Into the Lions’ Den: Water, water everywhere

11:49 02 May 2012

Rain forced Surrey

Rain forced Surrey's County Championship game with Durham to be abandoned without a ball being bowled


The jokes about this being the wettest drought in history are well rehearsed.

But the real issue here is that I cleared an entire weekend’s schedule to watch cricket last week. It didn’t happen and we all like to play the blame game, so who has to answer for the crime of a non-cricketing weekend?

It’s too easy to point the finger at the schedulers at the England and Wales Cricket Board. This season started just four days earlier than last. Sure, it was the earliest start ever, but did it make that much difference? Not likely, and for the last two seasons April has been gloriously warm and dry. I didn’t hear much praise of the wisdom of the ECB in making sure plenty of April was dedicated to playing cricket last year.

It’s just pot luck, it has rained a lot this year, that’s the end of that. We’re always going to be playing a fair bit of cricket in April. The question then is not whether or not we should be playing (or watching, in my case) cricket in April, but it is valid to ask the question what sort of cricket we should be playing in April.

The County Championship, once the vanguard of English cricket, now seems to be crammed into the first two months of the season. This season spans 162 days but half of the Championship is done and dusted inside the first 60. That can’t be right for a country which always claims that test matches are the pinnacle of cricket, can it?

The fact is, there’s a whole month slap-bang in the middle of the season where we only play Twenty20 cricket. I love a game of Twenty20 as much as the next fan but do we need to set aside a full 30 days for it exclusively, and when the weather is probably at its best? I’d rather we spread it evenly across a few months, perhaps on Thursday and Friday nights which would in turn allow a more even spread of all forms of cricket across the season. Problem solved. I’ll send the ECB an invoice for the advice.

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