Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Marjorie! Fetch my shotgun! I'm going to bag me a golden goose

Shane Warne

Barely a day goes by without a new innovation being suggested in cricket these days. It sometimes makes me wonder whether there is a large section of administrators who don't actually get Twenty20 on any level, they just see it as a barmy innovation dreamed up over a lengthy working lunch, but one that was actually passed.

Don't get me wrong, I think its a bit gimmicky, I find it fairly hard to engage with in that I can drift off, go and make a cup of coffee, forget it's on ITV4 and come back to it an hour later safe in the knowledge I haven't really missed much. In many way the IPL in particular is like Hollyoaks. You don't really need to pay attention, you can miss big chunks of it, but you can always pick up the thread and the same old familiar characters, that you thought were long gone are still knocking around. For Tony, the floppy haired guy who runs the cafe, read Shane Warne.

I wonder if this hypothetical administrators' view is what drives ideas like two innings Twenty20 and bright pink cricket balls. They are so excited that one idea got passed and went onto be a success that they are flinging out ideas all over the place to see if one of them will stick.

Musings aside The Guardian today reports that David Collier is assessing whether to cut the championship down to fewer matches in a season. This would obviously either need to be facilitated by cutting the number of teams in each division, most sensibly by introducing 3 divisions, or by just randomly jumbling up the fixtures so that some teams are played at home and away and some just once. The problem is that with 3 regional conferences there would need to be semi-finals and a final, not only would this prove a bit unsatisfactory in terms of deciding the winner, but Durham would have played 14 matches to win the championship instead of 16. Is it really worth the hassle for 8 extra rest days?

A reorganisation in itself though isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I would argue that in any system review the most wasteful and superfluous parts should be cut first. Namely the One Day formats. I've said before, although it might draw in a few hundred more spectators than a CC day there is too much meaningless one day county cricket and it is frankly a match fixing disaster waiting to happen. I hate to besmirch the honest county professionals, but I would be staggered if no-one had taken a bung to send down a few extra wide deliveries, or no-balls for a spreadbet on a pointless one day county match.

Ultimately spectators and fans want the maximum amount of meaningful, absorbing, exciting cricket I just hope the administrators want the same thing.

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