This is wrong, so wrong. A fascinating summer of cricket has barely finished and yet already England are playing their first match of the winter, with a friendly today against a Sri Lankan XI ahead of a series of five ODIs.
Writes Patrick. It’s a huge bugbear of mine that so much cricket is being played, and so little is being done about it. The season hasn’t had time to catch its breath, yet off England traipse for another bloody one-dayer on Monday. This treadmill just doesn’t stop.
Contrast this with the Ashes summer of 1993. Six Test matches were served up, drizzled with a light sprinkling of three one-dayers (Texaco Trophy!). The Championship finished on September 20 and England’s next international was on February 16, 1994 against West Indies, a gap of 4 months and 27 days. I was approaching 12-years-old at the time, and must admit that the hiatus for someone of that age was too much to bear. Fast forward 13 years and cricket is now a constant in our lives. It’s not so much “when” the cricket is on as “who’s playing?” or “where?” Someone, somewhere, will be playing a meaningless one-dayer, earning lots of money for it, and/or forming the beginning of a career-threatening injury which will cut short the number of Test matches he plays.
Some more figures for you. Between January 1 2006 and January 1 2007, England played 14 Tests and 20 one-dayers – a total of 170 days of cricket. In the same time period, India played 30 one-dayers and Australia 29.
We want less cricket. We want fewer one-dayers, and a greater focus on Tests; the less cricket – the less the physical and mental strain on the players – the greater the quality they will produce. Cricket (and sports in general, for that matter) must start to look after itself better and not wring itself dry. We’ll survive with less, honestly. TV companies will too. Yes, the executives might not be able to afford their great-grandson’s private education, or a shiny new Porsche 911, but who is this bloody game for?
Ranting now. Join in below.