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Tag Archives: marylebone cricket club

The standard of current four day championship cricket in Division one is very high.  The above was an exciting match from an exciting and tense 2008 season.  But Mr Collier is on the record as saying ” the cost of a new-look County Championship will be the loss of some of the integrity of the two-division structure.” So change, but not progress; worrying.

Angus Porter of the Professional Cricketer’s Association has called for clarity and early decisions from the ECB as to what it’s proposals are for the Championship, and reduction of matches not only in the Championship but also other forms of domestic county cricket.

“I do not think the players would necessarily go with the Championship as the only place to reduce. They also want a closer look at 40-over cricket and I think they are nervous that we might be overdoing Twenty20″…..

“We must make sure we structure the schedule correctly in 2011 and beyond to fit in the right amount of cricket and move from quantity to quality.”

The players want a reduction in total playing days, and for that reduction to be honoured and not turned into some other add on to a different competition.  Some rational, some sense.

The mismatch of the MCC v Durham clash, where the MCC side was drawn mainly from the second division should have been enough to kill off any idea that randomly drawn conferences would be useful to the further development of the game or player quality.

Change does not always make things better.  What are the ECB actually trying to achieve?

Cut down the number of matches? There are many ways of doing that, but not all of them will result in less, but more challenging games.

More meaningful challenging cricket?  So less matches and matches of an intensity that pits the best against the best.  Where players are ready, rested and at their peak to perform to the max.

So merit groups or a random groups?  The ECB has yet to come out about how they view either in terms of better quality cricket.

A conference of non merit groups [either totally random or regional]; more mismatched matches, less testing cricket for the best players, and those matches will be less of a spectacle for any spectators not turned off by the prospect.

MCC v Durham type standard  is what you would get more of, not less; so a greater proportion of dross, and less games.  Most matches would be dross.

So conference match reduction; the players get more time to rest, travel less, but waste that precious playing time, and that of any spectators.  People turning out for a ‘rare and supposed spectacle of a damp squib’ – I think not. [And in the cold of an April day,  give us a break….]

I have yet to find anyone who actively watches county cricket [rather than just writes about it] that is in favour of non merit groupings.

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?

Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh, stood out in the MCC side as being the most able to cope with the Durham onslaught.  Tim top scored with a mighty 55 not out.

In the MCC match the colours were reversed to those in this picture – Tim wearing white and the ball being pink!

Day 3 of the pink ball match and Durham’s ‘Mr Invisible’ Callum Thorp gets his highest first class run score of 79 not out*, and that with a triceps niggle too – what a hero!

*In that link there is also a short interview where he talks about the pink ball and the match.

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.