Accomplished wind-up merchant and part-time chairman Colin Graves has made an auspicious start as Troll Laureate at the ECB. First he managed to rouse the West Indian cricket team from their mediocrity through the canny device of calling them mediocre, a sort of reverse-psychology trolling straight from Professor Vaughan's latest book: Trolling and the Subconscious Mind (already a text on the University of Sheffield's Advanced Banter course).

Then he set his sights higher, ensnaring popular Twitter celebrity and friend of Piers Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, in a troll trap that was both masterful in its construction and awe-inspiring in its execution:

@realcoling: Score some runs @KP and you can definitely play for England #trust

@realcoling: Just kidding @KP #trust

@realcoling: Lol @KP #nooffence #topbantz

Impressive stuff. But we shouldn't be surprised. Colin is from Yorkshire and Yorkshire is the home of the troll. In fact, Yorkshire trolling has a distinctive odour, like Yorkshire tea, Yorkshire cheese and Barnsley. There are five steps to trolling Yorkshire-style:

1. Let your brain go completely blank.
2. In a loud, clear voice, broadcast the first thought to pop into your head.
3. If people react badly, explain that where you come from (Yorkshire) you call a spade a spade, and that you're not afraid to speak your mind (such as it is).
4. If people are still upset, strongly imply that it's their fault for being so sensitive.
5. Repeat until you have your own newspaper column/TV show.

But though the KP hoohah was very entertaining, it may have been a little too entertaining; so entertaining, in fact, that it has rather overshadowed the opening of the NatWest Blast, the ECB's latest attempt to defy the laws of cricket gravity by relaunching an 18-team T20 league into the entertainment sphere.

Ask any passing alien what's wrong with the NatWest Blast and they'll spot it straight away. It has the same problems that afflicted the NatWest Non-Event, the Friends Provident Farrago of Failure and the ill-fated Tesco Twenty20 Tumbleweed Time, specifically:

1. It's in England.
2. Rain (see 1, above).
3. There are eighteen teams in it.

There's not much the ECB can do about the first two, but they could have a bash at the third problem. At least, they could if it weren't for the Fundamental Law of English cricket: that whatever happens there must always, always be 18 teams involved in it. So the ECB has to come up with 18 subsidies, 18 chances to host an international match, 18 invitations to the post-Ashes Recrimination Ball, and 18 places in an 18-team drizzle-themed bore-fest squeezed into the gap between the IPL and the Ashes in the hope that a famous player or two might turn up.

The Principle of Eighteen (formerly the Principle of Seventeen) is inviolate. Even if there was a nuclear war, the concerns of surviving English folk would be (in this order): food, water, weapons to fight off the mutant zombie hordes, and an assurance from the invading forces that the county structure will not be tampered with just because the entire country is a smouldering, radioactive ruin.

So once again we are presented with the spectacle of English cricket journalists feigning interest for a fortnight in a tournament that straddles our damp summer like a parasitic weed, clinging on in the cracks in the calendar; a sorry, soggy affair, in which all interest has departed long before Finals Day, itself an administrative footnote lost in the overgrown tangle of a fixture list designed to accommodate 18 hungry mouths. Or as the man himself might put it:

@realcoling: Loving the NatWest Blast. Quality Twenty20 cricket

@realcoling: Not really. It's rubbish! Lol. #justsayin #franchises

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. @hughandrews73