What's the point of the Champions League Twenty20?
The Champions League Twenty20 is a goulash of hot, steamy franchise action, a smorgasbord of sexy inter-continental super-sport, a trifle of terrifically fruity T20 goodness, topped with the light frothy cream of cricket celebrity, and the juicy cherry of temporary global domination. It is, in short, a feast.
Yet some apparently rational people prefer to sit outside in the rain, their stomachs rumbling, pretending they can nourish themselves on the memories of the summer's banquet. Some have even said they don't see the point of the Champions League Twenty20. This is dangerous, subversive thinking, cricket chums, and you should not countenance it.
To turn your nose up at one bit of bat-and-ball action on the grounds that it has no purpose is to take the tin-opener of wilful scepticism to the rusty old can at the back of the cricket cupboard, the one with the label that reads, "May contain worms".
Many years ago, Friedrich Nietzsche, upon hearing that Yorkshire had drawn with Nottinghamshire, wrote in his diary, "Yorkshire drew with Nottinghamshire. What was the point of that?" This apparently innocent enquiry led him to question the purpose of the forward defensive, then the lbw law, then county cricket, the MCC, Western civilisation and finally, human morality. You see how these things can escalate.
What's the point of the Champions League T20? You might just as well ask what's the point of the Ashes? What's the point of spending hundreds of hours of your childhood playing out the titanic dice cricket struggle between an all-time combined Australian/Star Trek team and their deadly rivals, the Romantic Poets XI, led by crack allrounder Lord Byron?
What's the point of getting up in the middle of the night to watch the repeats of the highlights montage featuring amusing out-takes, gaffes and Morrison-isms from the Preliminary Winner Takes All Knock Out Play-Off rumble between Batasi Buffalo and the Mighty Wind XI on Super Euro Niche Sports? What's the point of Warwickshire?
It is cricket, and therefore it is not pointless, or rather, it is its own purpose. If you ever find yourself thinking that a game of cricket is pointless, then seek medical help. Doctors generally advise a course of John Arlott commentary, and a daily dose of CLR James extract.
And if you need further guidance, then simply follow the example of the chaps at the ICC. You don't see them getting involved in existential questions about the meaning of cricket. They just get on with things. Things like big, important ICC meetings.
Obviously, I look forward to big important ICC meetings, so the news that there was going to be another one this week was like finding out there's going to be an extra Christmas. Dave Richardson was in the role of Santa, and flanked by ICC elves bearing clipboards, he gave us a few hearty ho-ho-hos, before unpacking his bumper bag of administrative goodies.
Like a lot of Christmas gifts, they weren't all out of the top drawer, and there are a few things you'd probably want to take back to the Emporium of Bargain Basement Cricket Concepts. For example, the idea of just one new ball in rain-shortened games is the equivalent of a sensible pair of socks. A promise to find a ball that will last 50 overs is more of an IOU, while fiddling about with the number of reviews and setting up a technology working party are the kind of presents that might prompt you to ask whether he kept the receipt.
Still, it's the thought that counts, and cricket fans will have many happy hours poring over the details. Obsessing over these minutiae, just like watching the Champions League Twenty20 is absolutely not a pointless exercise. If you think it is, then perhaps you need to reconsider your position as a member of the global congregation of the Magnificent Cult of Cricket.
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here