Friends Life t20, Sunday June 24
Where do they get these ideas from?
The biggest complaint about the fixture list is that no-one knows when teams are playing, let alone against whom or in what competition. One can accept the day matches are being moved around to accommodate television and to spread matches about in a region – so Surrey shouldn’t play too close to a Middlesex home match (that almost certainly happens but I digress) – but why on earth are the start times so outrageous. Two of today’s games start at twenty to three! CB40s begin at 1.45pm! What pathetically stupid times. At least Kent have got it right, 3pm start, nice and simple. That should be the norm. We need some normality in the fixture list and start times are something that could be so easily resolved.
And here’s another thing
Saturday afternoons. A free day for many people. So surely the ideal time to tempt them down to the cricket. T20 could even replace the football with a host of matches around the country taking the 3pm slot. So why was there only two games scheduled yesterday and why was only one of them a 3pm start? Particularly with no international cricket in England it was an open goal surely for the fixture planners. Unfortunately cricket all too often has the knack of spurning golden opportunities.
It’s good to see the game out on the road. Yorkshire take today’s match to Scarborough where they always receive fine support and it’s surely better to have a smaller ground looking fuller than a larger ground looking empty. But it’s not just perceptions that change with switching games to outgrounds – Kent’s best crowd of the season came in their T20 against Surrey at Beckenham, a ground they are developing and looking to establish as a solid second home. A base in south London (or north Kent depending on which locals you talk to) is important for the county to tap into a different area of their support.
Hampshire have really improved their T20 in recent seasons – they have appeared at the last two finals day and a quarter-final in 2010. But they are in danger of being caught out by the shorter nature of this year’s tournament, two wins and a no-result is not what anyone needs with ambitions of getting out of the group. They desperately need a win today at Kent to get their campaign going; otherwise a 0-3-1 record almost certainly puts them out of the competition. Kent by contrast, have two wins from four games and are handily placed.
(Not) Trending: The Mongoose
Now there’s a gimmick that flashed us by. But not Worcestershire’s Gareth Andrew – the last remaining cricketer to still be endorsed by the company? He still uses a bat that is more handle than bat. It might have worked that one crazy evening at The Oval – when he slugged 104 from 60 balls in a CB40 in 2010 – but surely the lack of wood has since counted against him. He uses the bat in all forms of the game. It hasn’t worked so far this season, with Andrew scoring a total of 141 runs in all competitions. Get a proper willow back.
Player of the Day: Cameron White
The Australian batsman struck his second half-century of the FLt20 last night, becoming the highest run-scorer in the competition with 171 runs – that is also his average because he has only been dismissed once. But his efforts so far have been in vain because Northants are winless in five matches, their only point from an abandonment against Glamorgan. White’s form is perhaps no surprise, he has scored nearly 3,000 T20 runs with two centuries – both in same year, 2006, for Somerset, one against Gloucestershire at Taunton in what was then the domestic T20 record score of 250 for 3 (ironically beaten last year by Gloucestershire) and the other, his best of 141 at New Road. White must be hoping his team-mates can buck up their ideas to save him from continuing to forge a lone furrow.
Sussex v Essex, Hove, 14.40 Kent v Hampshire, Canterbury, 15.00 Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire, Scarborough, 14.40
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo