      I was going to add in to this piece ‘about the now vocal current and former county chairmen, but decided against it.

      In the end most of the county’s invited the devil to door, do have no reason to be surprised when it devours them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thebogfather May 18, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    This dripping death, fed by those ‘in the know’ yet so bereft
    Of a singular clue, one to a ton of us, ignored, me and you
    Slipping into sycophantic deaf self love
    Ripping away the heart of OUR GAME with cash-cowed shit gloves (smell it)
    The ECB continues to appall – Fuck Them All
    You’ve lost our loving feeling, of OUR GAME, on its knees and reeling
    Deeper into the abyss of your greed, ineptitude, sheer ignorance of this crisis
    A reality to which you are so blind, no sense and nonsense, patheticity defined
    Completely, self inflicted sh!t you’ve spread, laughing stocks all, crapping in your own bed
    Go Now

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OscarDaBosca May 18, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    Please just make it stop…

    Its a stupid idea, it has absolutely no merits whatsoever and furthermore, why does a sport need a governing body it it’s sole r’aison d’etre isn’t to look after the interests of the game?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mark May 18, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    I know exactly how you feel Sean. I love this blog, and yet there is nothing really to say anymore. At the height of the KP affair the powers that be wanted this site destroyed. Well, they are destroying the game of cricket instead.

    The vandalism they have done in a few years is shocking. I am pleased those who insulted you by calling you ‘an Alastair Cook hater’ have had their comeuppance. They deserve Graves, and the other so called leaders and strategists. I hope they savoured Graves car crash interview. You own it boys!

    I my self am realising that the game I love is being destroyed supposedly to save it. But at what stage is it no longer cricket? 20 overs? 16.4 overs? Selveys idiotic 20 overs of five balls each? If the only way they can fill a ground is to change cricket so fundamentally that it’s not cricket then they are selling snake oil. Under the trade descriptions act they should be prosecuted for misrepresentation.

    Graves sounds desperate as he begs Surrey to sign up. Like a dodgy car salesman he says if you don’t buy it today, I have three other buyers in the wings? Why don’t you sell it to them in that case? Because he is desperate to have the Oval (in London) as part of his…..Its a knockout extravaganza.

    As the summer begins to take off cricket at county level shuts down. Genius. By all accounts the Blast is doing ok, which is what 20/20 was supposed to do. But the owners of the game want a franchise model above all else that reduces the numbers of teams, and destroys the old county links. The reason for this is they hope to attract giant corporate bodies to invest in the future. You can look forward to …..Ben and Jerry’s Vs Black and Decker power tools.

    Meanwhile the governing bodies continue to try to fire fight for the same problems they have caused by not taking stronger action in the past. The toss in test matches may be dispensed with because they have failed completely to stop sides creating one sided home series on dodgy pitches.

    The reduction to 16.4 is because the slow over rate (which they have done nothing about) has meant they can’t even get 20 overs in on time.

    Time for a glass of wine, and a sit in the garden and contemplate life without cricket in the future.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sean May 18, 2018 / 5:54 pm

      Couldn’t agree with you more Mark, you sum up my feelings completely. It’s not just this stupid competition, it’s the fact that our own governing body is complicit in tearing apart the game I love…


    • thebogfather May 18, 2018 / 6:55 pm

      This, fucking This! What happens when 16.4 gets slowed down (as it will) be it by adverts, strategic time outs (adverts) or the ineptitude of the umpires to control the game (as is now with IPL), because they are being told to slow it down for TV… Have TheAnalkissed and Selfey discussed this as they jump from Sir Giles Snark to EmptySuit and Costcunter love-ins?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. northernlight71 May 18, 2018 / 6:01 pm

    Barney Ronay is busy regurgitating a thesaurus over at the Guardian, basically doing an Ed Smith and using hundreds of words to say “Buttler is an exciting cricketer who people might have heard of therefore putting him in the Test team makes sense….”
    Personally, it’s open a bottle of wine time here in sunny Scotland. I’m too tired to get that annoyed by any of it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rooto May 18, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    Friday night thoughts.
    Chin up everyone. Cricket will never die. It’s just that, by the time we’re old and grey, we’ll be reliant on an umpire in a village match with a go-pro and a 5G connection to actually watch any of it. Back to the days of Hambledon versus Old Sarum probably. Not so bad. 🙂


    • thelegglance May 18, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      Hambledon are jonny-come-latelys compared to many of the Sussex clubs. Their marketing has been outstanding…!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sean May 18, 2018 / 8:25 pm

        You need to up your game Chris for your local side, perhaps ten 25 ball overs whilst wearing scuba equipment might do it…


        • thelegglance May 18, 2018 / 8:52 pm

          I’m just thinking how long a 25 ball over by me would take, once you’ve factored in the wides, lost balls and heart attacks.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sean May 18, 2018 / 8:57 pm

            I’d be bowling off a 2 step run up…


          • thelegglance May 18, 2018 / 9:32 pm

            That reminds me of the unluckiest batsmen in the world. Being a wicketkeeper, I had the throwing arm you’d expect from a keeper.

            Picture the scene as a batsman drops it and runs. I swoop, pick up the ball and throw down the stumps at the bowlers end. Chagrined batsman.

            A few overs later, the next guy did the same thing. Swooped again, threw down the stumps. Two run outs from direct hits.

            In the bar after the oppo lamented the risk taking, the way they’d thrown away two wickets to such profligacy.

            And what I never mentioned (though others did when they’d gone) was that in 25 years of keeping, those were the only two occasions I ever hit the stumps direct. The only ones!

            Poor sods.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Sean May 18, 2018 / 9:50 pm

            2 more than me. The only run out I ever got was when I was bowling and the batsman hit it at me. It touched my fingers whilst I was ducking and ran the non striker out..


    • northernlight71 May 18, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      “By the time we’re old and grey?!”

      As Shakespeare might say: For this relief, much thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Benny May 19, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    That’s a fine, heartfelt post Sean. I’m pretty much of the same mind.

    Must say that, while Test cricket is the ultimate, the great satisfaction for a cricket lover is, as you say, to sit in the open (in decent weather), beer in hand, watching some skilful players trying their hardest. In that respect, if the boards kill off Test cricket but county cricket remains, I won’t be too sad in my dotage. Just a shame I’m too old and feeble to play any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean May 19, 2018 / 2:31 pm

      Thanks Benny.


  8. Benny May 19, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    Oh yes, I have quite a bit of business experience and can confirm that most companies realised many years ago that, not only is it a good idea to encourage existing customers, it’s cheaper. Odd that Mr T20 Cutter never discovered that.


  9. Deep Purple Fred May 19, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    I’ve finally found an answer to that vexing question of “what is the Queen for?” Her purpose in life was to provide a platform for a black American preacher to deliver a sermon on love and fire at a royal Windsor wedding.
    Extraordinary, thrown into relief by the stone cold faces of the white establishment listening to him. I’m sure the Duke of Edinburgh was wondering how the hell this guy got past security.
    You can retire now Elizabeth II, your life’s work is done, and it was magnificent.
    You can indeed be whoever you want to be in London, even in Windsor.


    • quebecer May 20, 2018 / 6:59 pm

      She’s also rather good at annoying Australians. God bless ‘er.


      • Deep Purple Fred May 20, 2018 / 8:35 pm

        No! I’m sure if Charles was King, Australia would be a republic by now, but she makes even the toughest aussie bloke pause and prevaricate. It just doesn’t seem right somehow to criticise her.
        I don’t claim to understand this, I’m just reporting.

        I’m pretty sure I can remember footage of an Australian team being introduced to her, in awe, with Brett Lee grinning sheepishly like a schoolboy.

        Typical of England anyway, couldn’t find a decent princess in their own ranks so they nicked one from the colonies. Lets hope it works out better for her than it did for KP.

        Liked by 1 person

        • quebecer May 22, 2018 / 1:15 am

          Do those toughest Aussie blokes know what prevaricate means? Anyway, yes, and I also wonder if The Big Q hadn’t been so good at her job whether the UK might be a republic too.

          And yes, good luck to whatshername, though we don’t always get our cherry picking from the colonies correct. Witness the Pattinson brothers. And Robson and Renshaw (the only batsman who’s looked test class in early season conditions in the county championship).

          Got to love Brett Lee.


          • Deep Purple Fred May 22, 2018 / 3:12 pm

            Ah yes, the Pattinsons. That was a doozy. Thanks for reminding me.


  10. Grenville May 20, 2018 / 8:47 am

    I have no more to say about the steaming pile of malfeasance thatis the ecb.

    I am however very excited about the upcoming too short, two test series (though a bit concerned that it will be ruined by the pakistanis needing to fast — if they were jewish, I am sure that there would be a rabbinic get out, but my outsiders impression is that muslims are less good at finding loopholes/more serious in their devotion than us).

    The point is that Pakistan have, as always, a tasty attack, especially if Amir’s knee holds up. Abbass looks a good prospect. Shadab might fail but, you know, legspin, so romantic. I love Asad Shafiq in full flow. Azhar isn’t beautiful, but he is effective. The new ul haq looks promising, as does the Harris Sohail (any relation?). I know that Arthur rates Babar Azam, but I would rather see Fawad Alam. They might fail spectacularly. I am not convinced by Arthur as coach, but if they click then they will put on totals that attack can defend. They have also had a good warm up with some tough cricket.

    Team ecb look better without Vince and with Root at 3, but I would rather see him play in his preferred spot. It is a risk, I feel. I don’t get Butler at 7. He may well be the answer, but surely at either 5 or 6 or keeping wicket. Still it looks like a better side than the one that Whitaker picked. More fire power. It is a crying shame that there is no room for Patel, Hales and Rashid. None may have been the answer, but I’d have backed Hales over Malan and Rashid over Bess.

    England are a weak team and Pakistan should, I think, roll them over, I have been wrong before.

    Also what is the point ofFlower?


    • quebecer May 20, 2018 / 7:00 pm

      The callow nature of the Pakistani batting and the conditions they’ll be facing should make England heavy favourites, surely.


    • quebecer May 20, 2018 / 7:07 pm

      The absence of Hales and Rashid – and the recall of Buttler – all point to the mistakes made previously accumulating and now leaving us with nowhere to go.

      We had the chance to solve the Buttler/Bairstow issues a while ago and went with what we can now see was the wrong option. Back then, there wasn’t much to choose between Bairstow and Buttler with the gloves (if anything Buttler may have shaded that) and any honest assessment wouldn’t have shown a serious vacuum in our batting, and that Bairstow was clearly one of the best 5 batsmen in England. Maybe best three, even then (after he’d done his stint back with Yorkshire).

      I just can’t see how a #3-#5 of Root, Bairstow and Hales wasn’t the way to go and then stick with. They were/are our best and most talented batsmen. Hindsight certainly suggests it, but foresight could have too.

      As for poor old Rash, selected and used in the worst way possible, if you measure that by chances of succeeding.


    • Zephirine May 20, 2018 / 8:20 pm

      Apparently you’re allowed not to fast if you’re ‘travelling’, which means being some distance away from home and not staying for more than three days in the same place. I guess a cricket team on an away tour could apply that to themselves if they wanted to.

      Buttler at 7 will run out of partners just as he’s getting going. I agree he should go in at 5, then if he gets out cheaply there’s still room for repairs by Stokes and, erm, somebody. I can’t quite see how this side is going to work, but no doubt Mr Smith will tell us, at some length.

      Flower no longer needs to have a point, he’s managed to transform himself into an article of faith. If we are unbelievers, well, that’s our problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Grenville May 21, 2018 / 12:08 pm

        Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I don’t need lessons in realism from you Q., I have become an adherent of sub continental optimism thanks to Sri. But yes, the batting might well collapse in a callow heap.

        As for your thoughts on the batting line up, well quite. Trott, KP, Bell are big shoes to fill, but who else was a contender? Compton? Taylor? Bopara? Patel? Apart from Taylor, you have to back Root, Bairstow and Hales, I feel.

        Good knowledge of the fasting rules, Zeph. I should not be surprised at the erudition round here, but I am always staggered. Truly the people of Hambledon (Burgess Hill) dug deep.

        3 days seems a bit short even for a callow team to claim that exemption, unless they move hotels mid game, but it does suggest that there may be a work around.

        As for your comment on Flower,… perfect.


        • quebecer May 22, 2018 / 1:27 am

          It’s bloody tough on those following Ramadan up in here on the tundra, where the sun comes up at 5ish and doesn’t set until nearly 9. Last year my neighbours would bring lamb over to mine and I’d start cooking it about 8ish so it would be ready sooner. Not easy doing Ramadan in a non-muslim country, and from what I can gather, Allah understands this.

          I rater thought it was me doing the demo of optimism during the Ashes! Obviously at Guru Sri’s suggestion, I admit. I sometimes wondered if he were playing some Bengaluru joke on me, egging me on and then giggling after every England failure… but no, that’s not Sri.

          Lastly, apologies but I’d totally forgotten who you’d be cheering for in the series! Looking forward to it being you who has to drive the optimism bandwagon 🙂


          • Grenville May 22, 2018 / 9:09 am

            I read Dobel’s piece in cricinfo and now I am more nervous. Still the thought of you cooking lamb for your neighbour on the tundra will fortify my new found optimism. How can the little guys not triumph in a world where kindness is an ever present possibility and so often actualised?

            On another note, I just reread Beyond a Boundary, apart from being struck by CLR’s unshakeable faith in both individuals and communities, I realised that one of the many disastrous aspects of the KP schism and the big 3 carve up, is that it was precisely players like KP and De Villiers who were needed to reinvigorate test cricket. Neither may have been absolutely top notch, but there desire to explore, attack and entertain is the only remedy for the long game. Had they succeeded players like Warner, Kohli, even Root, would have set the world on fire. Bowlers would have had to fight back with pace and guile. Instead test cricket was kept conservative and the short form promoted as entertainment. This is the wrong way round. The shorter the form the less the scope for invention. The truth of the position in a t20 game is clearer and clearer the more the overs tick down. What the players do is bloody impressive, but they are, in fact, executing their skills. In test cricket you are expressing your own personality.

            More optimism now, it doesn’t matter…. you can not pluck out the roots. Some Benaud and Worrell will arrive to through off the shackles and Harrison and his ilk will be run out of town on a rail.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Zephirine May 22, 2018 / 10:44 am

            Ooh, Grenville, that is a good post, I hadn’t thought of it this way: test cricket was kept conservative and the short form promoted as entertainment.

            I don’t think it’s the wrong way round though, it’s just wrong because both should be entertaining, that’s what sport is for. Only people like Andy Flower think it should be about watching players dourly and imperviously improving their stats.


          • Sri.Grins May 22, 2018 / 2:17 pm

            :-). Actually, it may have made more sense to chuckle / giggle given the way the series unfolded. 🙂

            But, then optimism is a way of life for most Indians :-D. (except when India play away of course


          • Sri.Grins May 22, 2018 / 2:18 pm

            Now we are three what with Grenville also joining in 🙂


  11. Rohan May 20, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    Sean I agree with you wholeheartedly, well almost. I have not fallen out of love with the game, but I have fallen entirely out of love with team ECB.


    One thing I am confused about and, I don’t mean to be a contrarian, but what is the problem with the IPL?

    I really enjoy watching it, the best cricketers in the world on show, amazing bowling, batting, fielding and all round cricket; it’s great.

    Now I wouldn’t trade it in for test cricket, that is still the pinnacle for me, but I really do feel it, the Big Bash and our own T20 blast have an important place in the game.

    I think if and, it’s a big IF, probably impossible, all the international governing bodies got together and agreed a proper annual schedule, where Big Bash, IPL etc. were outside of key Test periods (which were prioritised), then we could be onto a winner. Before anyone suggests, I am not delusional I know it won’t happen, which is sad 🙁……


    • d'Arthez May 21, 2018 / 11:58 am

      The problem is that there are about 7 T20 leagues going around (only New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are missing out among the longer Full Members).

      So a proper schedule will not exist, since those leagues take up at least 9 months in the year. Sure, there will be a few domestic players in each of those leagues, but:

      a) all the leagues are desperate for money, and that means selling those broadcasting rights to be broadcast in India. Since the BCCI bars Indian players to play in those leagues outside of the IPL, that is always going to be a tough sell. So if you can’t compete through the quality, crucial elements will be time-zones and the star appeal of the local domestic scene. That was one of the massive errors of CSA’s Global T20 venture: they simply assumed that the BCCI would make an exception for them. Was never going to happen.

      b) It it the same international players who are being recycled over and over again in those leagues. And thus, as Kraigg Brathwaitte grows poorer by the minute when some distinctly average West Indians rake in the cash for being mediocre at best, it does nothing to encourage people to keep playing the red ball game.

      c) I am not even sure if any of those leagues makes sense from a business perspective. I do know the CPL franchises run at a loss, CA struggles to make a profit out of BBL (and I don’t think the franchises do that much betteR), and it is a bit tricky to say how the situation is in England, due to ALL cricket rights being sold to Sky in a single package (international and domestic), so it might be dependent on some arbitrary number magic to determine whether the counties are running the Blast at a profit or loss. It is not unimagineable that the rights to the Blast are worth more than what the counties get from the ECB – in which case the counties would be effectively subsidise the ECB to screw the counties over. Just the way the ECB likes it.

      And given the betting scandal in India, I would not be surprised if some of those franchises serve to launder money, rather than that they are run at a profit.

      d) no matter where the leagues are being played, it comes at the expense of marginalizing the domestic game (with the exception of India, and possibly Pakistan – but then again the PSL is mostly held outside of Pakistan). It also pushes the various Test series to rather idiotic time slots. Were South Africa not playing Bangladesh in Bangladesh in the middle of a monsoon season? Were New Zealand not hosted by South Africa in the middle of winter, with all kinds of not so great consequences for the quality of the wickets? And the less said about the West Indian international home season the better.

      Not sure how to prevent the mushrooming of these T20 / 16.Bore leagues. Maybe the only way the mushrooming of T20 leagues can be contained is to basically go conference style on them, like major league baseball or something of the sort.

      But of course, such a conference style league won’t happen. If only because it necessitates a relaxation of the control various boards have over player movement.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prime.Evil May 21, 2018 / 3:23 pm

        CSA’s biggest mistake was putting the teams up for sale to Indian movie stars / businessmen and women. It should have been more along the lines of the Big Bash than IPL.

        Word on the street is when the owners and Supersport got around a table to discuss broadcast matters, the owners wanted “a,b & c”. Seeing that Supersport had the broadcasting rights, and that they didn’t want “a,b & c”, and the owners didn’t want Supersport’s “x,y & z”, Supersport took their ball and went home.

        Unless the owners and Supersport can come to an agreement, that Global T20 competition is done and dusted. It was an abomination in my opinion. T20 is like chocolate cake – it has its place but not breakfast, lunch and supper.

        SA’s Ram Slam T20 is floundering. Companies don’t want to put sponsorship money on the table. Word on the street again, is the companies want to see a return on their investment. They don’t want to run a soup kitchen. With so much political interference many believe they are not watching the best players, so, less and less interest every year. What’s the point of opening a shop and putting products on the shelves when there are no customers? Maybe that’s why CSA went to India – they knew local companies weren’t keen.


    • quebecer May 22, 2018 / 1:34 am

      Oh zeph. Of course you loved that piece – everything in it is why YOU love cricket.

      I really enjoyed it to (thank you so much for the link), which somewhat explains why it’s only you and me calling for a reintroduction to timeless tests.


      • Zephirine May 22, 2018 / 10:27 am

        🙂 See, what people don’t understand is that a Test match isn’t a game. It’s a tournament.

        It’s a complex war game. It’s like the medieval tournaments which included group battles, jousting duels and one-to-one swordfights within the whole event.

        It is in fact, and I’m quite thrilled because I’ve just learned this word, a hastilude.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Elaine Simpson-Long May 22, 2018 / 11:14 pm

          I love Wagner. Long wonderful meandering hours packed full,of glorious music with occasional dull bits in between. I think of Test matches as similar to Wagner. Spread out like the Ring Cycle over three or four operas and you are in for the long haul. You need to work at it but it is worth every note of music and every bat on ball


      • oreston May 22, 2018 / 1:39 pm

        The romantic in me wishes I could live in a parallel universe where timeless tests were possible. Perhaps in the afterlife Bradman’s Invincibles are playing Hutton, Washbrook, Compton, Edrich, Laker et al in a halcyon match that will last for eternity, with no rain breaks. Ever. The Don will be on at least 1,000,000 not out by now – but it’s OK because the bowlers can’t tire and the spirits in the crowd know that they’re witnessing a masterclass and will never impatiently wonder when the declaration is coming. Laker will have his chance. He’ll find unearthly turn and run through the Aussie batting again and again and again – as they fail ever to reach a mythical-follow on total that no one can quite recall…


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