Watcher at the End of Time
By Grockle et al
April 21 2018
It's all over the place.The discussions about the game and its future. If you are a long term cricket watcher then you are being told you are watching the 'end of Empire', the last throes of a dying sport being kicked to death by its own governing body. But the games I see are more thrilling and full of excitement than many I've watched over my time and I'm talking about every format. Where it this all coming from?
The ECB seems to have become a secretive and authoritarian body at odds with its own membership and even at odds with the core of the supporters of cricket as a game in recent times (some might say it has always been thus but I couldn't possibly comment).
I've taught economic and business subjects all my working life and I have never seen a business worth its salt succeed by moving away from its core market, creating a new version of its product to move it into a perceived new market that only it seems to see. Coca Cola tried it with a new recipe in the 1980's and it lasted less than 6 months before it scrapped it and moved back to 'Cola Classic'. The new innovation was never spoken of again without laughter from the analysts.
How does a management get so out of synch with its supporters? Well first of all they get out of synch with the understanding of the financing and selling of a sport I think. Captains of industry are brought in to get the market ethos moving but few ever take the time to get an understanding of the thing they are selling. I wonder if they would operate the same way if they were employed by the Church to revamp that? Would they take the job?
Cricket is a product to the money men. It's a religion to many and the basis of their culrtural lives to many more. They don't spend money for the value. they spend money for the club, country, village, because their family have always done it and for players they know. Loyalty is not covered very well by indifference curve analysis and the maths of finance doesn't work as well with cricket zealots or evangelicals from a county.
In a 'wham bam thank you ma'am' world of instant gratification where kids struggle to focus for half an hour let alone 5 days, cricket is an acquired and specific taste that few will take to the highest level. It is difficult to get a child interested if the TV rarely shows the sport, they have no one to identify with and in a world where parents are scared to let their kids leave the room unattended let alone the house, the old smack about in the street or back yard needs people to imitate and drive the desire. Giles Clark did for us with that a few years ago now.
So welcome T20. A compromise that was welcomed more than vilified once it had got itself sorted out. The 3 hour version for the newbie. Lots of big hits and great fielding plus bowlers who had the nounce to 'get' the game and it's specific requirements. Embraced by those who wanted cricket on the big Asian stage, watched by millions with entertainment and a more modern feel. Embraced by those who had urban populations in a small number of places in a country, a way to get the punters in to watch big games and attract international stars. In places where Test matches were a difficult thing to sell and the one day format was too long for urban working populations, T20 was the cash cow, the new game and they loved it.
Even in old thinking provincial and conservative Britain with its football watching population, the T20 became that summer thing that worked on a weekend and filled grounds after the footy season was over. It also solved the problem of funding the older game. T20 brought the fun and the funds, it attracted a number to the longer 50 over game and places started to sell those out on a weekend as well. Fundamentally it also paid for the County Championship which was the seed bed for the Test side - still a flourishing form of the game in the UK.
So the IPL flourished with the huge captive urban audiiences of mad keen cricket fans. The Big Bash flourished with its urban Aussie populations and their terrestrial TV and again the cricket religion. Pakistan had a go at a T20 league playing to few in the Gulf but sending the pictures to millions in a cricket mad and starved homeland. Hong Kong, South Africa, Bangladesh and the West Indies all got on the bandwagon. Finally the beer drinking and 'entertain us' bunch in the UK put down their games pads, recorded the soaps and wandered out for an evening or two T20 and found they enjoyed the Blast.
We all understand the importance of the format, even if we have had to learn it in some parts of the country and even though some traditionalists will never take to it. The game has had to accept its importance across the world now and the demands of other competitions on our own talented playing cohort. But what the hell is going on now? Where did the powers that be get so out of step with their own market that they feel they have to operate against it to 'save cricket'
Well first what is this 'cricket' they want to save? It is NOT English cricket. The ECB want to save English Big Bash IPL cricket. The urban based, rabidly followed by thousands, version of cricket that they think punters in the British Isles are losing out on. A version of cricket we have never had. A version of cricket thousands of punters have never demanded.
I am all for breaking down the class barriers of cricket. I do not think T20 punters are stereotypical 'morons'. I am happy to show people what they are missing and I'm happy for them to dip their toes without swearing undying allegiance to my county before they are allowed on the ground. I thank them for their money. I complain when they are rippped off and I enjoy the game they watch as much as they do.
But I'm a traditional cricket fan watching OLD English cricket. The stuff with tradition. The long boring stuff. It seems I am an enemy to progress and what is good for 'the game'. Many are coming around to the fact that cricket does not have to be boring. It also does not have to be 3 hours long and though less of the population watch the four day stuff, they are there and they do watch. It can be sold though you have to buy us dinner first before you have your wicked way with us. Meanwhile the T20 format pays the bills if it is done properly.
The ECB believe there is an untapped market of 'cricket' fans in urban centres who are desperate for a summer alternative. They just haven't been shown how wonderful it can be. In order to make it 'wonderful' in their 'image' it has to be divorced from cricket as it now is and changed to suit the client. The demands of this market orientated version of 'cricket' are so alien to the world of the sport that gives it the name that it ceases to be 'cricket'. The present consumers of the game have to be treated as enemies of the new format and kept in the dark about the plans, their administrators and representatives have to be emasculated so they cannot alter the great plans (which seem to be being madeup on the spot) for the new form. Money must be thrown at the new game in order to get the professionals to play it - big wages will modify their view. Then 'if we build it they will come'.
And if they don't? The basis of 'Field of Dreams' was that the ground Costner built was harping back to a golden age of baseball. This initiative is looking forward into a future that has to be so new there is no measuring stick and the effect it will have on the game we have covered here for nearly a quarter of a decade and which has been reported on for more than six times that may be catastrophic.
Where do you go for help? Well you could ask those with a knowledge of the game as it is and suggestions of how it can improve. You could look at versions that have succeeded iin Britaiin - the T20Blast for example which seems to be going from strength to strength. All that suggests a co--operative and democractic approach. All that suggests compromise and keeping some of the things that people love about the game. That suggests asking yourself why the game has survived for so long, why it is respected as a game all over the world, why it is a religion in many parts. That requires an understanding of what cricket is and what it will take to kill it. That means looking at the culture and the social importance as well as the bottom line figure
I don't know who in the England and Wales Cricket Board has that understanding but they seem to be locked in a Pruitt style soundproof booth or have given up and moved on. I doubt they can stop this 100 ball idiocy anyway. I doubt those pushing it have any intention of stopping even as it becomes more and more obvious that it is a crash waiting to happen. I said the lunatics have gone further than taking over, They are redesigning the asylum and burning all the evidence that it ever looked any other way. I fear for the game I love while I see better alternatives for its future. All we can do is pray that this experiment fails quickly before the UK cricket body bankrupts itself and the game in this country with it.
We have a Brexit mentality that is taking us out of Europe and another one taking us out of the world of cricket.pqs: qs:
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:28:03:03:27 by Grockle.
If a tv programme's viewing figures are falling, you might want to tweak the format, or replace the main presenter, but before you do anything drastic you check with the focus group (dedicated fans). If you have 6 million viewers, and want to get to 7 million, it is no good attracting 1 million new viewers if you lose 2 million existing viewers, because overall you go down to 5 million.
The saddest thing is these fools don't see there is a downside (lose existing people). All they see are a mythical group of people for whom 120 balls an innings was too much, but 100 balls is just right, and who won't care the teams have no historical significance at all. I really don't know where these people are, but the ECB seems certain they exist.
The downside of course is if life long fans don't renew their county memberships, because there may only be 12 championship matches, the 50 over game becomes a 2nd XI competition, as the best players won't be available and if your club's ground has been selected for the franchise stuff then you will see no county cricket at your main ground for six weeks. All your home fixtures will have to be at outgrounds, for the benefit of this wonderful new competition, that no other country in the world has felt it necessary to introduce.
Any runs or wickets can't go on official records, as it's not T20, so like Packer cricket, and apartheid cricket, the top players can entertain, but I don't see how the figures can ever be 'official' (and that sort of thing will matter to overseas players trying to decide if it's worth their commitment).
Oh- and it's England. It will probably rain. You can't recreate the IPL, or the Big bash in Birmimgham. It can't be done.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:21:19:13:40 by chunkyinargyll.
It does seem daft though however you analyse it.
Unless of course they have some amazing data.
But you would think they would share it if they did.
I remain livid with the counties for voting this garbage through.
But six bloody weeks! That's the whole problem. It can only be accommodated by destroying the County Championship, along with the ten provincial counties at the same time. The competitions, seasons and traditions that have led to eighteen first-class counties being spread all around the land are being wilfully destroyed.
Of course, the whole thing could easily be fitted into a two or three-week window, and a lot of fun and excitement it would be too. But that wouldn't serve the purpose of dismantling county cricket, hence, I presume, the addition of a women's competition to pad everything out.
Another point I'd like to make concerns the reason behind the worldwide popularity of all these T20 "Premier Leagues". Don't underestimate their brilliance as a medium for gambling, and the astronomical amounts bet on these matches in Asia. With gambling on cricket being largely illegal in the sub-continent, I don't think many of us appreciate the staggering sums nevertheless bet in India and Pakistan on cricket televised from around the world, and the extent to which T20's qualities as a gambling medium drive its popularity among the masses. You get a hint of it via the sums matched on Betfair in this country. Every IPL T20 game sees 70 or 80 million pounds matched, with upwards of £30 million matched even on games in leagues you probably never even knew existed, such as the Tamil Nadu Premier League. Now, the bulk of those sums is merely hedging money from the illegal Asian markets - in fact, it's likely to be money hedged originally in the UAE being hedged again via UK intermediaries. The sums actually being bet in the first instance dwarf those mentioned above. And that's just on the final outcome of the match, which is a minor market in Asia.
My point is that we find it hard to understand, from the viewpoint of a county devotee, how franchises could be created from nothing, turn over most of their playing squads every 12 months and routinely find themselves mired in corruption, yet attract such massive and fanatical support. The answer is that none of all that matters when your primary focus is on whether the next delivery will be a no ball.
This wouldn't be a concern, were it not for the fact that the ECB seem to think that the IPL crowds have overnight become genuinely fanatical devotees of these franchise, so the same would happen here.
Also there were some hoops that needed jumping through for the club to be able to transmit the live stream, with betting in mind.
People targeted are those not from Durham. Also have trouble counting to 6. It's about futureproofing, creating a global entertainment brand, going to a place where the sun doesn't shine. Above all ignoring what the majority of cricket supporters want or would have voted, talking down to us
Isolating it to a format no one else plays at domestic level (because this 100 finishes the present female T20 competition by 2020) will do that to a great extent while also probably giving it only marginal coverage in the new system. It takes the control back in some ways and changes the dynamic between the women and their governing body.
Where is the joined up thinking that does not relate just to the profit margin?
Edited because it was 6am jumbled garbage
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:22:07:30:21 by Grockle.
If so, this will obviously be daft from a point of view of building a following for the new teams. We all of us realise that. The ECB, presumably, don't care.
But they must, surely, care about selling replica shirts for this great commercial bonanza that they are so confidently expecting?
Perhaps they hope that fans will identify with individual players only and think that, by moving them to a different team each year, parents will happily fork out for five different Kieron Pollard shirts (for example) over five years?
But what the ECB don't seem to have considered is that not only will the city dross be a radical departure from the lines along which cricket has been organised in this country for the past 100 years BUT a system in which a team changes almost all of its players every year would also be a radically different system to that which has built loyalties to ANY team in ANY sport in this country. Including... you know... those football supporters that the ECB is so desperate to win over...
Now, in actual fact, if Manchester United changed all of their players every year then maybe many fans *would* stay loyal to that club because of its history, traditions etc...... but with 'clubs,' that have no history or tradition? How would they fare if they have a completely new playing staff every year? Surely the only way to build a loyal following for a 'club,' that is completely new would be to have a set of players around whom supporters could rally over an extended period of time?
I get the impression that the ECB think that there's an army of people out there who can't be bothered to develop allegiances to anything (so won't be bothered by constant player churn, no history of the clubs etc) but that, somehow, will regularly attend games anyway!? Just because the product is so intrinsically exciting! Or, perhaps the model is based on the utter ludicrousness of attracting "one-off," fans to x or y home games per year!?
We all know that there are many, many T20 games that are dull as ditch water (principally those in which the side batting first loses loads of early wickets or those where the side batting first makes a massive total and the side batting second loses loads of early wickets). I'd estimate that only about 1 in 75 T20 contests proves unpredictable when either of the above situations obtains (an example of the 1 in 75 being the Pollard game at Lord's).
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:22:08:09:55 by AGod.
I wonder what the craziest suggestion will be next Four stumps, he suggests.
Each side to just nominate its two best batsmen, let them swing away and if they're "out," simply subtract ten runs from their total.
Would save time on batsmen going on and off...
Also a 100 ft high steel cage to encase each ground, lest the ball be lost if it be hit out of it.
Don't want any delays - Aunty has Points of View or some other drivel to show.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:22:10:14:09 by AGod.
And Sky won't share coverage of the other competitions, because they feel cricket fans have to subscribe if they want to see any live cricket.
Apparently Strauss has said this is to appeal to mums and kids, which is a bit patronising,as they obviously can't get their pretty little heads around complicated stuff like 20 overs a side.
And 100 overs so kids can get home early (so nothing to do with BBC 2 wants it over by 9 pm so it can get on with normal programmes).
Rumoured they were thinking of not having LBW's (too complicated for new punters to understand).
..........Apparently Strauss has said this is to appeal to mums and kids, which is a bit patronising,as they obviously can't get their pretty little heads around complicated stuff like 20 overs a side.
And 100 overs so kids can get home early (so nothing to do with BBC 2 wants it over by 9 pm so it can get on with normal programmes)..........
I believe we may have misunderstood who is behind this mad mad world - of course whoever was in charge of the whole set-up when our England team has gone down the swanee, would clearly want something to distract our attention from the huge mistakes made by the management team in selection for our England team? Andrew Strauss of course, because surely HIS job should be on the line. We had assumed (at least I had) that the mad world was the work of Messrs Graves and Harrison - but of course the ring leader would have to be Mr Strauss.
So the whole of the summer period is to be sacrificed on the temple of Mums and Kids!!
No mention of real cricket supporters - no offence meant to the ladies, many of who are, apparently very happy with the present set-up of 4 day, 1 day and T20.
The thing about the kids always makes me laugh - you come to watch a good game of cricket and half the kids are playing knock about behind the stands, or queuing to buy chips!.
You really couldn't make this rubbish up because it is true. Answer - sack the ECB and let the Real Counties take over. It appears that the present plans are to save the Test matcvh Counties from going bankrupt.
The first professional cricket match that I ever attended was when I was about 8. We were visiting my nan, and my dad took me to see Middx vs The West Indies at Lord's - a day of a 3 day tour match.
I recall thinking that the play seemed sooooooooooooooooooooooo far away.... too far away, on that occasion, to really hook me.
All these big grounds in the cities may have a similar effect on these 'kids,' that are the target for this nonsense.
It's all a little different when you are halfway up a stand with a gap between the stewarded fence and the actual playing area.
"We are all excited by the prospect of the new 100-ball tournament, despite neither Taunton or Bristol being selected as a host venue for the men’s competition, and we are delighted that both venues could very well be staging fixtures in the women’s competition."
All excited, Andrew Cornish? How about the members? What are you on?
Also mentioned- preliminary discussions about the possibility of Nottinghamshire playing some home games at Derby, as Trent Bridge will be requisitioned (my word, not his) for 6 weeks, so Notts fans will have to travel to another city for home games.
We are officially described as 'the grey market'
They can't even get their alibi's straight!
Has anyone told the ECB that many kids (and certainly the ones with the wealthier parents) will be away for a fortnight on holidays (many of them overseas) at the time that the ECB plans to play this abomination? Last I checked, the kids tend to take their mums with them on holiday.
Oh, and August is one of the wettest months of the year, in many parts of the UK, so it will probably pour for most of the time, especially in Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff, each of which is amongst the wettest cities in the country.
And here are your hosts for this evening - Chris Lewis and Mark Nicholas! And a big hand for your umpire, who'll be trying to keep order out there tonight - it's Dickie Bird! Show us your dipstick, Dickie! Ha ha! That's great, Dickie! But first, here's Natalie Nutmeg to explain the rules for all you mums and kids ...
I get the impression that we're scared, towing the line. Why?
A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.
Also how can you be stating your continued support for women's cricket in one breath while being excited about the prospects of the competition that effectively marginalises it and takes the control out of the hands of the women to a certain extent?
According to Telegragph, the last 10 ball over could be shared between, two, or even three bowlers (so says Kevin Hand on Middlesex commentary).
The assumption will be that 'women and children,' (bless their little cottons) will NOT be interested in watching the ball beat the bat or anything like that, and will only feel entertained if the ball is leaving the playing area every other ball. To be able to all but guarantee that, it is IMPERATIVE that each team be allowed as many 'real,' batsmen as possible, lest the loss of 3 or 4 wkts in the opening 6 overs, necessitate several overs of 'consolidation,' (cue mum and kids falling asleep as they are believed to have the attention spans of gnats, by the EC.
How does having three bowlers (with all the associated changes in few field) help ?
It really is an absolute festering pile of manure.
If so, you are most certainly 'old fashioned,' and you should probably be culled along with the rest of the 'grey audience.'
And heaven help us if it rains mid match. If I, a rare possessor of both a pair of X chromosomes and a more than rudimentary knowledge of the six times table, am baffled by the evil workings of Messrs. Duckworth, Lewis and Stern, what are the MWKs going to make of it.
That's unless there are wides or no-balls, of course.
They'll probably abolish extras, not realising that bowlers would then deliberately bowl wides...
That would condense things quite nicely.
For a 5 ball over in T20 cricket you have a 100 balls (the hundred)
There must be someone, somewhere.
Mustn’t there ........?
Yes, why would the debate be held after the event!?
Can anybody here possibly think of a reason why? Or how this fits in with a wider pattern of behaviour?
There's a shiny silver button on offer for the first person that can work out this fiendishly difficult conundrum.........
Andrew Strauss is debasing himself on a daily basis, however, by giving his backing to this kind of nonsense. Embarrassing from Strauss.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:24:06:27:44 by AGod.
why would the debate be held after the event!?
That is obvious, the ECB are following the instructions of Donald Trump, no one needs to be consulted.
Are you giving your shiny silver buttons away?
ECB as usual telling half truths. 'Players agree the proposals' meant only 3 players were told. Two were Daryll Mitchell (PCA representative) and Eoin Morgan. I can't remember who the third was, but Daryll Mitchell has come out to make it clear he didn't 'agree', he merely took the view it was his job to take the proposal back to his members (which the ECB machine has chosen to call 'support' when Mitchell had merely said he would put the proposal to the players).
Are they accountable to no-one ?
It seems they operate unilaterally, by dictat of one C Graves.
I noticed the plaque in the Straggler's over the weekend, highlighting Graves opening of the Somerset Pavillion.
Frankly, I'd be very happy to see his name removed.
If so, the ECB may be forced to divulge the results of the consultation with the County members re: their proposals for city cricket.
After all, if the case hinges on whether or not it is justified (justification defeats defamation suits) to depict Mr Graves in this way then it is very possible that consideration of wider points than simply the process around the payments to Glamorgan/Hants etc will be necessary.
Any case may then further hinge on whether the ECB have met the legal requirements for consultation by a public body. These are:
1) Consultation must be at a time when proposals are at a formative stage.
2) The proposer must give sufficient reasons for its proposals to allow consultees to understand them and respond to them properly.
3) Consulters must give sufficient time for responses to be made and considered
4) Responses must be (my emphasis) CONSCIENTIOUSLY TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT in finalising the ultimate decision.
Now, we can be 99.9% sure that the consultation with the members delivered a verdict of "Not over our dead bodies."
So the point at issue might be whether the ECB can legitimately be said to have 'conscientiously taken these views into account,' given that it has just carried on with its proposals, regardless.
To judge from the ECB's repeated emphasis that "This new competition isn't aimed at you guys (the existing members)," then it seems to me that the ECB response seems to have amounted to "You don't like it? Oh, okay, we don't care what you think anyway, because this ""isn't aimed at you.""
Would that constitute 'conscientious consideration of the responses,'............?
Who knows, but if this case goes ahead then I suspect that we might be about to find out..
I mean, they must have reams of responses from "mums and kids," all in favour of this proposed new competition, right. Right?
I'd suggest that this defamation action will *not* proceed.............
I wonder what all the 'mums,' will make of that?
Who on earth is coming up with this rubbish.
Why not get all fielders bar the Wicket keeper bowl one ball each.....sorted
Quote:AG on apple
ECB have met the legal requirements for consultation by a public body.
The ECB is a company limited by guarantee, not a public body? Not sure if this makes any difference here
We had just under 2 million social impressions, 450,000 video views and 15,000 watch hours of streaming during Somerset v Worcestershire (3 days)
Seventy Seasons a Somerset Supporter
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:26:09:20:41 by Streeter.
I do something along the same lines by posting something for AG to respond to
The whole idea has nothing at all to do with cricket - Strauss and other idiots have given the game away - if it comes off it should be played only by any overseas players prepared to sign up - and it should be shown on BBC Childrens Channel as it is aimed at mums and kids!.
Looks like the future of cricket may be in the hands of the PCA, lets hope they can put pressure on the ECB (Graves and his cronies) to abandon most of what they propose to do. There is no hope of them listening to cricket supporters
I know there is not much hope of that but we need somebody to kick Graves into touch.
Meanwhile, Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan is to chair an 11-person working group which will look to "refine the structure of men's county cricket that has been agreed for 2020".
Erm......, I must have missed something. The last sentence above refers to 2020 County Cricket structure having been agreed.
I thought life as we know it ended in 2019. Of course there are conference proposals etc. thereafter, but has anyone seen anything actually agreed re 2020 & beyond ?
Maybe I am living in the twilight zone !
In other words, if people wind backwards of forwards through a ten minute video, the system may record their view as having lasted for more than ten minutes. With a stream that lasts more than 7 hours? One can see how the figures may be affected.
So, if people were moving backwards and forwards through the stream (for example to look for wickets that fell) or to avoid that ghastly nonsense from the Worcs CEO, then this will have affected the accuracy of the figures.
It might be the PCA feels that goes beyond their remit, and it might be players don't feel as strongly as fans do. But, if the question was asked, and the players (through a secret ballet) answered 'No' that would send out a powerful signal. Such a vote might not be legally binding, but it would be hard for Graves and co to cling on with a 'No' vote.
I wouldn't be surprised if no agreement ever gets reached over 'revenue sharing,' from the ECB's 'land of milk and honey T20 tournament,' and if a players' strike eventually ensues.
But, if the question was asked, and the players (through a secret ballet) answered 'No' that would send out a powerful signal.
If the players are willing to perform some such act that was interpreted as 'No', that would undoubtedly send out a powerful signal! Why keep it secret? Would make great telly, perhaps just before the T-16.4?