June 27, 2012

Friends Life t20, Wednesday June 27

Evolution before revolution?
19

Evolution before revolution?

Tony Greig’s Cowdrey Lecture contained calls – following on from Muttiah Muralitharan’s and David Lloyd’s recent comments – for the introduction of franchises in England’s Twenty20 league. But it’s a suggestion not grounded in reality.

England lacks India’s population or interest in cricket. And, unlike in India, cricket fans tend to have deep attachments to domestic sides: it is optimistic to expect that, say, Somerset and Gloucestershire fans would suddenly be happy supporting the same team. Any franchise system would have an instant problem of reach – many supporters would have to travel long distances to what would now be artificial sides. New fans would replace rather than supplement existing ones.

Rather than imagine that franchising would be a one-step panacea to the problems of English domestic T20, it would be better if the ECB sought to improve the competition as it is: evolution rather than revolution.

Most basically, it should ensure that its international players are available for at least some of the matches – something that underpinned the IPL’s success. Market with more innovation – the gap in football could be exploited, say, by giving any football season ticket holders a half-price ticket to their first game; and place greater emphasis on exploiting days when there aren’t other high profile sporting events. Outgrounds, rather than being marginalised, need to be cultivated: they are a unique way of taking cricket to areas deprived of professional sport, as exemplified by the recent full house at Beckenham.

Introduce an annual Derby Day, featuring two, or even three, derby matches broadcast back-to-back on Sky. With the availability of English players, it would actually be a rare occasion when county cricket would be capable of generating backpage headlines.

If English T20 is being strangled, it is not because it lacks a franchise system. It is time the ECB had faith in what, at its best, remains a captivating product. Allowing their own stars to play would be a good start.

Somerset’s South African power

The dream of an opening partnership between Marcus Trescothick and Chris Gayle may not have materialised. Yet even with Trescothick injured and Gayle having returned to the West Indies, Somerset may still have the best opening pair in the competition.

Richard Levi and Craig Kieswetter share rather a lot in common. Both were born in Johannesburg within two months of each other; both keep wicket – albeit seldom in a manner that pleases purists; and neither is adept at rotating the strike. But, for the purposes of Somerset’s T20 charge, the most important similarity is that both share a penchant for the legside boundary.

Against Northants, Levi and Kieswetter catapulted Somerset towards the most facile of victories, putting on 61 in 5.4 overs. While Kieswetter made a half-century, it was Levi’s 18-ball 35 – containing 32 in boundaries – that was more destructive. In two games for Somerset he has now scored 104 runs at a strike-rate of exactly 200, showing the power that earned him the fastest international T20 hundred.

Both men were only playing their second games of the season, yet such is Somerset’s batting strength that they haven't lost a game without them, thanks to Jos Buttler’s flair and James Hildreth’s extraordinary century against Glamorgan. When Albie Morkel and Trescothick return – both may be back for the knockout stages of the tournament - Somerset’s batting will be even mightier still. The only problem? An abundance of South Africans may not be conducive to Somerset avoiding yet another T20 final choke.

Trending: Young Aussie quicks

Australia’s tour has seen much attention devoted to their young quick bowlers. But there is another very fine one not on national duty: Mitchell Starc. Starc took longer than hoped to arrive at Yorkshire – he arrived at Heathrow but had to immediately return to Australia to collect the appropriate paper work. Yet for a Yorkshire side finally seeking to make T20 finals day at the 10th attempt he has emphatically been worth the wait.

Blending pace and accuracy, Starc is a precocious talent at aged 22. Best of all for a left-arm quick, he is skilled at producing the delivery that swings back into the right-handers – something that accounted for Sachin Tendulkar in the Australian summer. It is not hard to see why he leads the T20 wicket-takers list – a position he will expect to shore up at Grace Road tonight. And don't be surprised if he's Ashes-bound next summer.

Player of the day: Joe Denly

Perhaps Joe Denly uses the County Cricket Live blog as motivation. After it lamented his mysterious T20 struggles last week, Denly has provided welcome reaffirmation of his aesthetic class, following 36 against Sussex with a match-shaping unbeaten 90 on return to his former county Kent yesterday.

His innings provided a reminder that the 120 balls of a T20 innings are deceptively many. Thus, while Paul Stirling began in typically cavalier style, fusing muscularity and clean timing to loft cuts and straight drives from the first ball, Denly allowed himself longer before commencing his assault. When he did so, he refrained from ungainly hoicks and never lacked for time as he showcased his range of shots. It was the sort of innings that showed why, three years ago, the England management showed faith in him as a limited overs opener. With Denly reinvigorated by his Middlesex move – averaging over 60 in first-class cricket this season – they may yet do so again.

Fixtures

Durham v Derbyshire, Chester-le-Street, 17:30 Gloucestershire v Warwickshire, Bristol, 17:30 Middlesex v Hampshire, Old Deer Park, 17:30 Leicestershire v Yorkshire, Grace Road, 17:40

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Martin on June 27, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    First of all I should point out I'm the first Martin to post, not the second, who wasn't me! @Darren I think the two division system has had a twin effect: firstly, the cricket in the top division is strong and competitive and produces good players. The top 2 or 3 teams in the second division with recent experience of the top flight are similarly strong. Secondly, the truly weak counties are slowly being identified and squeezed and (I suspect) by design will slowly be allowed to die until we are left with 12 or so truly first class counties.

  • Darren Cook on June 27, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    @Martin, England team is successful despite CC and not because of it,CC is an ageing Dinosaur enjoyed by a minority purely interested in their own enjoyment, too many teams and too much cricket reduces the standard but no way the amount will be reduced because the fans would revolt, if the game was started all over again purely for the interests of Cricket then the person who suggested the current format would be laughed out of town...

  • Anonymous on June 27, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    Have to say, I think Tim has summed up the situation regarding the franchise system perfectly. English domestic cricket has always been the most keenly followed in the world (and still is) and that is precisely because of strong county loyalties that cannot be transferred.

  • Phil off of the Pears (not Newport mind) on June 27, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Right so, after all the bother and huff and puff of people muttering about changing the county game and introducing franchises; I have completed volte-face with regard to the issue.

    I was fully in favour of scrapping the counties to bring in franchises for the Twenty20. But having thought about it, I know realise that the Blazers at the ECB have it in their power to save the whole competition and make it less of a dull, sullen, broken & cracked collection of bored cricketers than it is at the moment.

    Wigmore has some good ideas, not least about the footie connection. But trying to figure out why there was sod all cricket last night (2 matches) on a non football night and now there are 4 tonight when there is football is doing my head no good at all. Set the number of home and away matches and stick to it.

    I love T20, CB40 and the Championship dearly but get sooooooo fed up of trying to follow the fixtures. Each competition should run alongside each other, not jostle for position?!

  • Martin on June 27, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    18 teams is far too many to end up with a quality T20 comp (with enough quality players) which the public will support. The talent is spread too thinly. Who wants to go and watch a bunch of nobodies? Plain and simple. If the Big Bash in Australia can only support 8 teams, the IPL in India 9 or 10 and the South African league 6 or 7, then how on earth can England think their comp can be a success with 18 teams??? They are dreaming.

  • Billy The Fish on June 27, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Get down to Hove on Friday or over to Chelmsford tomorrow and then tell me again the T20 doesnt work.

    A franchise based competition would almost certainly rule out any games at either Hove or Chelmsford - two of the grounds that have made a big success of T20 in England despite the lack of availability of the England players and so called world stars.

    I see Morgan isn't playing for Middlesex tonight. His team have been forced to play at little old Richmond on Thames by the big game at Lord's this week. He can look pretty close to home for some simple answers to his questions about why T20 is less commercially successful in England.

  • Billy The Fish on June 27, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Get down to Hove on Friday or over to Chelmsford tomorrow and then tell me again the T20 doesnt work.

    A franchise based competition would almost certainly rule out any games at either Hove or Chelmsford - two of the grounds that have made a big success of T20 in England despite the lack of availability of the England players and so called world stars.

    I see Morgan isn't playing for Middlesex tonight. His team have been forced to play at little old Richmond on Thames by the big game at Lord's this week. He can look pretty close to home for some simple answers to his questions about why T20 is less commercially successful in England.

  • Rohin Maini on June 27, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Having the England players available would help. What's KP up to these days?!

  • Paul, Somerset on June 27, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    One other point re Eoin Morgan's claim that England is falling behind India at T20 owing to the lack of IPL-style franchises. India's decline to the foot of the international T20 rankings, and England's rise to the top, has coincided exactly with the introduction of the IPL.

    I couldn't understand why Morgan had so readily forgotten the beating England handed out to India in the T20 at Eden Gardens last October. India was a shambles in that game, staggering to 120-9. Then I looked the game up and realized Morgan hadn't actually played in the match.

    If he had, he might have thought twice before making such illogical claims.

  • Tim Wigmore on June 27, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Some interesting feedback.

    Re the Australia point - its an interesting comparison, but it created, rather than got rid of, sides. It basically just used the existing 6 states, then added teams in Melbourne and Sydney. This means that there is a much more obvious transfer of loyalties than would be the case with getting rid of say 10 teams in England. So the Big Bash actually made more teams and therefore it more accessible to get to games - it seems odd to suggest we do the opposite. The BBL was a success but (a) the weather provided a big advantage over England (b) it was massively boosted by the return of Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden and co. This is a legacy of Aus's success since the mid-90s - something England doesn't have; short of dragging Flintoff out of retirement for a few games we have no comparable options. And, in any case, I'm not sure a reliance on 40-somethings is exactly a long-term solution for the BBL. I'll address more fully in my next blog.

  • Martin on June 27, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    First of all I should point out I'm the first Martin to post, not the second, who wasn't me! @Darren I think the two division system has had a twin effect: firstly, the cricket in the top division is strong and competitive and produces good players. The top 2 or 3 teams in the second division with recent experience of the top flight are similarly strong. Secondly, the truly weak counties are slowly being identified and squeezed and (I suspect) by design will slowly be allowed to die until we are left with 12 or so truly first class counties.

  • Darren Cook on June 27, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    @Martin, England team is successful despite CC and not because of it,CC is an ageing Dinosaur enjoyed by a minority purely interested in their own enjoyment, too many teams and too much cricket reduces the standard but no way the amount will be reduced because the fans would revolt, if the game was started all over again purely for the interests of Cricket then the person who suggested the current format would be laughed out of town...

  • Anonymous on June 27, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    Have to say, I think Tim has summed up the situation regarding the franchise system perfectly. English domestic cricket has always been the most keenly followed in the world (and still is) and that is precisely because of strong county loyalties that cannot be transferred.

  • Phil off of the Pears (not Newport mind) on June 27, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Right so, after all the bother and huff and puff of people muttering about changing the county game and introducing franchises; I have completed volte-face with regard to the issue.

    I was fully in favour of scrapping the counties to bring in franchises for the Twenty20. But having thought about it, I know realise that the Blazers at the ECB have it in their power to save the whole competition and make it less of a dull, sullen, broken & cracked collection of bored cricketers than it is at the moment.

    Wigmore has some good ideas, not least about the footie connection. But trying to figure out why there was sod all cricket last night (2 matches) on a non football night and now there are 4 tonight when there is football is doing my head no good at all. Set the number of home and away matches and stick to it.

    I love T20, CB40 and the Championship dearly but get sooooooo fed up of trying to follow the fixtures. Each competition should run alongside each other, not jostle for position?!

  • Martin on June 27, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    18 teams is far too many to end up with a quality T20 comp (with enough quality players) which the public will support. The talent is spread too thinly. Who wants to go and watch a bunch of nobodies? Plain and simple. If the Big Bash in Australia can only support 8 teams, the IPL in India 9 or 10 and the South African league 6 or 7, then how on earth can England think their comp can be a success with 18 teams??? They are dreaming.

  • Billy The Fish on June 27, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Get down to Hove on Friday or over to Chelmsford tomorrow and then tell me again the T20 doesnt work.

    A franchise based competition would almost certainly rule out any games at either Hove or Chelmsford - two of the grounds that have made a big success of T20 in England despite the lack of availability of the England players and so called world stars.

    I see Morgan isn't playing for Middlesex tonight. His team have been forced to play at little old Richmond on Thames by the big game at Lord's this week. He can look pretty close to home for some simple answers to his questions about why T20 is less commercially successful in England.

  • Billy The Fish on June 27, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Get down to Hove on Friday or over to Chelmsford tomorrow and then tell me again the T20 doesnt work.

    A franchise based competition would almost certainly rule out any games at either Hove or Chelmsford - two of the grounds that have made a big success of T20 in England despite the lack of availability of the England players and so called world stars.

    I see Morgan isn't playing for Middlesex tonight. His team have been forced to play at little old Richmond on Thames by the big game at Lord's this week. He can look pretty close to home for some simple answers to his questions about why T20 is less commercially successful in England.

  • Rohin Maini on June 27, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Having the England players available would help. What's KP up to these days?!

  • Paul, Somerset on June 27, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    One other point re Eoin Morgan's claim that England is falling behind India at T20 owing to the lack of IPL-style franchises. India's decline to the foot of the international T20 rankings, and England's rise to the top, has coincided exactly with the introduction of the IPL.

    I couldn't understand why Morgan had so readily forgotten the beating England handed out to India in the T20 at Eden Gardens last October. India was a shambles in that game, staggering to 120-9. Then I looked the game up and realized Morgan hadn't actually played in the match.

    If he had, he might have thought twice before making such illogical claims.

  • Tim Wigmore on June 27, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Some interesting feedback.

    Re the Australia point - its an interesting comparison, but it created, rather than got rid of, sides. It basically just used the existing 6 states, then added teams in Melbourne and Sydney. This means that there is a much more obvious transfer of loyalties than would be the case with getting rid of say 10 teams in England. So the Big Bash actually made more teams and therefore it more accessible to get to games - it seems odd to suggest we do the opposite. The BBL was a success but (a) the weather provided a big advantage over England (b) it was massively boosted by the return of Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden and co. This is a legacy of Aus's success since the mid-90s - something England doesn't have; short of dragging Flintoff out of retirement for a few games we have no comparable options. And, in any case, I'm not sure a reliance on 40-somethings is exactly a long-term solution for the BBL. I'll address more fully in my next blog.

  • Ben Timmo on June 27, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    @Samuel

    The argument of basing it around cities is all very well, but as Tim states in his original blog, the distances involved can already be difficult enough. A fan in Penzance already has to drive 146 miles to get to Taunton: a city-based system would presumably force them to drive either 191 miles to Bristol, or more likely 221 miles to Cardiff as it is the most south-Westerly full international ground. I suspect that any city-based, or indeed region-based system would be based at the international grounds to boost their finances. Even if the franchise teams are seperate from the county sides, the likelihood is that due to the finance boost these grounds receive, we would end up with a two-tier domestic structure where those without an international ground would struggle to compete with those gaining this additional Twenty20 income.

    All that besides, as has been said before, I think the game would lose more of the current fans than it would gain new ones.

  • Paul, Somerset on June 27, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Each County has a century of history and loyalty on which to build. Surely only a marketing man in search of a contract would suggest discarding a golden opportunity like that in favour of an artificial franchise.

    Every time I walk to the County Ground at Taunton there's a thrill, a buzz, at knowing you're going to watch the club of Sammy Woods, Harold Gimblett, Marcus Trescothick. It's fun supplementing Buttler asnd Trego with Richard Levi, but his presence would be meaningless without the background of the County and players the spectators support.

    Put it this way: I'd travel hundreds of miles to watch Kieron Pollard bat for Somerset. I wouldn't cross the road to watch him bat for the West Country Super Wurzels (never mind travel to Bristol).

    I'm always amused by the way marketing twerps love to throw around "narrative" as a buzzword, while simultaneously dismantling anything which already offers an authentic narrative.

  • Martin on June 27, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    @ Darren Cook

    The Kolpak players played a huge part in raising the standards in the county game and therefore propelling the England team into the lofty position which they currently occupy. They increased professionalism and saw off some of the plateau-ing careers which so stifled the county game in the 1990s. I'm neither a county nor an international cricket fan. I am a cricket fan full stop. You'd do well to remember that the much maligned county game provides the players who you are interested in watching.

  • Samuel on June 27, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    I disagree - I think a franchise system based around the cities with Test match grounds is a good idea. Why do we say it won't work, when it has quite clearly worked in Australia for example? The states of Oz are just as proud and fiercely passionate as English counties and somehow they made it work - it's a case of being stubborn and clinging to the past rather than actually looking at the positives. You don't have to combine counties or the like - new teams would fill grounds if the best players in the world were playing alongside England stars. You're under-estimating the UK public's love of quality sport - half the reason T20 crowds are in decline is because the actual standard of cricket is not as high as we'd like to think it is, and that needs changing if England are to stay at the top of the world, hich for me is far more important than some stubborn, one-eyed fan's loyalty to Derbyshire or the like. It's central contracts all over again...

  • sdkhaju on June 27, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    iamyorkshirefan

  • Darren Cook on June 27, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    As long as it's not based around Cities then I would be fine, England fan only and don't care about the Counties and I only follow English prospects etc and hope the Kolpaks and foreign mercenaries fail.

    Loved watching Finn, Northeast, Billings and Denly last night on Sky, won't be watching County Cricket until the standard increases and the Kolpaks leave.

  • Paul Davis on June 27, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    I am a Northants fan, if it is not Northants playing I will not pay to watch it.

    T20 needs 3 things - England players and leaving the thing alone, every year it changes so we can never see the benefits of change. Sorting fixtures so all teams play home and away on rotation would be good too.

    We have 3 home games in a week in T20 - how are the club supposed to fill the ground 3 times in a week? one wet week (in England? will never happen...) and the club loses huge amounts of funding.

    Cricket needs to use T20 to show people what they are missing, not sell it soul to attract a few £££

  • Tim Wigmore on June 27, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Thanks Paul - that was exactly the point I was trying to get across. If a franchise system is introduced, it will be ignoring what the fans want, which is always a very dangerous thing to do.

  • Paul Clarke on June 27, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Right. The idea of supporting the "Midlands Marauders" or the "Western Warriors" rather than Worcestershire holds no appeal to me what-so-ever. I consider myself a Worceshire person first, then British second (maybe English). Denominations inside that mean nothing to most people. I watch the "local" news (Midlands Today in my case) and have little or no interest in what happens in Coventry, Birmingham, Gloucestershire or wherever. It's a terrible idea. Greig I can believe supports it, but Bumble? Imagine giving up supporting Lancashire for a "Pennines and Peak District Devils" franchise with Derby, Yorks, Lancs or whoever. It means nothing to anyone. And while I might travel 5 miles to New Road, I'm never going to travel to Edgebaston or Gloucester's ground on a whim. Terrible terrible idea

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Paul Clarke on June 27, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Right. The idea of supporting the "Midlands Marauders" or the "Western Warriors" rather than Worcestershire holds no appeal to me what-so-ever. I consider myself a Worceshire person first, then British second (maybe English). Denominations inside that mean nothing to most people. I watch the "local" news (Midlands Today in my case) and have little or no interest in what happens in Coventry, Birmingham, Gloucestershire or wherever. It's a terrible idea. Greig I can believe supports it, but Bumble? Imagine giving up supporting Lancashire for a "Pennines and Peak District Devils" franchise with Derby, Yorks, Lancs or whoever. It means nothing to anyone. And while I might travel 5 miles to New Road, I'm never going to travel to Edgebaston or Gloucester's ground on a whim. Terrible terrible idea

  • Tim Wigmore on June 27, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Thanks Paul - that was exactly the point I was trying to get across. If a franchise system is introduced, it will be ignoring what the fans want, which is always a very dangerous thing to do.

  • Paul Davis on June 27, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    I am a Northants fan, if it is not Northants playing I will not pay to watch it.

    T20 needs 3 things - England players and leaving the thing alone, every year it changes so we can never see the benefits of change. Sorting fixtures so all teams play home and away on rotation would be good too.

    We have 3 home games in a week in T20 - how are the club supposed to fill the ground 3 times in a week? one wet week (in England? will never happen...) and the club loses huge amounts of funding.

    Cricket needs to use T20 to show people what they are missing, not sell it soul to attract a few £££

  • Darren Cook on June 27, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    As long as it's not based around Cities then I would be fine, England fan only and don't care about the Counties and I only follow English prospects etc and hope the Kolpaks and foreign mercenaries fail.

    Loved watching Finn, Northeast, Billings and Denly last night on Sky, won't be watching County Cricket until the standard increases and the Kolpaks leave.

  • sdkhaju on June 27, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    iamyorkshirefan

  • Samuel on June 27, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    I disagree - I think a franchise system based around the cities with Test match grounds is a good idea. Why do we say it won't work, when it has quite clearly worked in Australia for example? The states of Oz are just as proud and fiercely passionate as English counties and somehow they made it work - it's a case of being stubborn and clinging to the past rather than actually looking at the positives. You don't have to combine counties or the like - new teams would fill grounds if the best players in the world were playing alongside England stars. You're under-estimating the UK public's love of quality sport - half the reason T20 crowds are in decline is because the actual standard of cricket is not as high as we'd like to think it is, and that needs changing if England are to stay at the top of the world, hich for me is far more important than some stubborn, one-eyed fan's loyalty to Derbyshire or the like. It's central contracts all over again...

  • Martin on June 27, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    @ Darren Cook

    The Kolpak players played a huge part in raising the standards in the county game and therefore propelling the England team into the lofty position which they currently occupy. They increased professionalism and saw off some of the plateau-ing careers which so stifled the county game in the 1990s. I'm neither a county nor an international cricket fan. I am a cricket fan full stop. You'd do well to remember that the much maligned county game provides the players who you are interested in watching.

  • Paul, Somerset on June 27, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Each County has a century of history and loyalty on which to build. Surely only a marketing man in search of a contract would suggest discarding a golden opportunity like that in favour of an artificial franchise.

    Every time I walk to the County Ground at Taunton there's a thrill, a buzz, at knowing you're going to watch the club of Sammy Woods, Harold Gimblett, Marcus Trescothick. It's fun supplementing Buttler asnd Trego with Richard Levi, but his presence would be meaningless without the background of the County and players the spectators support.

    Put it this way: I'd travel hundreds of miles to watch Kieron Pollard bat for Somerset. I wouldn't cross the road to watch him bat for the West Country Super Wurzels (never mind travel to Bristol).

    I'm always amused by the way marketing twerps love to throw around "narrative" as a buzzword, while simultaneously dismantling anything which already offers an authentic narrative.

  • Ben Timmo on June 27, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    @Samuel

    The argument of basing it around cities is all very well, but as Tim states in his original blog, the distances involved can already be difficult enough. A fan in Penzance already has to drive 146 miles to get to Taunton: a city-based system would presumably force them to drive either 191 miles to Bristol, or more likely 221 miles to Cardiff as it is the most south-Westerly full international ground. I suspect that any city-based, or indeed region-based system would be based at the international grounds to boost their finances. Even if the franchise teams are seperate from the county sides, the likelihood is that due to the finance boost these grounds receive, we would end up with a two-tier domestic structure where those without an international ground would struggle to compete with those gaining this additional Twenty20 income.

    All that besides, as has been said before, I think the game would lose more of the current fans than it would gain new ones.

  • Tim Wigmore on June 27, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Some interesting feedback.

    Re the Australia point - its an interesting comparison, but it created, rather than got rid of, sides. It basically just used the existing 6 states, then added teams in Melbourne and Sydney. This means that there is a much more obvious transfer of loyalties than would be the case with getting rid of say 10 teams in England. So the Big Bash actually made more teams and therefore it more accessible to get to games - it seems odd to suggest we do the opposite. The BBL was a success but (a) the weather provided a big advantage over England (b) it was massively boosted by the return of Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden and co. This is a legacy of Aus's success since the mid-90s - something England doesn't have; short of dragging Flintoff out of retirement for a few games we have no comparable options. And, in any case, I'm not sure a reliance on 40-somethings is exactly a long-term solution for the BBL. I'll address more fully in my next blog.