Monday, 1 June 2009

The World 20/20 – can you have too much cricket?

I reckon I know more about cricket than 99.9 per cent of people in the country, and will gladly watch any cricket put in front of me, from tests through to 20/20s and club cricket. I can tell you things like Mark Ramprakash's nicknames (Ramps, Bloodaxe); name every single position on the field; bowl a leggie, a top spinner and a googly; and name at least two people I saw on the telly the other day involved in country cricket who I've played in the same team as (well, nearly.)

In all honesty though, I've got a bit bored of cricket. This is since around the time I got a Sky package, something I really resented because I don't believe people should have to pay to watch national sport (perhaps a blog for another day), and I don't really want to do anything to bolster Sky's position as a kind of Death Star of sport, hoovering up everything in its path.

Why? Quite simply there's too much cricket. Far too much cricket. I can't work out what competitions involve any more, who's playing for whom, when it's all on. I really miss the days when Tony Lewis would pop up on a Thursday morning looking like an avuncular Welsh vampire and announce that England were 40-3 off 27 overs. You knew where you were in those days.

I can honestly say I do not give a toss who wins the World 20/20, and that's not because I'm one of those farts who sneers at innovation in cricket. It's simply because there's overkill. I can't invest anything in a sport I've lost touch with and feel vaguely bored by. I'd go so far as to say I'm slightly irritated that there's so much cricket on. It's incomprehensible.

Once again, England is left looking the most stupid. The ECB can be trusted to get it wrong nearly every time – broadcast rights, Stanford, Pietersen – and they're making a right royal cock up of branding and selling cricket at the moment, though they're probably swimming with cash.

The image of David Lloyd above and the ad for Sky's coverage of the 20/20 – you can read my previous thoughts on the Sky commentary team and this particular advert – kind of sums up how I feel about cricket at the moment. It's confusing and annoying.

A blur of players in various colours, David Lloyd shouting, some slick graphics. If I'm confused and jaded you can bet your bottom dollar, and your bottom for that matter, that the general public is.

If it were solely up to me I'd consider jibbing off the Sky package. I only got it for the cricket, and now I'm sick of that.

I can foresee a day when Sky shows 24-hour cricket, and it's probably not far off. Cricket fans will have no other choice but to stump up £40 a month and sit dazed in front of another competition they've never heard of, with Lloyd jumping around like a lunatic in the background.

Familiarity breeds contempt. The ECB needs to realise this and slim down its roster of competitions. Ideally they'd hive them off to different broadcasters too. Maybe we don't all have to be bored to tears by cricket after all.

1 comment:

  1. Know what you mean, and aren't there more 20/20 competitions on the way next season?

    I've tried to ignore 20/20 up until now, but, having said that, I've enjoyed this World Cup so far. I've only had the highlights at my disposal though - in fact, 20/20 lends itself perfectly to a 30/40 minute highlights programme, whereas I can't stand test match highlights programmes...


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