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.