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Tag Archives: development of the sport

Don’t forget, many things slip off the hook when elections happen and the ECB are one of those to have been handed a lifeline in the shape of the general election.  This means the thorny subject of the Ashes and its status as a ‘must be broadcast free to air event’ [the so called ‘crown jewels’ list of British sport] due to be decided this June, now of course will not be.

So there, the ECB will have lots of lovely time to think about how it can get cricket on the free to air box, whilst not pissing it’s purse string holder, Sky, off! How about some domestic Twenty20 finals at the very least?  Worth a barter surely?  And Sky could try to benevolent as part of it’s ongoing Ofcom squabbling?

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Sky has been allowed to be the be all and end all of British Cricket, well by the ECB anyway….. and yet there is viewer appetite for cricket on free to air, even if it is not test stuff as had been shown by ITV 4.

Siddle b Flintoff 7. Australia 388 for 9. Andrew Flintoff celebrates his five-wicket haul as England close in on their first win at Lords against Australia for 75 years.  Andrew also becomes fifth man to get on Lord’s honours board with bat and ball.

How many kids saw this moment live?  How many kids saw this moment at the time of the Ashes series?  How many kids actually know this moment existed?  Ok the kids may have been at school – but there were 5 Ashes matches some took place over the holidays, how many kids caught up with Ashes action?

How many urban kids?  How many from the heartlands of the greenfield rich countryside? Deepest Oxfordshire; in a small village called East Hendred. The very kind of place you would expect cricket still to be thriving;  but the view from Mel, of the fantastic Ceci and Mel, of Swanning about fame, paints a rather grim picture even from the rather more privileged areas of the county.  “The people in the village (who all educate their children privately) provide the bulk of the junior cricketers for our village team; those in state education (including my own lovely offspring) just aren’t interested unless they come from a cricket mad family”.

If Mel is not cricket mad enough, then the sport has problems.

She wrote this in reply to a Wisden Cricketer blog on the subject of cricket, TV and the ECB, from March 25th.

Unless they are from a ‘cricket’ family, I’m afraid that all of my kids’ friends are ambivalent at best about cricket. Ask them to name a current England player and most have to think a bit before coming up with Flintoff or KP; most don’t know how to play the game because sport at their school is run on an elective basis – therefore they don’t opt for cricket as they know nothing about it. The Ashes victory last summer passed most of them by.

It’s a real shame as it’s not as if they are not interested in sport – most of them love to play or watch football – but now that cricket isn’t something you come across on terrestrial tv but something which you have to actively seek out on a satellite channel it just doesn’t register on their radar. The highlights package on Five during home games just isn’t enough.

As a consequence, our local cricket club’s junior section mostly consists of the offspring of the senior players.

Shame.

The ECB may be using Sky money for a few lucky children, but the sport as a whole is slipping from the national conciousness.

Durham have comfortably won the pink ball experimental match against the MCC by 311 runs.  Neither the pink ball, day and night or flat track conditions managed to hinder Durham’s  wicket taking abilities.  Very much business as usual even in the desert!

It might have been more interesting if the MCC could have got together better than division 2 level opposition, considering that gathered together for the event teams tend not to to do as well as established ones.

The ball seems to have posed few problems for Durham, and so far the comments about lights and picking up the pink ball have been favourable.

The experiment has brought up some interesting points not only about how the ball could be improved but also how dimming daylight can be used tactically in a first class match.

In only his second first class match Scott has taken 8 wickets for Durham.  A trial match perhaps, but he might be a bit useful then?

Keith Bradshaw says his bit on his fears for the future of test cricket.  Does this mean that the MCC is going to go all out to lobby for the future of Test and first class cricket in a meaningful and effective way?  Or is he just positioning the MCC prior to the pink ball tests as a being a major player within the sport for media and marketing purposes only.

A spot of  assertive lobbying for the Championship and first class cricket in England to the ECB might be useful too?  Should one hold one’s breath?  Only if they see it as a useful stepping stone to world re-domination.  Suspect that could be a no then.  Especially as they seem to be spearheading current thinking to play early season Championship cricket outside of Britain.

*IUCN Red List conservation status: a vulnerable species is a species which is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

For your delectation here are some blury photographs illustrating the fabulous florescent pink cricket ball, well two types even.  They are blurry because the light was rubbish, and so was the photographer on this occasion.  Two makes of pink ball were trailed on a dull April day.  The MCC bowled with the Kookaburra ball [picture above] and Scotland bowled with the Duke and son ball below.

Below is the bog standard duke ball under similar light conditions, as bowled by the very wonderful Mr Tendulkar.

The Pink ball is fab.  Yes really!  You can see it for a start.   The Duke is more pink the Kookaburra is more fluorescent orange looking and highly visible from a distance.  These luminescent balls were generally popular popular with the spectators I spoke to on the day.

Despite this ECB staff seemed to be wearing a blindfold at the time, the balls made no difference to them.

Here is the first of the player feedback that I have seen from Abu Dhabi on the current pink ball trials.  Pink balls have also been trailed in Australia for some time.