Yawn

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I had an epiphany while watching England’s T20 the other day. I suddenly realised that I didn’t care who won. This might sound blasphemous to many – most hardcore supporters care about every single result – but I couldn’t help how I felt.

Normally I care a great deal whether England win or lose, so I tried to analyse my feelings. Why was I so ambivalent? After all, you don’t devote a large proportion of your life to running a cricket blog unless you’re passionate about your subject.

And then it struck me. This was a T20 match. And with all the fireworks, music, dancers etc, the result almost gets lost. Perhaps I’m wrong but isn’t T20 there purely to entertain … to gasp at the big hitting, the athletic fielding, and the coloured clothing? Well, maybe not the clothing but you catch my drift.

Although professional sport is rarely entertaining without tension – it’s a lot more captivating when you’re emotionally invested in one team winning – I’m beginning to think it’s impossible to feel tense while watching a T20. After all, how can one be nervous when Girls Aloud are blaring out of temporary speakers?

Basically T20 is now just a spectacle; and therefore not really a sporting contest in the traditional sense. It’s about bright lights, big noises, and having a bit of a laugh. Unless it’s the T20 world cup final, or the Blast on finals day, I doubt anyone really cares who wins.

I’d be really interested to know how readers of this blog feel. Do you care about the England T20 team? After all, if Tom Harrison’s priority is for England to play attacking and entertaining cricket, rather than winning cricket, why should anyone else care what the result is?

As long as everyone has a good time and the punters keep rolling in, then what’s the harm in putting up a fight but ultimately going down in flames?

Perhaps part of the problem here is over-familiarity. It’s hard to get invested emotionally day after day, and match after match. It has been a long summer and the games have come think and fast. You’d have to be something of a freak to care passionately about a T20 game nobody will remember when the Ashes starts in a couple of months’ time.

It doesn’t help that we’re now playing five (yes five) random ODIs at the fag end of the summer. Do the players actually care much about these games? I severely doubt it. They’re probably all knackered and looking forward to a break. I certainly can’t be arsed to write a report about the ongoing ODI at Old Trafford. I’m bloody exhausted too.

Like everyone else the players probably realise these five ODIs are just there to raise revenue. And once people twig that the matches are just money-spinners, and there’s nothing really at stake, then the results become completely meaningless.

Unless, of course, white ball cricket is just about entertainment and nothing else these days. Which brings this article full circle.

James Morgan

26 comments

  • In the preamble to this match, Michael Holding claimed never to have watched a Twenty20 match. Short of evidence to the contrary, I’ll believe him. I think you have nearly put your finger on it, James – entertainment, entertainment, entertainment – but is revenue possibly a factor too?

    This series is irrelevant to all except the “Windies”, who, apparently, need a whitewash to qualify directly for the next World Cup (I think that they might struggle….)

    • Talking of Michael Holding, what’s his beef with Lara? Found this quote on Cricinfo: “I am not interested in whatever Brian Lara says. Never was, never will be.” Apparently in response to something Lara said about kicking down the stumps on the 1979/80 NZ tour (which was a lot better than Crofty’s behaviour).

  • This is a classic white ball game. One sided and predictable. Those people if any actually went for the cricket and not just to get lashed have utterly wasted their time and cash

    Win lose produces so many one sided games where the result is known a mile off and the side losing can do nothing about it

  • Completely understand the premise of the piece and don’t entirely disagree, however the WI are touring and deserve a full tour. Personally I’d have gone 3 t20, 3 odi.
    The champions trophy has skewed things s bit, but September has been a regular on the fixture calendar for a few years now and quite often we get away with it.

    With WI needing ODI points I wonder if we could have thought a little out of the box and invited Ireland or Afghanistan for a tri series. Would of added a bit of context.

    • “the WI are touring and deserve a full tour.” Why?

      That makes sense if teams spend days travelling by boat and the largely the same squad is used for each format.

      But Carlos Brathwaite flew in especially for this one match, and most of the other one-day players didn’t play in the test matches. Does it actually help them in any way that they’re playing just a few weeks after some different people from their part of the world played a very different format of cricket?

      Rather than trying to fit long multi-format tours into the calendar, sometimes awkwardly, why not schedule each test, 50,- and 20-over match series independently?

      If the test team and the ODI team hosted different opponents over the course of a summer, would that matter?

  • The match last Saturday was awful. Rubbish of the highest caliber. Playing in the rain on a freezing cold night in Durham? Please. What idiot schedules these games? At least Stokes could have played in front of his fans, why did he need to rest for a t20? And why is Root playing in this garbage? He’ll end up getting injured before the Ashes.

    Your right. Who cares or remembers the result .

  • The major problem with the cricket season these days is the changing face of seasonal weather. Early on we seem to playing in the cold and wet, which punctuates summer and returns at season end. Seasonal weather is no longer as marked. We tend to have year round cool and moist air flows, with the occasional cold or hot snap. This is far from ideal for any form of cricket.
    The major advantage of increasing the number of white ball internationals is that venues are shared more round the counties, so most folk get the chance to see their heroes, even if it’s only fleetingly. There’s no denying their popularity amongst the locals, grounds being pretty full whatever the state of play between the countries.
    Anything that prolongs the cricket season and prevents the total dominance of soccer’s foreign mercenaries is to be lauded. That’s where the boredom is.
    Today’s match has been a useful tactical exercise with Johnny B’s promotion working like a dream. The only issue of playing day nighters in September is the guaranteed cold, whatever the weather has been like during the day. However as many of the crowd are also footie goers they are well used to this.

  • No, I’m not bothered about these five ODIs, we’ve had a lot of one day cricket this season, too much?; I’m now looking forward to the Ashes.

  • T20 cricket is instant cricket, an ok watch every now and then, but not all that much to it really and easy not to care particularly about who wins much of the time

    Day 1 of the county Championship was interesting to follow yesterday, plenty of plot lines in development for this week, and next, if the weather holds. Middlesex, Somerset and Yorkshire coming into view again, but not only them at the bottom of Div 1 and who will go up?

  • How can the West Indies be world champions at T20 but so awful at 50 over cricket that they’ll need to qualify for the next OID world cup? It’s bizarre.

    • The T20 team is effectively the only one that WI put out a first team for (hopefully this is changing, provided the Big Idiot can get off his high horse). A number of WI players (Gayle, Sammy, DJ Bravo, Pollard, Russell possibly C Brathwaite and Narine), play virtually nothing but T20. So that’s what they’re good at.

  • I want T20s to be close contests, and if England are playing I do want them to win – but if they lose in an exciting game, I don’t really mind in the way I would with a test. There’s always the next game in a few days’ time. What I don’t want is for England to be rubbish at T20 and lose constantly. Happily those days seem to be behind us.

  • Completely agree with you about the T20, James. Not that having a one-match “series” was meaningless enough, England then decide to rest the hometown hero and one of T20 cricket’s biggest stars – a massive slap in the face to the fans. The result became an irrelevance.

    The ODI series is a tough one. I love ODI cricket, but it’s clear that everyone involved is clutching at straws in finding any real relevance to it, beyond a couple of players – i.e. Hales – semi-auditioning for a last-minute Ashes squad place.

    As a result, we’re constantly fed this narrative that we should feel so lucky as spectators that Chris Gayle has actually bothered to turn up that we should watch the matches just so he can grace us with his presence – the actual results have become a sideshow.

  • People have been complaining about meaningless ODIs for years – calling them ODIous etc! They have always played too many because they get big crowds. I don’t mind it, although I don’t have Sky at home so don’t get to see it.

    The T20 international is more a day out for the people in the ground.

  • Never really understood the appeal of the so called “short” form which seems by contrast to test cricket to be a very long-drawn out way of reaching a conclusion. And needs endless tinkering to stop it being boring. Ooh it’s a “powerplay”, be still my heart. Let’slet off a firework when someone hits a four in case they’ve gone to sleep.

    And 2020 is so dull they need dancers to liven it up.

  • Never really understood the appeal of the so called “short” form which seems by contrast to test cricket to be a very long-drawn out way of reaching a conclusion. And needs endless tinkering to stop it being boring. Ooh it’s a “powerplay”, be still my heart. Let’slet off a firework when someone hits a four in case they’ve gone to sleep.

    And 2020 is so dull they need dancers to liven it up.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever cared about an iT20 or ODI result outside of the world cup. They’re not even particularly entertaining – I’d rather watch baseball.

    The cricket match I watched and was most emotionally involved with this summer? The T20 quarter final between Notts and Somerset.

  • Makes you wonder whether those retards at the ECB deliberately plot these September games oop norf just to discredit us. I hate these prigs – when are county chairman going to rise up? Come on Beefy!

    • Beefy has had a go at the ECB over the loss of Coughlin (and the imminent loss of Jennings).

      Still, he voted for the new tournament which is all anyone at the ECB gives a flying one about.

  • I like games of cricket to have some meaning. This ODI is meaningless and I was not in the least bit upset that yesterday’s was abandoned. It spared us the blather of Hussein, Ward et al.

By James Morgan

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