The countdown is on!
Not the countdown from 100 balls in the ECB’s new domestic not-T20 competition plan; more on that later. But he countdown to Tractor’s first tour in six years. SIX YEARS!!
Sri Lanka, here I come, in a mere 180 days. I’m missing the two test matches (sob!) but at least will catch an ODI and both two-day warm up matches and after such a long time out I’ve got to be excited to take what I can get in overseas cricketing terms.
So the main purpose of this post is to BEG any Addis Army members who are planning a trip to Sri Lanka to seriously consider arriving a couple of days before the Galle Test begins, so that they can share with me in your first/my last meal in Colombo. Go on, you know you want to! So far there will be me, PC Tin Tin, Tufty and Corbyn and, Mr Editor, I’m specifically asking YOU to make sure you’re ready and available for dinner on Saturday 3 November. Thanking you.
That done with, back to this new 100 ball format: is there anyone out there who’s genuinely excited by this yet? Are the supposed new legions of fans really worth boring every existing spectator out of the game? I’m not totally anti-change. The argument that no one else plays it yet isn’t a solid one.
We invented Test cricket, and we invented T20 cricket, and they’ve stood on their own two feet quite well enough.
I don’t even mind the idea of a 100 ball countdown.
What I can’t yet get my head around (maybe I’ve not read the right coverage, but is this information even out there yet?!) is how this ’15 normal overs plus 10 balls’ thing works. How do we just play 10 extra balls? Was there something wrong with the idea of ’16 normal overs plus four balls’? Have we fallen so far behind in our teaching of basic Maths skills that we expect viewers to only be able to operate in multiples of 10? Is every player except the wicket keeper going to have to bowl one ball each in what will become some strangely slow final super-over-plus?
It’s all just a bit too strange, and when I announced to Tin Tin that Ed Smith had been announced National Selector, we genuinely both wondered whether the ECB press-guy had gone on holiday and left a load of prank press released to be dished out by the work experience kid in his absence. So, so strange.
Sadly, the one piece of news this week that’s definitely not a joke is BBC losing the rights to radio commentary for the Sri Lanka and West Indies tours to Talksport. I hate Talksport. I have tried to like it. I have tried to engage my inner edgy rebel by listening to it over BBC for coverage of other sports. But the lack of editorial clarity is startling, with commentators reeling off advertisement content into their coverage. I find it pernicious. Free to air Talksport may be, but it’s not free from advertising and a more underhand agenda than the BBC. I suppose it just makes those people heading out to watch both tests even more lucky than they already are.