Hello, good afternoon sports fans, it’s me your sports buff. I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health. For the English cricket lovers amongst you, you will be aware of the English Cricket Board (ECB) ramming down the newly formed, The Hundred tournament down our throats.
It will make cricket ‘appealing to a new audience’, if I remember correctly being the narrative that Tom Harrison and co want us to believe.
Me, Ayyaz Malik – I have been a sports writer for over eight years now and despite my football club allegiances or allegiances to a county cricket club (Lancashire, as that’s my home county), I have and will always aim to be impartial when writing or reporting sports.
With The Hundred however, I can’t do this and I feel strongly about this format than to be ‘impartial’. If not treated it can be a cancer to the intellectual game, that is cricket . Football is the beautiful game fans will tell you, but their sport doesn’t seem to be compatible with technology assistance, but what about cricket and rugby? They have had it for years.
I have watched a few of the games in The Hundred hoping, maybe I am at 35-years old, just being a stubborn middle aged man, but no, I don’t think I am . Football fans, how about FIFA changing each half to 22 and half minutes and make the pitches half the size and no offsides, where players can ‘goal hang’.
What was that, no, not keen? Yeah I didn’t think so. The Hundred has concerts going on alongside the game, during intervals. Sorry but this isn’t The Super Bowl or the opening ceremony of the world cup, if you want to go to a concert, well go to a concert. I don’t appreciate cricket getting muddled in with this.
Cricket isn’t like Cheltenham or Wimbledon, where only the Elite tend to go and when you do attend, it’s a custom to wear the clothes or attire associated with those events, for example at Wimbledon it’s customary for a man to wear a suit when at centre court.
If cricket, would turn like that, then the fancy dress and the atmosphere of test matches would never have been born, it makes the English summer and it’s not the English summer without this . That’s cricket, going to the test match, spending a day with your friends having a meal, basking in the sunshine and enjoying your day.
The T20 format has been introduced and that does keep with the identity of cricket I am referring to, but to keep changing the core and beauty of cricket, will make the natural form of cricket, test cricket diluted.
If there was no test cricket, limited-overs cricket wouldn’t have been born. No Virat Kohli, or AB DeVilliers arguably, would have graced the 20 overs and 50 overs games, if they hadn’t been competing in tests.
Test cricket and longer format cricket (four day games) has helped build players and also shows what can be achieved with patience. The narrative, maybe not necessarily the ECB themselves, but by former players (Messers Pieterson and I believe Agnew) have suggested that the County Championship, England’s biggest club cricket championships be reformed.
Very naive to say the least, when especially after the first four rounds of cricket or so of the championship, it’s clear to see there is a big pool of talent. It’s not the County Championship’s fault that an England opener seems to be moved around like a revolving door, unless your Zak Crawley.
Josh Bohannon, Ben Compton, Nick Gubbins, Hassan Azad. Harry Book and Sam Northeast are just some of the hole host of batsmen who have scored well in the county championship this season. The selection policy is floored and results are expected to happen yesterday.
The additions of some good overseas stars such as Shaheen Shah Afridi, Marnus Labuschagne and to his credit Hassan Ali who has bowled for Lancashire, have made matches competitive and interesting. There have been some drubbings and there have been some closely contested matches too.
Say what you will, but this year, some of the best cricket talent, has come to England due to conditions and the pitches that England tends to serve up
The powers that be at the ECB haven’t been watching test cricket, the last year or two, there has been clearly a renaissance in the standard of the cricket being played. Test series between Pakistan vs Australia and between West Indies vs Pakistan comes into mind, the point is I know there are more than that too.
A very strong piece, by my own admission, but ECB leave test cricket and the County Championship alone. The reason why test cricket is on it’s knees is due to you, no one else. Top English batsmen are performing, but you pick the wrong players, give them 0.5 seconds to prove themselves and move on to the next one, then repeat the steps.
The same with England’s captain Joe Root, he was removed in haste. How many of England’s players were in their early to mid twenties? Point proved … I rest my case.
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