June 24, 2012

Friends Life t20, Sunday June 24

Alex Winter
Cameron White hits one over the top, Deccan Chargers v Pune Warriors, IPL, Cuttack, May 1, 2012
Cameron White, here in IPL colours, has been fighting a lone battle for Northamptonshire  © AFP
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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.

Outground T20

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’s woes

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.

Fixtures

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by jon filby on (June 25, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

I am not sure that the idea of T20 on Saturdays is actually such a smart one. Most of the cricket family are playing cricket themselves or umpiring, scoring, marking out the pitches or making the teas on Saturdays and so, in contrast to Alex Winter's view, it is probably a very good sign that the counties have done their research and cleverly worked out when the best time for matches is.

Ludicrous? Nonsense.

Posted by Anonymous on (June 25, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

Very good stuff.

Posted by Daniel Board on (June 24, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

Alex, sorry but Marcus Trescothick uses the slightly longer blade mongoose (the Cor13 or something similar I believe) and in T20 has certainly had good success with it.

Posted by Daniel Board on (June 24, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

Alex, sorry but Marcus Trescothick uses the slightly longer blade mongoose the (Cor13 or something similar I believe) and in T20 has certainly had good success with it.

Posted by Alex Winter on (June 24, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Hi Joel,

I mentioned the Mongoose as not-trending because it hasn't taken off as the manufacturers would like it and now Andrew is the only player (I think) to have used it and that innings at The Oval is the only big score he has made using it, certainly his only half-century in one-day cricket which is that format the bat was designed for.

And I watched Gareth Andrew play several times last year, the one match that comes to mind was at Blackpool when he used the long-handle Mongoose which I was told by BBC Worcester that he now uses in all cricket.

Posted by Anonymous on (June 24, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Need to keep testing my blog. Not working as I want it to yet. Thanks for the theme. Maybe this will get mine to look better.

Posted by Dave Brooks on (June 24, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

Thanks Alex

I would add that Saturday crowds tend to be very poor in all formats of the game. Of those Counties that have tried it, it has been way less successful than a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. This does not mean it cant work, just means it has not worked to date so when you only have 5 opportunities - one of which may end up being midweek for Sky which we all accept - can you "risk" another gamble game ?

And back to timimgs, we can never have total symettey given the floodlit capability of some grounds and local markets can all have their own vagaries

And no of of the near 5,000 crowd at Hove today will be going home unhappy after a cracking game

Catch you next time

Dave

Posted by Joel on (June 24, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

Daft (hopefully tongue-in-cheek?) comments about Gareth Andrew and his bat. It has worked far more times than one night at The Oval in games outside of London which is probably why they've been missed! Headingley and Edgbaston in T20 spring instantly to mind.

He uses a Mongoose in all formats but not the same bat with long handle and all middle. Worth bearing in mind also that he is primarily a bowler and had a very bad injury over the winter which meant he missed the first six games of the summer.

I'm all for a bit of fun but at least do your research properly first.

Posted by Alex Winter on (June 24, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

Hello Mr Brooks,

Thanks for your comments. This blog is indeed here to promote the county game but that also involves generating discussion and expressing opinion. I am a huge county cricket fan and will watch County Championship cricket every day of the year but we've failed to nail down T20.

I perfectly understand that times and dates change for Sky, so if they start matches at 7.10 and 2.40 why can't all the matches start at those time to get at least some symmetry?

But it is ludicrous to have a Saturday with no international cricket, no Sky matches, and only one T20 scheduled for the afternoon. Yesterday, a sports fan looking for their Saturday afternoon sports fix could not turn to cricket unless they lived in Worcester and that is a great shame for the sport as a whole.

This is perhaps an argument for a centrally-managed franchise system, so the tinkering each county does to suit them is taken out of the equation.

Alex

Posted by Stuart on (June 24, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

The T20 does seem to have been designed with minimising attendance in mind: random days/times; clashing with a major football tournament; clashing with 11 of the 12 World T20 sides playing. The weather doesn't help so spreading the games out might help avoid a particular wet patch. I had a look at fixture distribution and there doesn't appear to be any consistency with teams like Somerset having a nice spread while Warwickshire are far more congested. Surrey's fixtures were bad enough as it was, but due to the unfortunate events of this week they now have 4 home games in 5 days.

On the other hand, I think I understand the lack of Saturdays, they seem to be trying to have everyone play Fridays and Sundays so that's fair enough.

What would make sense to me would be to have the T20 over 10 Saturdays starting at the end of the Football season, the CB40 on Sundays throughout the season and the Championship Mon-Thur, allowing some T20s to be moved to Friday for TV.

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