Hit, Feel, Rap, Sweat

A shorter post, I promise, on today’s men’s Hundred fixture. Some brief observations on the game and the surrounding hoopla. Once again, I watched it on BBC as this is the main reason it seems to have this format and competition.

The main thought was that yesterday felt like a major occasion and the game rose to it. A good game can be a good game because or, or despite, the format, and the fact Oval dug themselves out of a hole with clever cricket, and that the technical level of the batting was pretty good made it a reasonably captivating experience. That this got more viewers than the Women’s World Cup Final speaks volumes at how the game has inexorably blown it over the years.

Today’s game felt like just another T20-type game with a load of players put together in teams that they really weren’t linked to. Saqib Mahmood for the Oval team? Phil Salt for Manchester? I know the draft is part of this but if the players aren’t really linked to a team it feels a bit false. I know you start somewhere, and that players might get established over the years, but when the game needs results now, it feels desperate.

The line-ups utterly underwhelmed. That’s obviously down to player withdrawals, but it is really hard to get the excitement up for Colin Ingram, Colin Munro and to a lesser extent Carlos Brathwaite or Sunil Narine. It feels a bit of a seniors or rejects tour. If this tournament had the top top players I could see it getting more traction. Again, does it have a year or two to wait? When Jos leaves Manchester, Sam leaves Oval, one fears for the replacement level talent because both teams felt a bit thin. It doesn’t feel like a quantum leap in quality.

BBC really need to look at themselves. I don’t want the occasion to be given royal-level gravitas, but don’t treat your viewers like idiots. Links didn’t work, at one point there was inane chatter (outside of Vaughan and Tufnell) over a delivery (it might have taken a wicket) and putting Jimmy Anderson on the boundary who gave the impression he’d rather be anywhere else even if he didn’t feel that way simply didn’t work. I liked Tymal Mills, the right blend of enthusiasm and analysis. Isa is floundering on live work, especially the filler at the end when there’s only so many ways to ask everyone the same question (but really, football bantz?), and that needs to be tighter. Is there an alternative to the secondhand car salesman Vaughan and his faux cockney spiv sidekick Tufnell? Please tell me there is. We do need the BBC to get this right. Yesterday they outnumbered the Sky audience 4 to 1. If the coverage stays at this sub-par level they are going to hear it from much more influential people than a mere grumpy blogger.

I had to go out, so missed the end. The game seemed frenetic, and while a lot of it will come with adjustment, I am still working rates out as runs per over and bowlers having a set number of balls is just a change in mindset. Whether it is necessary, others can survive. I wonder how much Winviz are paying for their input. Importantly, I didn’t get a sense of occasion like I did yesterday. Some bloke I have never heard of, playing a tune I couldn’t here reminded me of the time Sky wheeled out that act who did a terrible version of Baker Street for a Premier League fixture. They abandoned that soon enough.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. The last thing is that the social media buzz before, during and after was markedly down on my feed. Whether that was the same for you, I don’t know. The sense I get is that this has got off to a steady start, and steady isn’t good enough for what this competition aspires to do. It could really struggle if Team GB does well in the Olympics, and really struggle when the Premier League starts. which is when this ends. I don’t sense it has gripped the nation enough, certainly the men’s competition, but it is early days.

28 thoughts on “Hit, Feel, Rap, Sweat

  1. Elaine Simpson-Long Jul 22, 2021 / 10:19 pm

    I watched it and was totally underwhelmed. All the tacky graphics on the screen were bizarre and distracting. I watched on Sky simply because they went off for ads and did not have to fill in the time with more inane wittering of which there was plenty.

    Looking at the audience I did wonder where all the families were. The ECB have made such a big thing of making this family orientated but all I saw and heard were the usual chanting beer swilling attendees.

    Like

    • dlpthomas Jul 23, 2021 / 4:08 am

      “All the tacky graphics on the screen”

      I forgot the game was on but I saw LCL’s post, turned on Foxtell’s cricket channel and the replay was on. My immediate reaction was “why is so much crap on the screen?” (and if they are targeting a younger audience, why is the font so big? )

      And is it really necessary to flash “Oh Yeah!” after a six?

      I could go on and, at some stage, I undoubtably will

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2021 / 11:10 am

        I put my reaction to the Oh Yeah down to my age. But it did feel a bit like trying to be cool by focus group, or from a middle-aged marketing executive.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. David S Jul 22, 2021 / 10:24 pm

    Would disagree with the assessment of the batting. Watching from the stands, it seemed no one could really connect with it well, and the game seemed to be won off Billings recognising this and not looking to blast everything, only to then get out almost immediately When he then tried to.

    Thought the actual level of the game itself was definitely inferior to the women’s game the night before.

    Quite happy I missed Vaughan’s “insight”

    Like

  3. Bazza Jul 22, 2021 / 10:40 pm

    The BBC Should be braver in its choice of presenters, MV & Tuffers should stick to main formats.

    Isa was like a translator for two old blokes, talking about the old days of team managers and physios.

    Put Mills and a young face in the box with ISA, and that doesn’t mean a love island contestant

    Like

  4. Marek Jul 23, 2021 / 12:02 am

    Some thoughts:

    First, the ECB is being extraordinarlly reckless not only with the county game but with the international game. The England test squad are still due to appear in the first two Hundred games for their teams up until a week before the test series starts…which in the current situation means there’s a relatively high chance that they’ll take Covid straight back into their biosecure bubbles for the financially most important test series England have ever played. Which in turn means that there’s a chance which is far higher than it needs to be that that series, on which tens of millions of pounds are riding, will be called off or shortened.

    Second, the hype about it benefitting the women’s game is a load of…well, balls. This is the competition that’s paying the women a fraction of what it’s paying the men, to the extent that some of them can hardly (or not at all) afford to take part in it because they’re amateurs–whose meagre payments the same competition has then failed to subsidise even using its unexpected windfall of money saved from overseas player pullouts. (Let’s not even mention that the Hundred also resulted in the total cancellation of a perfectly good T20 competition).

    Third, the elite, top-quality competition? Give me a break! This is the tournament which has at a teenager who made his professional debut ten months ago and has only ever played one format and another player who made his professional debut all of four days before the tournament started. Smith, Kohli and Warner it isn’t.

    Fourth, the whole thing about the Hundred being fine because the cricket is actually OK (exhibit A, the unbelievably vacuous article by Emma John yesterday) is a bit like approaching racist chanting from the point of view that the rhymes scan well. Sure, the cricket might be OK (as you say LCL, why wouldn’t it be, it’s a great game and the furore about the changes has been overdone something chronic–come on, even in my lifetime we’ve had two different lengths of over at the same time in test cricket, I’m sure we can cope with five-ball overs and some idiot blue-sky “thinker” telling us that they’re not actually overs any more).

    But it’s an act both of stupendous financial recklessness and of wanton, and deliberate, vandalism of the county game. In the short term (say, starting on the same day the Hundred started) it’s turned the main county competition in the only format where England are currently world champions into something resembling the Second XI cup for the less fortunate counties and the Tilcon Trophy for the more fortunate.

    In the longer term, it’s very likely either to bankrupt the entire professional game (let’s not forget it’s already frittered away £70m before the competition’s even started to leave the ECB with virtually no cash reserves…which is going to look pretty daft if the 2023 Ashes, or this or the next India series is reduced to three tests because the Queen dies in the middle of it or the entire touring squad have to self-isolate)–or cannabalise the counties and leave cricket in the hands of people who care about cricketainment but not cricket.

    So I would disagree with you LCL that county cricket fans are stuck between a rock and a hard place in how to approach the Hundred. The game is up either way if the Hundred goes on very long, so it both may as well, and needs to, become nakedly political. The Hundred needs to not only fail but fail fast for the county game to have much hope of surviving in anything approaching its current form. So it needs to be boycotted–and I would seriously considering taking that as far as not reading about it, which will drive up traffic and give the ECB reasons to think it’s a success. In any case, it means not engaging with broadcasts or live matches, even to take up offers of freebies; and engaging with the Royal London (live streams are our friend!) as much as possible, even if we’re watching Warwickshire’s collection of academy players.

    The ECB has turned county cricket fans into the sans-culottes. Maybe it’s time to start acting like them.

    Like

  5. Mark Jul 23, 2021 / 7:02 am

    The real story of last night (if the likes of Paul Hayward ever wanted to write something honest) was a humiliating admission by the ECB that they made a terrible error when they removed all live cricket from terrestrial tv 16 years ago. That is what the 16.4 is really about. But the ECB will never admit that, and the rest of the in house ECB media will never make that point. Instead they pretend they have re-invented the wheel for the greater good.

    I didn’t watch any of it last night, so I can’t really give an honest opinion of its merits or faults. The simple fact is I’m not interested in it. I don’t care if it’s is a success or fails. The point being the ECB went out of their way to tell people like me it isn’t for me, it’s for a shiny new group of fans. So why should I care?

    What I resent deeply is the idea that having been told, arrogantly that it wasn’t for me, I must now support it for the good of cricket by the same hacks and the governing body who told me to piss off. Since when did these bastards give a dam about cricket? They have been shitting on their fan base for years. Don’t tell me what to think or what I must do. I have absolutely no moral, financial or legal obligation to help cricket. You removed the fan loyalty, rubbed in my face, and told me I was simply a credit card.

    I cancelled Sky over a year ago. BT too. So that’s a bit of money that no longer finds its way to the ECB or The Premiership. I won’t be returning. A year of no live sport has weened me off the drug. I now view sport like any other basic commercial decision. Be it the purchase of a car, the selection of a supermarket or a trip to some leisure event like the theatre. Its based on service and value for money only. Love and nostalgia has been removed by the very same idiot governing bodies, and their cheerleading media who demand I support them for the love of the game. Most sport I now find is lacking in both criteria. It’s too expensive, and the product is often sub standard.

    The irony is the governing bodies only saw fans as customers. I now only see them as businesses trying to flog me a dud product. They have nothing to sell me that interests me anymore. I don’t like the new, and they have destroyed the old formats. (I find it astonishing that they start this as the county 50 over competition is taking place.) I’ll spend my money elsewhere. Perhaps The ECB can get all their tame hacks to pony up some of their own money and buy some tickets. Now that would be a genuinely new revolutionary idea.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2021 / 11:07 am

      “I now view sport like any other basic commercial decision. Be it the purchase of a car, the selection of a supermarket or a trip to some leisure event like the theatre. Its based on service and value for money only. Love and nostalgia has been removed by the very same idiot governing bodies, and their cheerleading media who demand I support them for the love of the game. Most sport I now find is lacking in both criteria. It’s too expensive, and the product is often sub standard.

      The irony is the governing bodies only saw fans as customers. I now only see them as businesses trying to flog me a dud product. They have nothing to sell me that interests me anymore. I don’t like the new, and they have destroyed the old formats. (I find it astonishing that they start this as the county 50 over competition is taking place.)”

      I wish I could get to that point Mark. Who knows, maybe I will.

      Like

  6. Aden Biddle Jul 23, 2021 / 8:51 am

    The game last night was a classic franchise game, international 20/20 is normally played on the best pristine wickets in most franchise leagues around the world you get slightly slower pitches just because of the volume of games.

    There is so much to like in terms of a new competition, women’s cricket being on an even footing (kind of as Issy Westbury pointed out and many other) and an attempt to provide some impetus to cricket on terrestrial TV.

    I am not a county fan or member so although I hear their frustrations it really doesn’t concern me to be honest. I appreciate that this is selfish and as someone living in Sheffield we have every other sport apart from professional cricket getting to and from Leeds or Derby isn’t easy any evening.

    I didn’t see the first game on Wednesday because I was playing midweek evening league cricket which kind of illustrates the point the ECB were trying to make about “traditional” or “legacy” fans but failed to articulate this in such a way. League cricket has a much more diverse cross section of society than pro cricketers but also people who attend games at county grounds they “support” IPL teams PSL Teams or like me their passion is playing they care about their own and club play cricket stats as opposed to any professional.

    I now others are different but I love playing cricket (played 5 in 7 days earlier this year) and my sole interest is if The Hundred gets us more players on Saturdays, more sign ups for a women’s team soft ball and hard ball, more 11’s and above down on Fridays and most importantly more Dynamos and All Stars sign up then that is a success to me. Although I have reservations that anyone from an city club with no private school boys like ours will ever produce a pro cricketer again the way its going (hoping the new tournament can help clubs in this way also).

    The issue is always how the ECB have gone about setting up this tournament and the politics behind, the tournament existing is perfectly fine as far as I can see and post COVID more stars will be good for fan engagement. Why the ECB needed to act like a pompous middle manager enforcing a change program through nonsense buzz words was all unnecessary and has caused all this angry for no reason.

    John has written a good article on this in Cricket Yorkshire who I sometimes contribute to, on a side note people who have played Hundred cricket at club level have told me its ideal for club evening league similar to the 12/8’s format (96 balls) without TV ad breaks and time out’s it is much more conductive to a 18:30 start than 20/20, maybe some hostility may be resolved if more evening leagues adopt it as their format?

    Aden

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2021 / 11:04 am

      Thanks Aden, and an interesting take. Of course I was always going to focus on this point:

      The issue is always how the ECB have gone about setting up this tournament and the politics behind, the tournament existing is perfectly fine as far as I can see and post COVID more stars will be good for fan engagement. Why the ECB needed to act like a pompous middle manager enforcing a change program through nonsense buzz words was all unnecessary and has caused all this angry for no reason.

      If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times – when I was being given all sorts for the reaction to the dispatch of KP from the England ranks, and then their doubling down on the nonsense of it all, it was taken as a defence of the player. And yes, I was mad that he had been scapegoated. But the MAIN issue was that the ECB, and when called upon by a clarion the supine media, could tell the paying punters to shut the hell up, these decisions did not concern them. The people annoyed by it were all characterised as Piers Morgan clones, because it is always good to focus your ire on one person and characterise those who agree with him as being the same. The ECB told you what to think, and if you didn’t, or had the temerity to speak out, well, you see where the blog got its title from.

      The Hundred is just more of the same – you need to change, you need to make things happen. No-one was going to persuade Tom Harrison and Colin Graves otherwise. Something had to be done, and this is it. Now, instead of the focus of the decision being a preening, self-absorbed, divisive superstar batter, where you can play off the two sides (and hell did the press and TV media do that – with angel Cook the lightning rod), we have the denizens of county and test cricket being driven mad. These are the folk who support the game through thick and thin and can’t just be seen off as fanboys, loudmouths, backing a player who rubbed people up the wrong way. These are people labelled haters and obsessives who love the game. Against them are either those who think admin is great, those who think the game needs saving, and an amorphous blob of “potential” new supporters. It’s not going to be pretty.

      I have been told that this was one of the posts that resonated during the KP issues. We are going this way with the fanbase, and that is never good:

      https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2016/01/25/schism/

      Let’s see.

      Like

  7. LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2021 / 10:46 am

    Thanks for the comments so far – very interesting and a range of views.

    Sam Morshead has tweeted this re the viewing figures for last night:

    On a night where there was no terrestrial (so old fashioned I know, but you know what I mean) competition for sport (e.g. the Tour de France highlights which ended on Sunday) and just before the Olympic behemoth hones into view, I don’t know quite how great these numbers are. Come back to me in three week’s time with the audiences. This is a new competition and has had a ton of cash spent on it – the ECB need it to capture the mood.

    Like

    • Mark Jul 23, 2021 / 11:39 am

      If sport is free to air many people will watch. Millions sat up late watching Curling a few years ago. The idea that a good audience is related to a new competition is wishful thinking. If they had put Blast matches on the BBC over the last couple of weeks the figures would have been comparable or even better. It’s because it’s free to air not because it is new.

      The cricket World Cup final on Channel 4 a few years ago got a respectable audience, and it was up against The Men’s final at Wimbledon.

      The problem for sport is what happens when you put it behind a pay wall. And if you put it all behind a pay wall as the ECB did for nearly two decades you have a generation who have been lost. The Champions league figures have been down since it all went behind a paywall. And football is much more popular and robust than cricket.

      The media are giving the impression that the ECB are geniuses, and like alchemists have invented gold out of nothing. In reality they are trying to put right their own actions. Also they are breaking the county system which is the secret agenda. If the 16.4 takes off and people start to support these franchises then like Twenty 20 it will become an uncontrolled monster. The ECB will be happy and good luck to them.

      But it will just weaken those other parts of cricket many of us prefer. Which is why I reuse to be told I must support it for the good of the all round game. Heard that before with Twenty20.

      Like

    • dArthez Jul 23, 2021 / 6:00 pm

      Yeah exactly. If you can post those figures when a World Cup Football semi final is going on, great. If a documentary on the migratory patterns of tumbleweed would catch half those figures, not so much so. And it is really not hard to see that the moment to start the damn competition was orchestrated to reduce interference. Be it from the tennis, the cycling, the Olympics or the football season. So more of a tumbleweed competition, than anything major.

      Honestly, I would not be surprised if the archery competition (don’t know if any Britons are good at that) will beat the Hundred in a few weeks. Why? Because even if people have nothing with the sport in question, that a Briton will be doing extremely well in such an event will help tremendously. Or in swimming, hockey, or God knows what nonsense qualifies as sport in the Olympics these days.

      Of course it could have helped if cricket was Olympic, but hey … we can’t have that, can we?

      Like

      • Marek Jul 24, 2021 / 12:47 pm

        To be fair, cricket in the Olympics is coming, i suspect, albeit slowly. I’d be quite surprised if there wasn’t consideration at the ICC of giving it a push for the LA Olympics–the USA is, after all, apparently the biggest cricket broadcast market outside the big three–and I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t serious talk from both sides about having it at Brisbane.

        At some point, too, the ICC will really wake up to just how much funding they can potentially unlock from governments for Olympic sports–which, I believe although I’m no expert, is not limited to the countries that actually compete in the Olympics in that sport.

        Like

        • dArthez Jul 24, 2021 / 4:02 pm

          I saw a figure for the Netherlands a few years ago, when the ECB successfully killed off the attempts to get cricket in the Olympics. That was at least 300 000 Euros a year, if cricket became Olympic. Which is quite a sum of money for such a small cricketing nation.

          Like

    • glenn Jul 23, 2021 / 6:23 pm

      How did the live England T20 matches do on the BBC do this year? I saw a link that one of last years got 2.7 million viewers.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus Jul 23, 2021 / 9:51 pm

        The first game of the Men’s Hundred got 2 million, while last Sunday’s T20 international got 1.7 million – that would be the event competing with the Open golf, the British Grand Prix, Cavendish going for the Tour record and it being a Sunday when people go out.

        Like

  8. Miami Dad's Six Jul 24, 2021 / 10:45 am

    At risk of looking like the Tory MP who boycotted the entirety of the Euros this summer because he was a slobbery old crusty racist, I haven’t bothered with it all.

    I wondered if I might, but now it’s come around, nope, I can’t stir myself for it – I can’t get past the exclusion of even greater swathes of the nation than the county game (a reminder that as a Plymouthian (plimuffian) that my nearest county ground is 75 miles away, and that is nothing compared to some of those in deepest Cornwall). At least there’s a direct train to Taunton, whilst the Hundred exists only over 3 hours away, or over 4 hours on public transport.

    Anyway, the orange popcorners are my favourites.

    Like

    • Marek Jul 24, 2021 / 1:17 pm

      Well, I’ve been watching the future of English cricket on the Internet instead: a Sussex team containing seven teenagers (and that’s only partly due to absences at the Hundred; they’ve been doing it all season) play a compelling List A match. At Sedbergh, which must be one of the most beautiful grounds in the world–I felt I was watching a travel programme with some cricket in the foreground.

      And a bit of West Indies v Australia.

      In passing, I noticed a crowd shot of the game at the Oval the other night and the crowd looked….exactly like a T20 crowd (except, as George Dobell pointed out, considerably smaller than for a Surrey game). Precious little sign of the South asians, women or (especially) children and families that the Hundred was supposed to be attracting in place of all those “legacy supporters”. And which, of course, tens of millions of precious money that could have kept the game afloat better during Covid have been frittered away on attracting.

      Like

      • Grenville Jul 25, 2021 / 10:16 am

        It’s clear from the crowd sizes that the hundred is failing. It has not done anything that sticking the blast on the BBC wouldn’t have done.

        Whether I think that is a good thing or not, I don’t know. I hate the ecb. But if they go broke then what? I’m an old anarchist and think that maybe Durruti is right. The workers built the old world so we can build a new one and a better one. You can dream of some new foundation on those playing cricket outside of the county structures, the kind of Crockett Aden is talking about above. One that actually embraces those who play cricket in this country. But can you really imagine the British establishment letting that happen? Cricket will, as Zephrine once said, go the way of yachting. I guess that I have to hope that it works.

        I doubt that I’ll watch it though. I don’t like short form cricket much. I enjoy the YouTube clips of spectacular catches, but the batters clearing their front leg and tonking a six bores me. Each to their own.

        Like

      • Marek Jul 26, 2021 / 10:56 am

        I don’t know what you mean by short-form here, Grenville (I’m not a big T20 fan either), but in the three 50-over matches I’ve watched a fair bit of in the last three days (Lancs-Sussex, WI-Aus and Essex-Middx) there have been a refreshing number of reasonably sedate passages of play and quite a lot of forward defensive shots!

        It’s helped that the pitches in the last two of them were not at all easy to bat on–which made for an interesting watch if you don’t just want to see the cover belted off the ball. (The Lancs game had both: a cautious, sensible recovery from 115-7 chasing 270 followed by a violent assault by nos 8, 9 and 10 in the last ten overs whcih yielded just over 100).

        Like

        • dArthez Jul 26, 2021 / 12:06 pm

          Honestly, if you want ODIs to thrive, make 220-240ish par scores. For T20s 140-150.

          Sadly most of those games are played on national highways with stadiums built around them. I have no interest in watching 300+ vs whatever or 180+ vs whatever.

          Also, such par scores do not have to be detrimental to Test techniques at all. Because without a decent defence you will fail. When you get these massive par scores, lack of defensive technique is even a virtue – you’d rather be out for a 5-ball ten (with 2 mishits) than for a 15-ball 10 in most cases then.

          Oh and congratulations on the ECB spending 50 million pounds to get a few women in, and otherwise exactly the same crowd. Now if that 50 million had been spent on the KSL, you’d easily have the best women’s cricket event in the world …, and attracting hundreds of thousands of girls to try (and take up) cricket, with serious career prospects.

          Like

        • Grenville Jul 27, 2021 / 2:42 pm

          I was tarring them all with the same brush, but, yes, actually, 50 over games with run rates around 5/over can be great fun. I’ve never actually spent cash on a 50 over game, but it could well be a better live experience than tests

          Like

  9. Marek Jul 26, 2021 / 10:49 am

    How’s that “creating an attractive atmosphere for women and girls” going, Hundred?

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2021/07/25/jeans-pavilion-day-lords-ditched-traditional-dress-code-hundred/

    What really struck me, apart from the sexism, when I was reading this is how unutterably stupid the people involved in organising the Hundred are. It suggests that they simply weren’t able to foresee (or deal with) a situation where in the UK one match in a double-header is called off and the other isn’t.

    Like

    • dArthez Jul 26, 2021 / 12:15 pm

      “Never attribute to malice what can be sufficiently explain by incompetence”

      Or in the 21st century:
      “Never attribute to incompetence that what has been organised by the ECB”

      Seriously, how retarded must one be to be employed by the ECB? Last month it was the Robinson gaffe, when someone had been okay sleeping on the job for a decade (and presumably not terminated for such a stellar job performance), now none of the lawyers managed to use a brain that would have been fit for public discourse in the last 60 years, on this refund policy … so what is next?

      Like

  10. dArthez Jul 30, 2021 / 2:56 am

    Not surprised. Vegimite makes right after all.

    I am almost hoping for home umpiring, and that the Aussies then can’t use DRS, because the DRS technicians were not in the bio-secure bubble, and therefore cannot operate. Unfair? Sure. But I am sick and tired of Cricket Australia’s high-handedness in the last two years, despite obvious moral bankruptcy on display time and again.

    Financial muscle is a huge problem for the WTC as well: What is stopping say Australia from forcing the hands of smaller boards, so that they only have to suffer 2 Tests in say Sri Lanka / Pakistan (or whoever they are playing), due to financial muscle, and then “reward touring sides with an additional Test, in the foreknowledge that say West Indies won’t be competitive in Australia? (I am making the opposition up, but you get the idea), and thus can be safely played across four or five Tests? At the moment such things are still far away, but it may even make financial sense, once it becomes clear that the other contender in the final may well be India (or England).

    And it is not just Australia. Test tours get shortened (eg. New Zealand – England from a few seasons ago was just 2 Tests, because New Zealand board needed to make some money). Which is why the whole percentage thing is bogus – a team could game the system and have 13 or 15 home Tests, and then just 6 on the road, to almost guarantee (if they’re competent at home) that they will make it to the Final.

    Like

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