Noche y Dia – Is It A Crazy Notion?

“What Kind Of Love Am I In……” Al B Sure! “Nite and Day”

Roll up, roll up for the annual “Dmitri’s been to a county game” (and referring to Dmitri in the third person) post. Every year or so I pluck up the energy, the forward planning, the excitement to make it to a day at county cricket. This one, together with an obscure (in the UK) song from the wonderful Al B Sure! in my head (try finding another cricket blog fusing swingbeat and swing bowling), was the one.

This time around, my annual visit was slightly different. Instead of braving the late commuters on Southeastern trains, ready for an 11 am start, it was a more genteel 1:30pm commencement for the first, and possibly last, day-night County Championship fixture at The Oval. I’ve heard a lot of the fears, the woes, the problems and the moans about this particular exercise in seeing if county cricket has an audience, so I thought I had better go there myself to find out. My first pink ball game. What a time to be alive! The fact that up until a week before the game I never knew it was day-night shows how committed Surrey was to it! It seems their beer festival now appears to be much more limited as well (and that was advertised even less) because there was no sign of it for non-members.

Once again, my day at the cricket would be to see Surrey v Lancashire, On the first occasion, Stuart Law, Mal Loye and Iain Sutcliffe took advantage of a ludicrously small boundary on Good Friday to take us to the cleaners. On another, Ramps played a 4th innings, fourth morning masterclass to cajole Surrey past a twitchy target. Then, two years ago, I went to see Sanga, and while I got a 50 to watch, I also roasted in 90 degree late summer heat (it might have been high 80s but hyperbole and all that). One of the players having a buzz around him that year was Haseeb Hameed, who had made the starting XI for this one for the visitors. Amazing. Two years ago he was making a very good debut for England, now he was in doubt for a place in his county team.

Another Member Of The “I Opened With Alastair Cook And Returned To County Cricket” Club… Still not seen him bat!

I have to say that the portents were not good. My default setting for innovations is “I do not like”. I’m not convinced by day-night test cricket, and was worried we (Surrey) were being pitched into this lottery at a crucial time of the season with warnings of hooping deliveries when the sun went down (see Kent v Middlesex). Surrey had also lost Pope and Curran to the England squad, had to retain Aaron Finch as an oversea player, lost Borthwick and Roy to injury, and thus had a weaker feeling with Harinath at three. As it was, Sam came back into the team, and in an ironic twist, took Tom’s place. He would bat at six. Ryan Patel, the hero of Guildford, would take his place at number 7.

The Sunday play had seen Surrey flop to 211 on a blameless surface and in good weather, clawing it back by taking six Lancashire wickets in the evening session. That 211 was courtesy of some Dernbach/Morkel hitting, which as a long-term strategy has to be up there with recalling James Vince and hoping it’s 14th time lucky. It might just work, and sometimes it does. But relying upon it… it couldn’t happen twice. It was good to watch some of the play on the live feed, which although restricted to just fixed cameras showed more replays of key action than the red button Sky EPL game on the Wednesday (Sheffield Wednesday v Millwall). If we can get a little added coverage, I think there’s a real market there. Without those cameras we would never have seen Will Jacks’ catch to end the game, or Rory’s grab at suicide second slip off Morkel. But I digress to the end, when I’ve not even started on my day there!

Early Morning, I mean Afternoon, Shivnarine Chanderpaul

So, off I popped for Day 2, a Monday, beer in bag, camera at the ready. Meeting a non-cricket loving friend at London Bridge, the weather threatening drizzle, we got to the ground in good time for the opening session. Entrance 4, the old Surridge Stand from my thirties, would be our home for the day. Surrey’s credit card machines had broken down, a dodgy portent.

During that first session sad news reached us of the passing of a good friend and former work colleague. Mike was a good bloke, my darts partner of a number of years, and also a keen sports fans as well as being a follower of Crystal Palace. He will be sorely missed by his friends, and that evening we raised a glass to him. RIP Mike.

The big question about the day’s play would be how would the ambient conditions be accentuated by the pink ball? For the first session virtually nothing happened for Surrey. Sure, there was the comical run out of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who lost in a seniority battle to a debutant when it came to who was going to go, but precious little else. Surrey battled, but looked unthreatening. The hosts thought they might take a first innings lead at the start of play, having fought back well, but with the benign conditions Lancashire pottered onto lunchtime and gradually pulled into the ascendant. Debutant Bohannon looking very assured. Mennie taking his opportunity. Now it looked like limiting the damage.

Lancashire’s tail folded a little just after the interval. Bohannon made a debut half-century and looked mightily impressive in doing so. Mennie and Bohannon both fell to Virdi. Onions slapped one imposing boundary and then slapped a ball to extra cover to get out. It was my first look at Amar Virdi, the young Surrey spinner, and from what you can glean from side on, he looked pretty decent with lots more to learn. I do hope England don’t pick him too soon, and I do hope he gets a chance to show his skills on more favourable wickets. The pressure is going to be on next month at Taunton.

For someone with not the greatest pair of eyes, I have to say that the pink ball was much easier for me to pick up in the daylight, let alone night cricket. Now I know there are huge reservations about the quality of the ball, it being a Kookaburra supposedly, but from a spectator like mine’s perspective, it certainly helped to follow it more easily. I keep hearing this is a spectator sport, but this isn’t one thing I’ve heard from anyone else. Those of you who have gone to day-night cricket, has it been easier for you to see?

Another Member Of The “I Opened With Alastair Cook And Returned To County Cricket” Club – Mark Stoneman

Lancashire took the field with a 36 run lead, which was on the upper end of “negligible” in terms of the match position. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted it to be much more. There seemed to be something in the wicket, as no-one really went on after a start in both innings, so the mind was trying to put a quantum on what would be “enough”. A 300 target would certainly be testing. 250 would be around par, and anything less would need a helping hand of Lancashire choking. All these thoughts were those at the time, not hindsight, I must stress. This was combined with Somerset, at the time, being in a dominant position in their home game against Essex. We know Surrey have, effectively, one win in hand – that is we can afford to draw one, while they win and still be ahead – but Surrey want to keep them at arm’s length and a win here would be crucial.

Surrey needed a solid start, before the twilight, the legendary twilight. Rory Burns is being put forward for England selection, and he came out on the back of a rare failure in the first innings. His partner was the latest in the “Discarded Former Cook Partner” club, Mark Stoneman, who when I last saw him in the flesh, took Essex to the cleaners at Guildford in June 2017. The batting looks a bit ropey below that, with the squad man Harinath due in at 3, Sam Curran as high as 6. The openers did their job in the early going, but Stoneman gave it away with the deficit almost erased, walloping a pull shot straight down deep backward square’s throat.

Stoneman pulls – the chap waiting down there, Matt Parkinson, has a catch coming his way…

At 35 for 1 it was essential that Rory made a score and that Arun Harinath stick around. Arun, to be fair, did a bit more than that and looked pretty solid. Of course, it took me to leave my seat to get a wicket. Off I popped for a call of nature, and out I came to “Next Man In…. Aaron Finch”. He had been run out. 73 for 2. A lead of 37.

In came new county cap Aaron Finch. Aaron was being used as a stop-gap overseas player until Dean Elgar returned and had made 43 in the first innings. Finch may be known as a white ball destroyer, but he does have a career best of 288 not out in his locker – see here – and hey, pink is what you get when you mix red and white, right? Maybe he’s the ideal player. Anyway, Finchy doesn’t like spin bowlers very much, and the impressive (again, as much as you can be from square on) Matt Parkinson got a little bit of treatment. The boundary towards the Harleyford side was the shorter one, but the two sixes he clattered into the OCS Stand would have cleared most boundaries in the world.

Fetch That, Parky Mate….

If this went on for too long, the game would be out of Lancashire’s reach. It was becoming increasingly evident that Surrey were making hay while the sun shone, or at least was vaguely above the horizon, and Lancashire were waiting for evening. Parkinson was too much like shark-bait for Finch, he was taken off, Graeme Onions came on, and with his first ball pinned the Aussie in front for 32. 114 for 3, a lead of 78 and our destructive player gone.

Ben Foakes, the best waiter on the cricket scene having toured Down Under last winter carrying the drinks, was next in. Number 5 seems at least one spot too high for a top team, but needs must. Rory Burns remained there, not always convincing but keeping the score ticking over. The light began to fade, the lights began to take effect and here was the time of day we were supposed to be here for – the action hour and a bit.

But not a lot seemed to change. Sure there were more plays and misses, and Foakes played very defensively, but it was as much the tense game situation as it was the environment that played a part. Burns passed 50 on his way to the highest individual score in the game, with his offside play particularly good, but he never really suggested permanence. I think England will chew him up and spit him out, to be honest, and the pundits will get on his technique. It was the debutant Bohannon who did for him, bowling him for 70. In the context of this match, it was a crucial knock.

Burns on the cut

Foakes was joined by Curran in the full night-time field of play and with the game perched on a precipice. 162 for 4. 126 in front. This was going to be important. The two chose different modes of play. Foakes was all defensive solidity, Sam a bit more expansive, positive, as if emboldened by international status. My Middlesex friend who turned up, who is not a fan, called him a P L C, with the P standing for Punchable, the L for Little, you can fill in the rest. Hell will freeze over before he praises a Surrey player! The two played out the remaining difficult overs, as a decent crowd stayed until almost the end. I thought there was a considerable influx after 6pm, which Surrey had advertised as free admittance.

Foakes – They Shall Not Pass

Surrey finished the day at 197 for 4 – Curran having made 27 out of the 35 added since the Burns wicket. I went back the following evening, to see Lancashire collapse a little – losing three wickets – after tea and then watching Bohannon and Croft do fantastically under the lights to see off the Surrey threat. Morne Morkel gave them both a torrid time, but it did seem, with Surrey a bowler down due to Dernbach’s imjury, that it was Morkel and AN Other in the Surrey seam attack. Sam didn’t bowl a lot, nor did Patel, and Clarke looked largely ineffective. I was joined that evening by my old playing mate, my current blogging mate, and Topshelf of this parish, who I spent a fascinating hour or so with.

The game finished in high tension the following day, with Surrey winning by 6 runs. The best troll would have been if they’d won by 2, because Morne Morkel blatantly did not save a boundary down by us, and “saved” 2 runs, much to the annoyance of the Lancashire fan in my stand, who then turned on Ben Foakes for momentarily having his gloves in front of the line of the stumps before each delivery from Virdi. Both the Surrey and Somerset games ebbed and flowed. and Lancashire, remember, are struggling at the bottom of the division. These were great matches, and an example of what the County Championship can deliver when played in August, and with context aplenty. I was following both at work, and punched the air and shouted yes when the final wicket went down (on scorecards, not live feeds). There’s not many of us about this time of year, so no-one was that bothered! But as a keen fan, there’s a market there for bloody good competition. This was it.

What did I think of day-night cricket? I liked it. I really didn’t see what much of the fuss was about. It is a little artificial in that there are definitely two, perhaps three, distinct pieces of play – the afternoon session when not a lot seemed to happen and batsmen might have played as if they were facing impending doom. Twilight seemed to bring a madness to both teams, and where a lot of the wickets fell. Then night-time when players seemed really locked in, batting became more intense, bowlers more positive. Run rates slowed, passions raised, intensity at this being a chance to make an impact weighing on the fielding side. Foakes was an example, becoming virtually shotless and keeping the attack at bay. Morkel too on Day/Night 3 bowled an intense hostile spell, and the Lanky lads battled hard (Croft and that Bohannon again). I enjoyed it, I could see the pink ball, and I am a believer in it based on this small sample size. Now I recognise that this may be because it was in London, in late August, and the lights actually take effect, rather than there being an extended twilight that the games in late June get, but it worked there and then.

I had a conversation with two chaps on the Northern Line. One of them had been to the infamous Kent v Middlesex day night game which is used as Exhibit A for scrapping the format. Both were converts, both liked being able to come down after work to watch a proper first class game rather than T20. Both thought the quality was the same. Both thought it should continue. The one who had been to Canterbury said that Middlesex could moan all they like, but they batted terribly. Meanwhile, Kent’s number 10 had made a second innings hundred under the lights (it appears he batted until about an hour before the end of play). He wasn’t having any of it being a lottery. I also had some Tweets, with one saying you couldn’t have a day night game in Manchester at this time of year. I think it helped that London isn’t quite as chilly at this time of the year – in September it would be – so I think there’s a narrow window when this game could be played. I think you need proper night-time, and it not to be too cold. Late May, possibly and mid to late August seems the window. June it is just not dark with 9:30 sundown. It’s not easy, but it’s worth a try.

Sam at Sundown

It was an enjoyable couple of days, one full, one evening session. I hope to do the same this week for the Notts fixture – a normal fixture – but I don’t think the experiment should end just yet. If it is the ball, then find or develop a better one. If it is the light issue, then mid-August is better than mid-June. If it is that much of a lottery, then sure, we need to level the playing field as much as possible. But I liked it, and I can’t say any more than that. If they did another one at The Oval, I’d go. I am not sure why there is the ingrained antipathy to it from my one experience.  That’s all I can go on.

Happy to hear experiences of others, but this was a satisfied customer. And what a conclusion to the match it was. County cricket has a lot going for it. Perhaps we should shout it louder.

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31 thoughts on “Noche y Dia – Is It A Crazy Notion?

  1. kenaz82 August 27, 2018 / 4:32 pm

    Been to two matches – one a rain-affect damp squib in 2017, and all four days of Durham v Warks this season – and couldn’t fathom the format. Everybody just left at the normal time circa 6:30pm for reasons borne of public transport, drop in temperature, tiredness and/or habit. It seemed a much longer day than the normal 11-6:30pm time, and by 6:30ish you just wanted to go home to be honest. Judging by the pictures and what I heard there were barely any people left by 8pm.

    And that is without discussing the controversy over the ball.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 6:49 pm

      Kenaz82,

      If the piece doesn’t convey it enough, I think there is an incredibly limited window for this even in London with its abundant transport links. Why this has to be different to night football I don’t know in terms of getting home, but the further north you go the longer the evenings, especially in June so night cricket is a nonsense. Ideally the last hour or so should be at night, but with 8:30 scheduled finishes we will have twilight unless it goes to the end of the season, and then you get the dew problem.

      I think the Surrey game was helped by it being really tense, hard fought cricket and a close game with a lot riding on it for both teams.

      Like

  2. StephenFH August 27, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    We were there on the same day and would agree about not giving the 1.30 starts a premature burial. It was a beautiful evening, a very well contested match and the wicket being so far over meant being close to the players, all of which helped, but Championship cricket is still breathing and if the ECB would give it more of a chance……..

    The atmosphere changes under lights and while it certainly looked like the crowd in the Pavilion thinned out quite a bit in the evening, they seemed to be replaced, if not entirely, by others. Also tootled along on the final afternoon, free entry when there were some under the age of 20 in attendance and gripped by it like everyone else watching.

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    • LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 6:53 pm

      Stephen,

      I liked the 1:30 start because I’m a lazy so and so who hates getting up early! Always been a night owl.

      The more I think about it, the more (a) I liked it and (b) the more the game contributed to the occasion rather than the other way around. Watching Foakes graft on Tuesday night while Sam went for it showed there were two ways to skin the same cat, while on Night Three, Morkel to Croft and Bohannon was gripping stuff, if I wasn’t being gripped enough by the excellent company of Topshelf.

      One thing about the County Championship though – a great international bowler like Morkel went absolutely doolally after the winning wicket, sprinting down to third man like a young man. You can’t bottle that feeling, you can’t buy it. Four days coming down to millimetres, half chances, pressure. What a format longer form cricket is. You were lucky to be there.

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  3. Benny August 27, 2018 / 5:32 pm

    I value your opinion so this was an informative insight. Loved the photos. Wish I could get to that quality

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    • LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 6:54 pm

      Thanks Benny. Snapseed to the rescue of many a duff photo. One downer about day night is it makes pictures tougher to get.

      I’m not 100% sold on day night, but I enjoyed it. I can’t really go on much more than my own personal experience.

      Like

  4. Mark August 27, 2018 / 7:31 pm

    “The two played out the remaining difficult overs, as a decent crowd stayed until almost the end. I thought there was a considerable influx after 6pm, which Surrey had advertised as free admittance.”

    I’m puzzzled by this. I thought the whole point of day/night county matches was to encourage people to come after work. If you are going to let them in for free what is the point of the whole exercise? You may as well go back to normal times and let people go home at 6pm. Unless you want to cash in on the catering and bar.

    I haven’t attended any of these matches so can only go on what people say. I’m glad you enjoyed it, although as Surrey are going for the title there was some real skin in the game for this match.

    I’m just bemused by the whole thing. I know the authorities can’t be blamed for the weather, and we can get bad summers anytime, but we have just had the best warm summer probably since 1976 and there has been little or no cricket through June and July. Here we are now in late August and it’s getting cooler, and wet.

    I don’t know what the solution to county cricket is, but day night cricket seems very hit and miss in this country with the long day, light evenings, and the cooler weather the longer you leave it in the summer. I still believe you need warm weather and real darkness to have day night cricket successfully. Our climate and light evenings are just not ideal.

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    • LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 8:02 pm

      I’m torn. I enjoyed it. I thought it worked. It was no different to a normal county game – the last session is free at The Oval for normal start times. I’ll hopefully do that again on Thursday, pop in after tea, before the full day on Friday.

      As Stephen said, the members definitely thinned out towards the end. Those free entry people will buy beer and possibly overpriced food, but Surrey don’t really need that cash. They are, as the saying goes, a very successful conference facility running a cricket team.

      Either they all do it, or no-one should. The mixed response indicates this could be it for the day-night game. It’s probably the least of their problems.

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      • Mark August 27, 2018 / 8:22 pm

        Just to say I’m not in any way ideological against it. If it’s even possible to be be ideologicaly against day/night cricket? If it is popular then fine. I just think there are other things that need fixing, and sometimes the governing bodies try to be too clever by half. Instead they miss an open goal, namely the driest warmest part of the summer and there is no four day cricket.

        “The fact that up until a week before the game I never knew it was day-night shows how committed Surrey was to it! “

        That makes me smile. Surrey aren’t even pushing it very hard. Having said that cricket is not great for advertising their own product at the best of times. What is the official reason for why it might be scrapped?

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        • LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 8:40 pm

          A Twitter feed I follow, Kevin Hand, is vehemently opposed and he’s been seconded by many – he’s a Beeb county cricket journo, so well in with many. Several counties think it is a lottery with no financial upside. It was thought worth a try. I have little problem with giving something on the margins a go (no, not give the Hundred house room, for many different reasons). I’m also not going to take to pitchforks should it be scrapped. But rather that than two rounds of fixtures in the West Indies or Emirates as has been mooted.

          We are faced with too many games in too short a calendar. End of. Something has to go. The one that makes no money looks the best bet.

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  5. LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    On a separate, but slightly related point, I’m getting a little vexed that someone was on the ECB Committee has waited until he has left to find religion…

    I might be a little unfair here, but I know Danny has picked up this point previously with Mr Nash. Is he just now finding out that county fans are being f*cked over, or as he just realised now Somerset have made the Final 4?

    That, and it’s placement in mid-September for it’s flagship night, and he was on the ECB Board until earlier this year?

    Look, I’m all for being fair to people, and if this is unfair then let me know. But it’s a bit late after the fans have been misled, treated with contempt, outright lied to and insulted, to come to this particularly party all offended and outraged when you were, in our eyes, for a number of years, a part of the problem.

    Very happy to be corrected.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark August 27, 2018 / 8:46 pm

      I don’t know what they do on these committees. Once again the fan gets treated with contempt. See post below about the endless mission statements about putting the fan first. For example…

      “The fan will be at the heart of our game, our thinking and our events, to improve and personalise the cricket experience for all.”

      Why do they write this bullshit?

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      • LordCanisLupus August 27, 2018 / 9:22 pm

        500 per county is stingy. Maybe 2000 per, with the remaining 12000 on sale to all and sundry.

        However, don’t many of the losing semi-finalist supporters go home after their team gets knocked out? Let’s assume a third do. 2500 empty seats for a final as opposed to a thousand? To me, it’s that same old lack of faith in a product. Play all the games in one day seems overkill to me. No-one else does this for a reason!

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    • pktroll (@pktroll) August 29, 2018 / 1:53 pm

      Big chance for the touts to get their grubby hands on tickets and make a tidy little earner

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  6. Mark August 27, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    The reason I can’t stand Man U is because they are the Alasdair Cook of English football. Fawned over, and protected by the media no matter what. There are special Cook rules, and special Man U rules. And it’s not just a modern thing. This has been going on for fifty years. It was the same before Alex Ferguson took over. I remember Dennis law sending them down in 1971. The media cried a river of crocodile tears which they thought the rest of the country should endure in.

    Why are the media so surprised about what is going on? For twenty years Man U fans lectured everybody else about keeping your manger after a bad start. Yet once Fergie had retired, the club completely threw out that model. No patience. Three managers down, and £500 odd million spent.

    The only surprise?…..is the media is surprised at what is happening with Jose. But his managerial career is either feast or famine. Either he wins the league and or the champions league, or the wheels come off. Many of the media were sneering at him at Chelsea. “Anti football” was a common complaint. Now he goes to their beloved club and “anti football” becomes tactical genius. Jose doesn’t do three to five years slog at one club bringing young players through, and building a team ethos. He buys it in in two years, and if it doesn’t work he is out the door.

    Oh, and why do we have to watch/suffer these ridiculous press conferences of modern managers? It’s a clown show. They will probably go and win the league now. And the media will be in raptures. Like a Cook hundred.

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  7. Ian August 28, 2018 / 7:47 am

    I have attended day night cricket a couple of times. One a damp rain affected match last year and a more weather friendly match this year. Both were at the Ageas Bowl. The only thing I didn’t really like was how late it finished. Due to the over rate it didn’t finish until 9:45 and whatever the weather that just feels like too late to be at a cricket ground anywhere.

    I wander if there could be a halfway house of say play from 12:30 until about 8 especially in June and July where it doesn’t get dark until 9. i’m often at a Championship game and if its nice weather I’m not ready for play to end at 6:30 and if its a nice evening could happily sit there for another 90 minutes enjoying the evening sun and the match. I think this way might better fit an after work crowd.

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    • LordCanisLupus August 28, 2018 / 7:56 am

      Scheduled close of play at the Oval was 8:30. Finished 8:45 I believe on Day 2 and a little later on Day 3.

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    • LordCanisLupus August 28, 2018 / 2:43 pm

      “Picture the scene. Before play, cricket fan Greg James could host his Radio 1 breakfast show live from the Harris Gardens; Mark Chapman introduces the main event; Blue Peter comes live from the Indoor School; Today at the Test after stumps with Clare Balding perched on one of the apartment block balconies overlooking Lord’s. Think of all the famous faces they’ll coo over and interview (but please, no more Nigel Farage on our screens).”

      Are you sure he’s thought this through?

      But we await the high priest…

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      • nonoxcol August 28, 2018 / 3:22 pm

        He won’t like this bit, will he?

        “We can keep telling ourselves that “the kids” don’t watch terrestrial television; that they only like clips and streams on tablets and phones.”

        I note with interest that Vic Marks is very enthusiastic in the BTL comments. One can only wonder what his predecessor would have said, if he deigned to appear…

        Liked by 2 people

    • kenaz82 August 28, 2018 / 3:24 pm

      Bumble would do his dinger if he read that.

      Like

  8. kenaz82 August 28, 2018 / 3:29 pm

    Mark Selvey is as intransigent in their dismissals of the free-to-air argument as Bumble is. I have had one or two slight run-ins with him online – in fairness he didn’t block me like childish petty little Bumble did. The one unique thing about Lloyd is he even unflinchingly supports the 100! He is about the only one who does (Vaughan does with reservations about how the ECB have operated). Sky have employees who have completely lambasted the idea such as Butcher, but Bumble goes beyond the call of duty.

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  9. metatone August 28, 2018 / 7:14 pm

    My experience is that the pink ball is a real bonus for visibility (as a fan) in the typical English summer conditions (e.g. overcast, a bit of mizzle) but on a really sunny day, you don’t notice the difference as much.

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  10. metatone August 28, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    As for day/night in general:

    1) The temperature drops, but lots of times early in the season the temp is worse in the morning.

    2) It does make sense in that it gives those of us who work a chance to see some cricket. But if it’s not well advertised, then like me, you’ll miss it anyway, b/c you didn’t know.

    3) Like most changes, it could work if you commit to it for a good long period to build up the audience. Having seen a fair bit of nighttime baseball, I think it can make for a good occasion and a good night out, but you’ll only get a regular audience if it’s happening regularly…

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  11. Mark August 28, 2018 / 7:39 pm

    This is one for Dmitri…….”The case for Vince” .by Mark Nicholas

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/24489609/case-james-vince

    He would have Vince opening the batting with Cook! He applauds Ed Smiths selections of Butler, Curren, Pope, but oddly not Rashid. He would bring back Ali because he is in form. And he parrots the Selvey line that he got wickets against India at the rose bowl before. That seems like clutching at straws. Are we going to pick players for specific venues?

    Oh, and we can thank Shane Warne apparently (Nicholas’s co commentator on channel 9 and ex Hampshire captain) for Butlers Improvement because he coached Butler in the IPL.

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  12. Deep Purple Fred August 29, 2018 / 9:20 am

    Interesting, fighting words from Bairstow today, about his desire to keep the gloves. Makes me wonder if this might lead to frustration and destabilisation if he doesn’t get what he wants. England are not always world leaders in sensitively and carefully nurturing talent.

    Players are getting onto thin ice too when they start publically questioning selection calls.

    I don’t remember the last time there was such complexity around English selection, so many all rounders, so many options, and so few obvious choices. There’s probably half a dozen different team selections that could all be reasonably justified.

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    • nonoxcol August 29, 2018 / 9:40 am

      1989 and 1993 Ashes? Different reasons and not so many all-rounders I guess.

      Genuinely one of the hardest Sporclesque cricket quizzes you can do I think: name all 29 England players picked in 1989 and all 24 England players picked in 1993 without looking anything up.

      I can name the 12 players Australia picked in 1989 without any difficulty at all though.

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    • Deep Purple Fred August 29, 2018 / 11:28 am

      I gave myself that test, I won’t be revealing the results but suffice it to say I fell a little into the trap of being biased in favour of more recent players. No Mark Waugh, damn. I’d forgotten about Swampy Marsh.

      As for the English teams, I didn’t even try. Kim Barnett? Alan Igglesden?

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      • nonoxcol August 29, 2018 / 1:37 pm

        1989 I can get (without checking) Gooch, Robinson, Gower, Lamb, Gatting, Barnett, R Smith, de Freitas, Newport, Russell, Foster, John Stephenson, Botham, Igglesden, Small, Emburey, Fraser, Malcolm, Atherton, Curtis and Tavare for certain, then I’d have an educated guess at Chris Broad, Graham Dilley and the winner of Dmitri’s 2014 worst journo award (Pringle), and that’s me about done. Missing at least five. The slightly tricky thing for those who don’t remember it well is that you’d want to say Stewart and Hussain but they both debuted the following winter (and obviously they played in 1993).

        Australia 1989 was Marsh, Taylor, Boon, D Jones, Border, S Waugh, Healy, Hughes, Lawson and Alderman in every Test (FFS, talk about bringing peashooters to a gunfight – how many Test runs and wickets is that), with Hohns replacing Greg Campbell after Headingley.

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        • Glenn August 29, 2018 / 2:22 pm

          Without looking for 1989 (!) I’m sure Nick Cook and Eddie Hemmings had a go.

          I’m enjoying the Ireland v Afghanistan match as a free to air viewer. It’s a lovely ground (Belfast).

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