A necessary evil

I have to disagree with what Will’s written below, if only indirectly.

By this I mean that I too wish that there were less cricket, and fewer meaningless one-day nothings. But the reality is that international cricket must turn a hefty profit, seeing as domestic cricket everywhere in the world – and Test cricket in some countries – does not. To fuel the intense growth the sport needs in order to survive, it has to reach as many people as possible. And if you’re not sure that’s a good thing to be aiming for, consider this: a generation ago, the only way of following overseas tours was in the paper the next morning or in a 30-second report on the news. TV and the web have made cricket global, and it’s benefited all of us.

And thus the pointless but necessary one-day treadmill. But it’s not like all this extra cricket is being shoved down our throats against our will. If real cricket fans weren’t prepared to watch and pay for it, it wouldn’t happen. The cricket boards, the ICC and the executives are only meeting demand.

Of course we’re worried about standards, and we’re right to rail at the greed of those in charge. But we shouldn’t discard a formula that has given fans greater access to cricket than ever before. Besides, the only people who could realistically do something about it if they wanted to are the players themselves, and apart from the odd muttered protest, they’ve been strangely inactive on the issue.

A final thought. This time last year England were in exactly the same position – thrown into an Ashes series straight after a major tournament. Back then the criticism was not that England were playing too much cricket, but not enough. We have to strike a balance somewhere.