It Might be Coming Home, but the Players Stayed at Home. 3rd T20.

So here it is, the highlight of the sporting summer!

Having written frequently on the minor diversion of the World Cup, there’s not much more to say, except that it is striking to see how the football team have captured the soul of a nation, not just by their performances on the field, but through their interaction and humility in their behaviour off it. And you know, while loving every moment of this gloriously improbable run to the semi-finals, there’s a part of me feeling the pain of the irrelevance of the cricket team in public consciousness.

Sam Morshead wrote a piece the other day detailing the plans the various leagues up and down the country had for ensuring cricketers could watch the football. Some were prescriptive, refusing to make any allowances, others provided parameters in which to work, and others still (such as the Sussex League) were content for the teams to sort out their own arrangements between them.

Nevertheless, it appears a significant number of matches were scratched, as players decided that a day of cricket just wasn’t for them. There are a couple of points to be made here: firstly that a refusal to accept reality is crazy; a football World Cup is, and is always going to be, the ultimate in a shared experience. The empty seats at Wimbledon at around 3pm indicated the same, that whatever a sporting love might be, it is secondary to something truly national in its shared joy and pain.

The second point is that twelve years ago few leagues made any such arrangements. Certainly I recall for the quarter final against Portugal in 2006, and indeed the second round match against Denmark in 2002 that fixtures went ahead exactly as scheduled. In both cases, the captains of the sides were under instruction from their team-mates to win the toss and bat so we could all watch it. In both cases we lost the toss, fielded and missed the games – for one of them the groans gave away what was happening, in the other it was the cheers.

Yet the most striking thing was that this seemed entirely normal, cricket was a choice, it was unfortunate, but it wasn’t much more than an irritation. Nor was there more than a passing consideration that games should be arranged around the football – we were league cricketers, that’s what we did.

This time, it is entirely different, and while the all encompassing nature of football is one part of it, the other is the significant loss of confidence that cricket can defy another sport and go ahead as normal. My guess would be that first eleven league sides would be reasonably unaffected should they have been compelled to play as normal, but that second and third eleven schedules would be destroyed. It would be interesting to see the evidence of what happened in those league structures that refused to compromise, and whether that perception was borne out by reality.

Perhaps it is no more than the change in society, but there must be a suspicion that amateur cricket is simply in a far weaker position than it was twelve or sixteen years ago, that it can’t ignore a World Cup because when it comes to it, it will simply lose.

Credit to those leagues who saw sense, but the reduced status of cricket is once again a deeply troubling phenomenon.

Comments on the T20 below.

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31 thoughts on “It Might be Coming Home, but the Players Stayed at Home. 3rd T20.

  1. S. Sudarshanan Jul 8, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    Perhaps the empty stadiums may not paint an entirely true picture. Yes, the full ones show the audience’s allegiance to a sport, it also shows how the broadcast has improved a great deal. Perhaps a ‘sports’ fan prefers being confined to the conforts of her/his sofa while managing to switch sports with a click of the remote and enjoy the best of all. Having said that, a cricket buff would still prefer a cricket match as opposed to whatever else is offered.

    Like

    • thelegglance Jul 8, 2018 / 12:16 pm

      Don’t agree on your last sentence. A cricket fan is very likely a sports fan. Cricket has always been my number one game, but sorry, it doesn’t come close to the World Cup when England are still involved.

      Liked by 2 people

      • S. Sudarshanan Jul 8, 2018 / 12:20 pm

        Perhaps your loyalty and passion towards a team still in the tournament maybe the reason. And i don’t disagree entirely on what you say. Yet if the side you egged on wasn’t there and then that’s not your number one sport, guess the fan would prefer sticking to her/his numero uno sport. Having said that, I have nothing against any other sport or team. Just a view, intending to be a harmless one.

        Like

        • thelegglance Jul 8, 2018 / 12:21 pm

          Oh it’s totally, 100% about England still being in it. If they weren’t, none of this would be an issue at all. Sorry, if it wasn’t clear I meant it that way. 👍

          Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jul 8, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      S Sudarshanan……..

      “Perhaps a ‘sports’ fan prefers being confined to the conforts of her/his sofa while managing to switch sports with a click of the remote and enjoy the best of all.”

      Well yes, assuming they have access to the sports kept exlusively behind a pay wall. Namely cricket. The Football World Cup is free to air, and so everyone can sit on their sofa and click their remote, but they probably won’t be able to enjoy the “best of all.”

      And many certainly won’t be watching the India vs England series or next years World Cup, even if they like cricket. Cricket has opted for small audiences, and big money. It made its choice, and has the riches, but not the exposure.

      Like

  2. S. Sudarshanan Jul 8, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    Talking about this game, the 1-1 scoreline is enough to suggest that there’s little to chose between England and India. The third T20 could well have a bearing on the rest of the tour as well. And sometimes, knowingly or otherwise, some games turn out to be a prototype of things to come. Thus this one could well tell how the sport is perceived with a global tourney on at another part of the world.

    Like

  3. metatone Jul 8, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    I think some context also has to be applied. This is a World Cup not a Euro championship and we’ve basically been failing for quite a while in the football, but this time there’s a sense of something happening.

    To pull a cricket metaphor, this QF was like the 3rd Ashes Test in 2005.
    We know it’s not the big one… but a sense is starting to build that “here’s something you don’t want to miss out on.”

    (We’ll see in a week or so if that sense is accurate, but for now it is there.)

    Finally, to agree with you, I think cricket damaged it own self in some way – it’s now an eccentric hobby, not part of the national fabric. And so, what do you say to your friends? “Can’t come to the pub to watch the match, I have to indulge my eccentric hobby.”

    Like

    • Zephirine Jul 8, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      You only have to look at the Indian fans at these T20s to see the difference. They jump up and down, they shout, they sing…. they behave like an English football crowd.

      But for some reason English fans don’t think they can do that at cricket, even T20, they just drink instead.

      Like

      • Sri.Grins Jul 8, 2018 / 4:46 pm

        :-). The difference is in the perspective of what is the national favorite sport. For england it is football. For India, it is cricket.

        so even an Indian settled in England would behave like an Indian living in India. Of course over the next couple of generations, the Indian origin resident in england may also behave like the English fan.

        Like

  4. Mark Jul 8, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    Its amazing how old fashioned Yorkers are still a potent delivery if you can bowl them accurately. In recent years the trend has been to say they have no place in the modern game. More like if you can’t bowl them well…..they have no place.

    England get 198 at the end. At one point it looked like they might get 220. It could be enough, but England’s attack on a small ground who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Jul 8, 2018 / 3:06 pm

      Yorkers are always effective. Problem is for the bowlers, that if they get the length slightly wrong, they’ll go for plenty. A few months ago there was an article on NoInfo (formerly known as cricinfo) looking at the numbers. Because of the small margin of error (and the runs that come with them), bowlers often don’t bowl the yorker.
      We’ll see if the weakened bowling attack (seriously, a line up that has Rashid batting at ten can hardly be considered the strongest bowling attack) will fare against India.

      Like

      • Mark Jul 8, 2018 / 4:26 pm

        Well Ball and Willey have just bowled utter dross the last two overs to hand the game to India.

        Pathetic. They look laboured and mechanical rather than natural and smooth. Thy also bowl a heap of short pitched rubbish.

        Can’t see how England can be confident of winning the World Cup with this pop gun attack.

        Like

        • Mark Jul 8, 2018 / 4:32 pm

          All over!

          Going into the 17th over India needed 44 off 24 deliveries. India won with 8 balls to spare!

          Ha ha ha.

          Like

        • Sri.Grins Jul 8, 2018 / 4:49 pm

          On their day, anyone can get hit for runs in T-20. Would not blame the bowlers too much.

          44 runs in 4 overs in a T-20 on a flat wicket like the one in this match was very much doable since India were only 3 down.

          If you had followed the IPL, you would know that CSK routinely score 50-60 runs in the last 4 overs.

          However, England should have put on a pitch similar to the one they did in Cardiff. On flat pitches, England makes a lot of runs but the english bowlers can also go for a lot of runs.

          Like

          • Mark Jul 8, 2018 / 4:59 pm

            With all due respect Sri, they didn’t do it in 4 overs. They did in 2 overs & 4 balls. India won with 8 balls to spare.

            England should have scored more runs in their innings. They let it drift in the last 6 overs. Due to good Indian bowling. Bowlers can still aply the brakes if they are good enough. (As India showed) England’s pace bowlers are not accurate enough or consistent enough.

            It’s their big weakness. Usually their batsman can overcome this. Not today against a good side.

            Like

          • Sri.Grins Jul 8, 2018 / 5:32 pm

            @mark, you forget that hardik is a hitter like roy. When he gets it right he can score at 200-300 SR. The number of voers left was only 4 and so he was in a perfect position to take risks.

            Another day those risks may not have come off. There are thin margins between victory and defeat in t-20s usually.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Zephirine Jul 8, 2018 / 4:58 pm

          The England recipe: bowlers not quite good enough to make up for having not quite enough runs on the board.

          Still, it was a good entertaining match, Rohit tremendous.

          Now – this annoys me: every match so far the interviewer has asked an England player whether the Indian fans’ support is a problem for them. Why should it be? It makes the game feel exciting and important, why is it a problem that the opposition’s fans love the game? It adds a bit of pressure but it’s not like they’re throwing stones at the players.

          There’s a sub-text that that isn’t how a crowd of supporters should be. The question to be asked should be why don’t English people support their team like this, but we know the answers to that.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Jul 8, 2018 / 5:07 pm

            I think you are reading far too much into it.

            I think they are meaning the numbers of away supporters in a supposed England home game. Other countries have looked to restrict the number of traveling England fans in other forms of the game. Many WI supporters didn’t like it when England touring fans bought up all the tickets and pushed up the prices.

            Sri Lanka have looked to restrict England fans to a certain area of the ground and have jacked up the price of tickets by 20 times for the away fans for the coming Test tour which the Barmy Army are threatening not to travel in protest. In Test cricket there are hardly any home fans in many parts of the world.

            It works both ways.

            Like

          • Sri.GrinsI don't b Jul 8, 2018 / 5:36 pm

            @zeph, you are absolutely right. I read the BBC comments on the first match and grinned.
            Support for the Tebbit test was definitely coming from some of the English fans posting there. Natural for some english supporters to be cheesed off though. However, I do agree with you that constant questioning on the same line will ensure that sometime during the tour this becomes a controversy especially if India win the odi series too.

            Like

          • Sri.GrinsI don't b Jul 8, 2018 / 5:38 pm

            @zeph, you are absolutely right. I read the BBC comments on the first match and grinned.

            Support for the Tebbit test was definitely coming from some of the English fans posting there. Natural for some english supporters to be cheesed off though. However, I do agree with you that constant questioning on the same line will ensure that sometime during the tour this becomes a controversy especially if India win the odi series too.

            Sorry for repeating the comment but a typo ensure that some part of the message got into the name and so it looks like a new user. 🙂 . So reposting.

            Like

          • Sri.Grins Jul 8, 2018 / 5:39 pm

            @zeph, you are absolutely right. I read the BBC comments on the first match and grinned.

            Support for the Tebbit test was definitely coming from some of the English fans posting there. Natural for some english supporters to be cheesed off though. However, I do agree with you that constant questioning on the same line will ensure that sometime during the tour this becomes a controversy especially if India win the odi series too.

            Sorry for repeating the comment but a typo ensure that some part of the message got into the name and so it looks like a new user. 🙂 . So reposting.

            Third time lucky hopefully. 😀

            Like

          • Zephirine Jul 8, 2018 / 8:31 pm

            I get what you’re saying Mark, but nobody has suggested that England fans couldn’t get tickets, or even that they’re outnumbered, just that the Indians make much more noise. (Interesting to know that some countries want to reduce the Barmy Army contingent, I’d always read that everybody welcomes them because they spend so much money… two sides to every story, indeed)

            Impossible to tell how many of the India supporters are away fans and how many are UK resident. The BBC questioning, as Sri suggests, may be stirring about the Tebbit test. Though I don’t think Nasser Hussain would mean it that way, for obvious reasons. The Sky team seemed to just feel it was all a bit loud and wild – perhaps because they’ve been commentating from a ‘pod’ which is right amongst the crowd and not from some posh double-glazed media centre.

            I think the Indian fans make a great contribution to the match, as the Pakistan fans did, especially in T20 which thrives on the oohs and aahs.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sri.Grins Jul 9, 2018 / 11:25 am

            @mark, if you read the comments on BBC for the third match, the support of Indian origin English residents for India has again been questioned.

            What it shows is that there is a set of fans who are not comfortable with divergent loyalties in a team game. This is natural but why @zeph is correct when she got annoyed by the question on support for the Indian team at the ground in every match as this brings even greater focus on it

            Like

  5. Adam H Jul 8, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    Thankfully the T20Is are over. Why they thought we should have 3 T20Is I have no idea. It would’ve been so much better to have 1 T20I and 5 ODIs, instead of 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs, especially just an year away from the World Cup.

    International bilateral T20s should be scrapped. Wt20 every 4 years can stay. But no point in meaningless bilateral T20Is when there is so much domestic T20 being played all year round.

    Like

  6. alecpaton Jul 9, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    The World Cup is an “event”, even before England’s excellent run of form, our cricket team was rescheduling a match we were meant to play on the day of the final. It’s not certain that we’d do the same next year even if England get to the final of the Cricket World Cup.

    Like

  7. d'Arthez Jul 9, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    Looks like even Yorkshire don’t believe in the attraction of cricket, as they have rescheduled their Blast game as it coincided with England’s game against Croatia.

    Like

  8. AB Jul 9, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    I was chatting to a mother of a lad I used to coach in county age group cricket the other day. He had given up county age-group cricket, as he didn’t enjoy it and didn’t get much out of it, and we were discussing why that was. I agreed with her that it wasn’t a good programme, and the answer as to why this was struck me as we were talking.

    As far as I can see, young, promising kids in the 10-14 age range need two things to help them develop: 1) detailed, 1-2-1 technical coaching, and 2) exposure to a good cricket team culture in order to learn tactics and mental strength by watching first hand how good cricketers and good captains go about their business.

    The problem with 1) is that teaching kids how to become a competent cricketer is relatively simple, there are a set of movements they need to learn (a bowling action, a straight bat shot etc), and most competent coaches can meet a new kid and help them immediately in these skills. Turning a competent young cricketer into a very good cricketer with a future as a professional (perhaps) is a whole different kettle of fish. This is an art, not a science, as each cricketer develops differently, some pieces of advice will work, others won’t, and the coach needs to go on the journey with the player.

    Its impossible for a county coach to deliver this. Most kids that come to you already have a club coach, a school coach and a private coach all giving them technical advice. The absolute last thing they need is a county coach also getting in their ear with new technical advice for one hour a week. You could argue that a county coach is better off not giving any technical advice at all.

    2) is better off delivered in a club setting where 2 or 3 juniors are given games at an appropriate level where they play alongside adults in order to absorb the culture of a good cricket side. This is how I learnt how to play cricket. Its impossible to teach these things to an U12s team by shouting from the boundary edge.

    So if neither of these two things, what is county age group cricket actually for?

    Like

  9. dlpthomas Jul 10, 2018 / 6:36 am

    From the New Daily

    “English broadcaster Alison Mitchell will head the Seven Network’s cricket coverage alongside Tim Lane, James Brayshaw and Mel McLaughlin, it was revealed on Tuesday.

    Mitchell, Lane and Brayshaw were announced as the station’s ball-by-commentators on Tuesday as Seven, after beating the Nine Network for the rights, prepares for a summer that will see them broadcast Test cricket, the Big Bash League and key women’s fixtures.”

    Like

  10. northernlight71 Jul 10, 2018 / 5:56 pm

    Wanted: Signs of life from the ECB
    Reason: National Summer Sport is MIA.

    It has come to our attention that the ancient activity known as “Cricket” seems to have disappeared. Rumours of its recent activity are sporadic, but unconfirmed. Anyone who has seen anybody wearing white, carrying a crimson coloured, leather ball or a wooden bat of no more than 108mm width and 67mm depth should report their sighting to……er…….. anyone? Surely there’s someone in the UK that cares about cricket? No? Any mums lurking? Oh bother.

    Forget we asked.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pktroll (@pktroll) Jul 11, 2018 / 6:20 am

    Sorry I haven’t got to this earlier but I have been away a couple of weeks and inevitably a ton of work to catch up since I have been back. My travels took me firstly to Glasgow to visit a friend and the joys of watching the Panama game there! If you must know any banter was a damp squib as the very quick England goals killed off any possibility of a nervous afternoon. Then off to Crete and in between hiking there was the Belgium and Colombia game, the latter of which I saw in a bar with a load of English tourists and ended on the raki!

    Lastly I was on a two game cricket tour of Dorset last weekend and we had a two and a half hour break after fielding first innings in blazing hot weather. I didn’t drink during the football and somehow managed to score 93*. By far my highest score and a bit less crabbing up past my 60 and I might have got to 3 figures. Given that I am more suited to cameos I was properly tired come the end. I brought a bottle of the raki from Crete for the guys and a couple of sots of that and I was out for the count later on. It was somewhat tougher playing cricket on Sunday and I managed around a tenth of the runs I scored the previous day but overall it got me closer by some distance to my goal of 1000 club runs.

    All good fun

    Liked by 1 person

  12. d'Arthez Jul 11, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Pakistan are now supposed to play an ODI series in Zimbabwe. Whether that happens is slightly doutbtful, since Zimbabwe Cricket officials can be bothered to engage in match fixing (if we are to believe ACU), but cannot be bothered to either play the Zimbabwean players, or even pay for the accommodation of the Pakistan team for the ODI series.
    Needless to say, the ICC considers this excellent governance, and are willing to throw more money at Zimbabwe Cricket, presumably to finance political election campaigns, because any independent observer will be wondering, what the hell ZC has done with all the money they have gotten from the ICC in the past few years.

    Like

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