June 21, 2012

Friends Life t20, Thursday June 21

What were they thinking

What were they thinking? #2

While Warwickshire could be blamed for taking on a televised England football match on Tuesday, the culprits for a second game at Edgbaston within three days are probably the ECB fixture bureau. No wonder no-one wanted to go on Tuesday night when this evening there is no England football and the opposition are far more attractive, and I’m sure even fans of Northants, the initial opponents, would agree.

This is another demonstration of how our fixture calendar is so muddled. This year there are five home matches per county spread across three weeks. Surely it is possible to ensure there are not two matches within three days on the same ground? And there is no Sky Sports to blame because neither Warwickshire’s match on Tuesday nor tonight's are televised.

The value of a good secretary

How many times do we hear about players being delayed in arriving to play for counties because of delays in obtaining a visa? How hard can it be to get organised and get the paperwork done in time?

Consistent administrative failings mean counties are denied valuable resources and spectators are denied the chance to watch international stars. A franchise system cannot work in this country partly because our clubs are incapable of arranging for forms to be completed.

It is not only the counties who are at fault. Agents and, yes, even the players themselves have an obligation to ensure their commitment is fulfilled. They have signed a contract and it needs to be treated seriously.

The latest to succumb to the dreaded visa error is Shahid Afridi who was supposed to fly direct from Pakistan’s tour of Sri Lanka to Hampshire, having already missed the first two games – 20% of the T20 campaign – but who now has to go via Pakistan to obtain a visa. What a farce. The same scenario is denying Worcestershire their second overseas player – Sohail Tanvir – until he signs the correct forms.

And don’t just try blaming the UK Border Agency.

Drama in the scorebox

Such confusion is a rarity, but no-one really knew what the score was as Essex “beat” Kent by three runs at Chelmsford on Wednesday night.

A six-run penalty for a slow-over rate by Essex reduced Kent’s target mid-chase but still left them short as Mark Davies, the last man, was bowled. Matt Coles, however, was confused as he left his ground with the scoreboard reading six to his name. He insisted he had made eight and independent statisticians backed his view, in contrast to the official scorers.

Confusion reigned. Video evidence has been called for but for now Essex have the victory. Watch this space.

**STOP PRESS** Kent have decided not to appeal against last night's result, accepting that the umpires and scorers did their jobs to the best of their ability and they did not lose the game solely on an administrative error.

Trending: Herschelle Gibbs

Herschelle Gibbs is someone who has managed to fill in his forms on time and is too old to be drafted in to the rather random T20 tri-series between Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and South Africa which has taken Richard Levi and Albie Morkel away from Somerset.

Gibbs still has class and an ability to draw a crowd – Mumbai employed him for three matches in the IPL – and his run-a-ball 38 last night helped Durham overcome Derbyshire.

A good run in the T20s may be what Durham need to boost their floundering season and with Gibbs and fellow South African, the under-the-radar Johann Myburgh, on board, they may get a much-needed lift. This was their second T20 win and they have recent pedigree in the shrotest format with a semi-final and two quarter-finals in the last four years.

Player of the day: Steven Croft

The local lad steered Lancashire home with 41 from 29 balls against Leicestershire. It was Lancashire’s highest successful chase in T20s – 180 – after Leicestershire had though their target would have been sufficient for their first win of the season. It was Leicestershire who were pulling off a miraculous chase in the corresponding fixture last season, another sign that the defending champions, still wiuthout a win this season, are on the wane.


Middlesex v Essex, Lord’s, 18.15 Warwickshire v Somerset, Edgbaston, 19.00

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo