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The England Cricket Board will implement the findings of it's own survey conducted regarding the schedule of county cricket this season. T20s will form Friday evening entertainment, a bulk of the first-class matches shall begin on Sundays now and the action would start in early April. Mike Selvey, in the Guardian, believes the changes will serve well in preparing the national side for the summer ahead.
This was the time of year when county players, on six-month contracts, returned from whatever winter employment (or, too often, unemployment) had brought them. A week's "training" perhaps, which would barely count as a warm-up these days, followed by nets, a university fixture maybe, or practice matches against another county, and then the first championship match of the summer right at the end of April. A personal check tells that in 13 seasons only five of my championship matches began in April, and none started earlier than the 28th of the month.
Now, the first matches begin (rain, of course, is forecast) and almost half of the championship will have been played by the time the team for the first Test against Sri Lanka is picked.
The vexed South Africa-India series has given rise to a debate, between two of the game's better-known commentators, on the rights and wrongs. In his column for Star Sports website on September 20, Harsha Bhogle analyses the current predicament of the India-South Africa series and suggests that cricket boards around the world must create a financial system independent of India to ensure their economic stability.
South Africa, for example, can ask themselves why they got into a situation where their cricket economy was so dependent on an external power that is always more likely to do what suits itself first. It is just likely that one of the conclusions will be that it was the easy, lazy option to take. If an Indian tour guaranteed a lot of money, it also meant that you didn't need to create other parallel revenue sources to insure against untoward happenings. And it would seem to me, even if I am looking at it from afar, that other cricket playing countries too therefore need to create such a parallel economy. Again there is a similar situation affecting India. If the US decided they would halve all software and business process outsourcing to India (however unlikely that would be but this is meant to be an illustration), we would be similarly hit. It wouldn't help if Indian companies complained about the big bad bully who was taking away jobs, they would just have to develop other capabilities and find other revenue sources.
In his response to Bhogle's column, Gideon Haigh, writing in his blog in the Australian, retorts that the argument doesn't hold much sway, because the issue concerns cricket boards and the game of cricket itself is dependent on " some rough-and-ready idea of equality".