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T20 City cricket: like Brexit?

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2017 by kmflett

T20 City cricket: like Brexit?

The BBC has reported that Ashley Giles who runs cricket at Warwickshire, essentially Birmingham, thinks that the ECB decision to move to an 8 team City based T20 series is like Brexit. I don’t think he means that Nigel Farage is about to be appointed as an umpire but that the thing is decided and should now be tried.

Possibly so, but it is not without significant issues.
A Guardian letter writer this week underlined rightly that cricket needs to widen its audience. If you attend Test matches in particular you will find a lot of middle class men who can afford to pay up to £100 or so for a ticket (yes that means me). I am old enough to remember when ticket prices were much less and you could turn up and get in to a Test on the day, rather than buying your ticket the previous autumn.

The same epistler pointed out correctly that if cricket is not free to air on TV it is mostly out of sight and out of mind for younger generations who should be the future of the game. Again agreed.

Is the City based T20 the answer? I’m not so sure. It’s not yet clear who will run the 8 teams but if it’s based in the IPL and the Big Bash it will be essentially franchise cricket. It will divorce the game from the, mostly, too small, numbers of devoted County followers and replace it in all likelihood with no similar relationship of bedrock support.

As with existing T20 cricket (which will still go on in a crowded fixture list) the matches will need to be played either in the late afternoon and evening or on weekend afternoons. The plan is to do this in August when as generations of holidaymakers will know, the weather is often not quite as good as hoped for.

Some matches, but actually a minority, will be free to air on TV.

It’s a start but the ECB really need to show Murdoch the door and put Tests back on non-pay TV.

It’s possible that the new format will generate a deal of short term funds for the game, and that will be important but in doing so the issue will be whether it will lay the basis for undermining the County game entirely leaving cricket not as a sport but as light entertainment.

Come to think of it perhaps Ashley Giles was right to compare it to Brexit.

 

 

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