Whilst there would have been some in the minority who woke up on Monday morning genuinely happy with the outcome of the Hundred draft the previous evening, there would have been far more who woke up in a far more somber mood as the enormity of what this huge white elephant will do to the landscape of county cricket finally hit home. If you were one of the few lucky English players who was picked in the draft ahead of the multiple Kolpaks and overseas ‘white ball specialists’ then you were probably feeling quite pleased for yourself, a minimum of £30k for 5 weeks worth of cricket and for some, much much more. The same goes for those commentators and presenters who are likely to emerge financially better off from this new competition with the pain and anger of the average fan a mere annoyance to be dismissed forthwith.
Those ‘lucky few’ are indeed few and far between though. The majority of players, fans and cricket aficionados are now on the outside looking in, which is ironic as this is the place we have found ourselves for years having been castigated by the ECB for daring to question their modus operandi. For those players who haven’t been picked for the Hundred, with the significant earnings on offer now but a mere dream for many an underpaid county cricketer, it must be a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Instead they get to look around their dressing room knowing who of their colleagues has been paid £70k or £100k or whatever they indeed got paid to participate in a format that will hurt the county format forever and sharpen the pay divide in English cricket. They also have to face the fact that they will now be in the bottom tier of the priority of English cricket whose purpose is merely designed to make up the numbers in a developmental 50 over competition and a T20 competition that the ECB is desperate to kill off, despite both the popularity of the format and the financial success it has delivered.
Then we get to the real casualties – the counties and those members and supporters who have both grown up with and followed county cricket for years and now face a reduced programme with fewer of the players that they have grown accustomed in seeing being available to play for their county. Every single county has been hit, though those who have had the dubious pleasure of being awarded a franchise can at least console themselves that they will have money flowing in through the gates, probably more from a bung from the ECB to stop a catastrophic financial loss than actual fans attending mind; however it is again, those at the bottom of the food pile that have been hit the hardest. I may be a huge Middlesex fan, but one can only imagine the pain of supporters of the likes of Sussex, Somerset and Worcestershire, just to name three, who scanned which players they were going to lose for a period during the upcoming season and then realized that the successful team that they had put together despite their financial limitations, had been ransacked by the franchises. The 50 over competition isn’t going to be a developmental competition for them, it’s basically going to be second XI cricket and whilst I don’t doubt the strong support of the fanbases of each of these counties, it is still going to be incredibly tough to motivate yourself to watch a 2nd XI team play for over a month, especially against those who have been relatively untouched by the draft and are likely to have a far stronger squad than you. There is also the small matter of players like Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Dan Lawrence, George Garton and many others who might find that the counties who are hosting these new franchises would quite like a friendly word with them and maybe the promise of a large contract in time. Indeed they would be crazy not to. This is of course is the first stage of the slippery slope from where proud counties just become developmental squads for the bigger counties, not that anyone will admit to that though. Yet.
The message from those who are likely to benefit most from this competition has been unsurprisingly terse to those who might murmur an objection to this terrible format. Stop moaning, get with the programme, stop holding back cricket, think of the new fans and look at the shiny £1.3million hush money we’ve given you (though I would actually be amazed if the actual figure the counties receive is anywhere near that). A case in point comes from an individual who is definitely a winner from the formation of this competition:
Isa has had a meteoric rise through the commentary circles over the past years and now seems to be the face of both women’s cricket and the go to female commentator for men’s cricket. I have to say I have no problem with this as in the main, I think she is good, although nowhere near as good as Alison Mitchell but quite frankly I couldn’t care less whether the commentator is male or female as long as they speak sense. However this post is at best ill informed and at worst completely hypocritical from someone who should know much better. It is well known that Isa has been named as the lead for the BBC’s coverage of the Hundred and no doubt has received a hefty pay rise as part of this, so to therefore lecture those fans, who never wanted the format in the first place ‘to stop being so negative’ strikes of a massive self-serving agenda. It’s the sort of thing Michael Vaughan would do and you never want to go ‘full shiny toy’. It’s also an argument that you’re never to go win either. The stench that the Hundred has created by the complete and utter mismanagement by the ECB at every stage and what it means to the average county fan, who is fearful for the existence of his or her county, means that people are naturally going to be angry and upset. Comments such as ‘it’s here now, therefore you need to get behind it’ are certainly not going to pacify a group of individuals who are seeing the game that they know and love massively transform for the worse overnight. Hell, even Tom Harrison’s favourite subservient – Gordon Hollins, has fled the ECB after a hugely successful 10 months as ‘Managing Director of county cricket’ doing important stuff such as…er, let me come back to you on this. More to the point, when the rats start fleeing the sinking ship then you know have a case to be seriously worried.
Without doubt this is the first step into carving county cricket firstly into a two tier establishment of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ with the end game being a slimmed down county circuit of the ‘haves’; never mind the history and the county fans who there are many. This is the ‘digital transformation’ of cricket and if you happen to support a county team without a Test Match stadium, then sorry, you need to get with the programme, this is the new game whether you like it or not, Cricket 2020 is now upon us. Oh and if the new competition doesn’t work, then we’re all buggered anyway, well apart from those who managed to get paid big because of it.
Oh and don’t just take my word for it, feel free to read George Dobell’s submission to the DCMS committee about his take on what the Hundred will do for cricket. It is somewhat damning:
Reblogged this on UMPIRE BELL.
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“cricket will not exist in this country in the years to come if we do not try something to engage kids and people outside of our cricket bubble.
Why not try free to air Blast cricke then if you really care about the kid? Or are they just another human shield to hide behind? The very thing ECB has refused because the governing body has become a giant trough for ex players, and sycophants in the media like you, who can’t help themselves but bury their noses deep enough in overpaid commentary gigs for partner broadcasters.
And what do you mean “our cricket bubble.” You don’t represent me, so don’t pretend to play the Rodney King line ..”why can’t we all get along.” The game has been completely highjacked and reorganised so people like you can earn big bucks off the sport. That is the priority.
“You have a right to have a go after 4-5 years if the hundred has not been a success.”
Completely wrong. Don’t tell me what my rights are. I have a right to criticise anything I choose. You don’t get to decide. I also have the right to withdraw my money as a customer.
“It’s all cricket at the end of the day”
No it’s not. And that remark demonstrates why you are totally unqualified for promotion to be the BBCs face of cricket. But the BBC is more interested in the sex of someone rather than their ability. I have no interest in one hundred ball cricket. It’s a joke. Even if it becomes successful I will not be interested in it because it is more akin to Its a knockout than cricket.
This is a money making project dreamed up by the scum bags who have hijacked English cricket and run it as a private business for a handful of insiders. It will destroy country cricket, (which I maintain is the real agenda)
If cricket can only survive by humiliating itself with embarrassing bastardisation formats of the game then it derserves to die. If Cretinous presenters, and bouncy castles, and fireworks and drunks are all that can save cricket then so be it. Cricket can survive without huge money. It has done so for decades. But without big money it is the insiders who can’t live like kings leeching off the game for themselves.
The most ironic thing about this so called push for ‘new audiences’ is that not a dime will go to grass roots cricket as they’ve massively overspent on marketing this white elephant.
If by some fluke this competition does attract new people and children to take up cricket, then good luck finding somewhere to play based on the fact that most clubs are struggling to survive at the moment.
Graves and Harrisons answers to the select committee were evasive when asked about budgets.
English Cricket authorities hate their own customers, and wants to replace them with a new, younger shinny audience because it thinks they will be more profitable. Which is why I have no cancelled Sky. I won’t give the bastards another penny of my money.
It’s all about cash and big salaries for a small elite bunch of insiders. (Including the media who are in on the con.)
The claim this will help county cricket and test cricket is a lie. And the fact they keep pushing that lie shows they should not be listened to. The counties who sold their souls for £1.5 million will soon discover they will lose far more in the long run. Players from those counties will end up at the test ground counties. No wonder the usual liars in the media with connections to those counties are shilling for this abortion of a plan.
Graves and Harrison should both be politicians. Evasive wasn’t the word about their performance, their arrogantly thought the ‘we know better than you’ would wash with the committee even though it hasn’t washed with the fans.
“And that remark demonstrates why you are totally unqualified for promotion to be the BBCs face of cricket. But the BBC is more interested in the sex of someone rather than their ability.”
Isa Guha is an excellent commentator and an assured presence in front of the camera. Given the previous “face of cricket on the BBC” is an arsehole of a man, I don’t see the problem.
Actually, even next July, the Hundred doesn’t have to be coming “whether [we] like it or not” in audience terms.
It’s the ECB’s dream to magic up a new audience which will be the saviour of English cricket. So let them get on with it and attact that audience.
Meanwhile, cricket fans can go and support the Blast and support the county 50-over competition, even if it’s missing its best players.
Let’s not forget, in passing, that the MSL in South Africa got a lot nearer to the starting line than the Hundred is at the moment before it was pulled. A lot can be achieved by existing fans simply voting with their feet…and their wallets!
Absolutely! Support the blast and other events but don’t go to watch this new crap.
I find it bizarre why they care what our opinions are. They have told us we are not the demographic they want. So why do they care if we don’t go? But I have cancelled my Sky contract as well because they are going to take a lot of the money they get from Sky for test cricket, and use it to claim that the 16.4 is a success.
They claim that a successful 16.4 will benefit all cricket. But It will just lead to ever more shorter forms of the game. Anyone who goes and supports the 16.4 is signing the death warrant of traditional longer forms of cricket. Oh, and making a few insiders filthy rich.
Terrific, powerful post. My jaw dropped at how blatantly (and verbosely) self-serving Guha’s comments were. Those with a vested interest don’t even try to hide it. She then follows up with:
“100 balls is more relatable” for “people who don’t get the rules” Jesus wept.
Fuck the Hundred and everyone who sails in it.
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Also, cricket has literally no chance whatsoever of being the no.1 sport in this country regardless of what the ECB does. What bloody relevance does a comparison to India and Australia have, when football exists?
She sounds like a speak your weight ECB patsy. No wonder the BBC couldn’t wait to bring her on board. She will fit in with all the other stenographers to power.
I simply don’t believe there are lots of people who like cricket, but don’t understand the rules. How retarded to you have to be to to not understand 20 overs or 120 balls, but can suddenly understand 100 balls.
If you can’t count above one hundred maybe you are not worth the bother of destroying the rest of the game for. It’s a dumbed down format for stupid people. No wonder the shallow idiot media love it.
Foreign coaches, and players will pick up their cheques, and fuck off laughing as they go.
Guha’s comment reminds me of a tweet by Lizzie Ammon ages ago which said something along the lines of: I don’t like opera, full stop. So I wouldn’t go to see an opera even if it was 20% shorter.
THAT’S the failure in logic with that argument.
The rules one is just bizarre: you can’t understand the concept of something 120-units long subdivided into 20 shorter units but you can understand the LBW law, part of which is a historical anomaly from several decades ago which makes no logical sense at all?!
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Just thinking too–if they can’t understand the units and subunits idea, how do they manage with the concept of pounds and pence?
Are the tickets going to be 25 quid, or 2500 pence just to keep in the spirit of the thing?
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Shane Warne has gone from “I’m not sure I’m a fan of the hundred. I think we’ve got 3 formats that work really well and you don’t need to confuse spectators with any more” to “I’m very proud and very honoured to be asked to be the head coach of The Hundred team based at Lord’s…..I love the concept of The Hundred and it has grabbed my attention in the same way the IPL did.”
What on earth could have changed?
No surprises here either (read whole thread):
If 20/20 was such a success why do we now need another even shorter version then Mr Selvey? All the arguments made for 100 ball cricket were made for 20/20.
Where are all the people who claim they like cricket, but only had a short attention span? Why haven’t they flocked to test cricket and junior cricket then?
What will be next? 10 balls a side? With unicorns and rainbows? TV will love that as you could play the whole World Cup in one day.
As I say, if cricket can’t suvive without turning itsself into a shabby vaudeville act then it should die. But that would mean a lot of people at the top would have to get a proper job,
You can always rely on Mr. Selvey to bang the ECB’s drum..
Great article after a period of quiet.
Can I just add:
1. The ECB continually (and relentlessly) challenges me to reappraise what I thought was my limit for feelings of utter contempt. If they were a public body they (and Selfey too for that matter) would long ago have been charged with (and found guilty of) malfeasance.
2. Brave of George Dobell – have to tip my hat to him for his submission. (It also shows the appalling degree of Selfey’s continued stenography on behalf of the ECB).
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I don’t always agree with George Dobell but he is always worth listening to (and in this case, I do agree with him)
I don’t either DLP but, generally, I think he’s very good. But, there’s always a hint of a hooray henry about him. That’s fine if it’s background. Hence my comment. It was/is brave of him to submit that paper. He might not have to worry about a mortgage (I’ve no idea) but to call out the Board who run the sport he reports on is brave. He’ll forever have my gratitude for that.
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Credit to George for sticking his neck out, and making good and relevant points with regards to the lack of funding for grassroots and disability cricket, despite all the expensive PR from the ECB otherwise.
Because honestly, it really should not be that hard to run cricket well in England, compared to most other Full Member nations. Sure there is competition from football and a few other sports, but the same applies to West Indies (athletics), South Africa and New Zealand(rugby), Zimbabwe (failed economy, you can imagine what that does to the playing base), and even in India other sports are massively increasing their public profile, partly fuelled by the absolute decline of standards in international cricket.
You have a wealthy nation, good infrastructure, and not much in terms of socio-economic challenges (a substantial portion of the playing base in South Africa and India are already excluded due to poverty / extreme poverty). So there is really no reason why England should struggle to develop its own talent, and keep cricket in the communities. That they have not can mostly be explained by self-serving greed from the powers that be.
For all the increase in the money in the game, how much ends up being spent on futile PR exercises, and remuneration and perks for the ECB office holders, and how much has gone to grassroots?
I think I read an article on Cricket Australia, who had increased employment at their offices by 30 or 40% in a few years. Most of those employed were lawyers, PR-people and the like, and had little to do with the actual cricket and cricketers. They decided to reorganise, when money became a bit of an issue. The ECB seem to have gone in the opposite direction.
Honestly, I can’t wait for the Hundred to fail.
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££££££££££££££££ or $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
That’s the problem with the media too. They will sell their souls, and very cheaply it appears. That’s fine, if it’s just their souls…. but
They are also selling out the soul of cricket for their own short term gain. That makes them enemies of cricket not allies.
They seem to be getting more annoyed that traditional supporters are saying they won’t attend. Why? If the reason is to attract a new shinny audience they should be pleased. More seats for stupid people who can’t count above one hundred.
The real reason is the 16.4 is a naked power grab by the ECB elite to destroy the old county system, and centralise money making opportunities for a small elite to gorge on. And they want us to fund it.
Boycott the hundred, and cancel Sky. Or accept the game will be completely reorganised into something which is not cricket as most of us have known it.
If cricket has to be made into a clown show to survive, then I would rather not watch the circus at all.
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Yep, got it in one. The pound signs are literally all this administration cares about. Stuff the fans and the game!
I’m so glad he finally replaced you-know-who:
He’d win my poll if we were having one.
Righteous sarcasm and wit worthy of Martin Johnson circa 1992.
I’d have had him as the national selector too.
(I was going to say, he speaks too much sense not to be involved in English cricket at an official level, but of course that should read, he speaks too much sense ever to be allowed anywhere near anything “run” by the ECB).
So Shakib Al Hasan got banned from cricket for two years (with one of those provisional) for failing to report attempts made by bookies, nearly 2 years ago.
There is no evidence that he actually fixed or anything, but when the corruption happens in the ICC, ACU refuses to investigate. I mean we have had the ICC blatantly admit that they indulged in fixture-fixing for ICC tournaments, which obviously is a form of corruption as well.
Because why bother with credibility? And who cares about corruption within the ICC, as long as the proceeds of said corruption end in their coffers?
Interesting post on a county thread on a different subject which may gladden your heart, saying that the Cotonou Agreement under which Kolpak players can play in Europe expires in February and hasn’t been renewed yet. Which gives rise to the possibility that next year could be the last year of Kolpaks even if the UK stays in the EU.