Apparently Eoin Morgan, who is employed by the ECB, is a big fan of the ECB’s new 100 concept. Well I never. Here’s what he said to the press recently:
“I think the noise that it’s created is brilliant, it’s good news, because you get the same people who love the game – like I do – coming to the game and complaining about it, because staying rigid is what we’re used to and what we enjoy. But there’s a huge element of staying rigid that can eat away at the game an deter the popularity of the game and that’s a big worry. So the hundred format, I’m a big fan of it.”
Now let’s just get this straight. Eoin thinks that it’s great that people are complaining about the competition. Because, due to reasons, anything that makes people uncomfortable must be good! I have to say that’s exactly what went through my mind when I watched Star Wars The Phantom Menace. I was thinking “what a load of bollocks this is … so therefore it must be brilliant”! Someone call George Lucas and give him a medal for urinating all over a franchise that was special to so many.
Eoin’s comments come hot on the heels of the ECB’s test captain Joe Root also singing the praises of the ECB’s new 100 competition. Who didn’t see that one coming? His words seemed to be straight from an ECB script:
“It’s going to appeal to a completely new audience and I think that’s great … We’ve got to be very careful we don’t measure it against the other formats…it’s something to gather a new audience and gain interest, not a threat to other formats”.
It’s amazing what otherwise sensible people will say when they’ve got their employer’s hand up their jacksie. The ECB is undermining county cricket, first class cricket, and the long-term prospects of the England test team, and yet the test captain says it’s a good thing. Thank God Joe’s words will carry little weight. After all, he hasn’t been an authority on 100s for some time.
While I’m giving Eoin and Joe a roasting, I’d also like to publicly shame Stuart Broad, who welcomed the 100’s “unique selling point”. My advice to Stuart is this: leave the marketing jargon to the big boys mate. Just because something’s unique doesn’t make it a selling point. Chocolate with arsenic in it would be unique. But who the hell would eat it?
Now I never thought I’d say this – I had to pinch myself after writing it – but thank heavens for Alastair Cook. The former skipper’s views appear to be much more in line with his follow professionals in the county game. When addressing the media at Rusthall Primary School (which is just up the road from me) he damned the competition with faint praise. He said he ‘understood’ why the ECB are trying something new but overall he was cautious:
“There has to be a place for five-day or four-day cricket … the difference, for me, is the satisfaction of a long game compared to the thrill of a shorter game … there’s a bit of caution with me. I still think you have to protect the traditional cricket … at the moment, all the money is in the shorter formats of the game … there must be a way of combining the two and protecting Test cricket because of all that it stands for.”
Well bloody said, Alastair. Although he didn’t go to the same lengths as Chris Rushworth, who apparently described the new competition as “a load of bollocks” on Twitter, I think it says a lot that someone who is often portrayed as the board’s champion has reacted less than enthusiastically. What’s more, it’s good to see someone so prominent sticking up for first class cricket. After all, somebody’s got to.