Too much cricket; not enough money

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the last match of the English summer is a t20 against South Africa on Wednesday, September the 12th in Birmingham, England.

Eight days later and six thousand miles away, South Africa is scheduled to play its first match of the ICC World t20 against Zimbabwe in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

One day later, England will play Afghanistan in the same tournament in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (More on the interesting implications of this particular match in tomorrow’s post.)

Now that right there is some serious fixture congestion. Especially considering County Cricket will still be having matches AND today Sri Lanka Cricket announced that the Sri Lankan Premiere League will be happening in 2012, tentatively scheduled for August 10-31. Right in the heart of South Africa’s tour of England, and right up against the ICC tournament.

Of course, this jumble of fixtures will affect very few players. There are no other major tours going on during the SLPL, and cricketers will more than likely appreciate having the tournament to use as a warm up for the World t20s. And I am sure the English and South African cricket boards will, fairly or unfairly, keep their players in England for the tour and not allow them to whore themselves out to the SLPL.

But, again, here we are: too much cricket.

I understand Sri Lanka Cricket’s position. Most other test playing nations (even Bangladesh!) have international t20 tournaments in existence to line the wallets of their cricket boards via TV deals, sponsorships, and ticket sales – why not Sri Lanka, too?

I have no answer to that question. But it is just starting to get a bit out of hand, and sooner or later, the ICC is going to need to step in and draw a line in the sand. Players flying all over the world to play in a dozen different tournaments is detrimental to the game in so many ways.

The worst part, for me, is that while we fans do get plenty of matches to watch, the overall quality of the cricket is going downhill…and quickly. And that is genuinely scary for the future of the sport we all love.

I have said three hundred times before: cut back on the cricket, and we all win. There are too many matches, too many tournaments, too many series, too many formats. No other sport, not even football, stretches its players quite as thin as cricket does, and it needs to be stopped.


Another article today on the future of the sport we all love: India is in dire straits, financially.

The gist of the article is that India will be the world’s number one economy before the century is out, but economic growth is not keeping up with population growth. Furthermore, the entire region depends on India as a catalyst to inspire its growth, and so a serious downturn would greatly affect all of SE Asia, and in a ripple effect, the world.

Now, the article is one economist’s opinion, and what serious financial downturns have on sport is quite debatable, but if India starts to lose interest in cricket, then the sport really is in trouble.

I don’t think that will happen anytime soon, but what could happen is that India stops caring about the less financially attractive version of the game: test cricket.

That, I think, is a very real possibility, and a very real fear.

And, therefore, this fall, every neutral should be squarely in India’s corner when England visit for a highly anticipated four match series.

My two cents.


In blog news, I have been asked by Graywolf Press to review a book about cricket that they are launching later this spring. Keep an eye on the site for my review!

The English Summer Awaits

The English “Summer” is upon us.

This morning, at the County Ground in Hove, the West Indians played Sussex in the first warm-up match of the tour. It’s May the 6th, the football season is still very much happening, and the weather is cold, damp, and overcast.

Like I said: “Summer”.

Another instance of there being too much cricket. The “summer” should start in June, when the weather is hot and the skies are high. When the football cup finals  are a distance memory, not still fighting for column space on the back pages. But, hey, it’s here now, so why not enjoy it?

I enjoy the English summer for the same reason I enjoy tours in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the West Indies: the matches make sense to me time-zone-wise.

The tests start at 5am local time, the ODIs at 5:45am (the day-nighters at 9am), and the T20s start at 9am-ish, as well.

Plus, the grounds in England are normally at capacity for the tests, which will be a welcome change from the empty terraces in the UAE, the West Indies…etc. Big crowds at lovely venues just make for a better viewing experience; even on my computer.

And what are we going to see this summer?

First up, the rejuvenated West Indies. While this won’t be the most thrilling series, as our friends from the Caribbean are of course no where near the quality of the West Indian teams of the past that gave England fits, they are far better then they were during their last visit.

Also, the big news: Chris Gayle is back for the ODIs and the t20. He should be enough to make the one-dayers competitive and fun for the neutrals.

But before the one-dayers, we will be treated to three tests: May 17-21 at Lord’s, May 25-29 at Trent Bridge, and June 7-11 at Edgbaston. Those are followed by three ODIs: June 16 at the Rose Bowl, June 19 at the Oval, and June 22 in Headingly.  And the tour wraps up with single t20 at Trent Bridge.

And then Australia comes to town for one ODI against Ireland (that should be fun) and five ODIs against England. No tests, unfortunately, but I am actually not all that bummed about that. The ODIs should be competitive and entertaining, and we have the Ashes to look forward to in 2013.

I am surprised that the Australian and English cricket boards didn’t schedule at least one t20, with the t20 World Cup coming up this fall. But, hey, cricket boards making questionable scheduling decisions is par for the course.

The ODI against Ireland is on June 23 in Belfast, the first ODI against England on June 29 at Lord’s, the second on July 1 at the Oval, the third on July 4 at Edgbaston, the fourth on July 7 at the Riverside Ground (Durham’s home ground), and the fifth on July 10 at Old Trafford.

And then: the series that is making cricket fans the world over salivate in anticipation, as South Africa comes to down for three tests (boooooo), five ODIs, and three t20s.  The number one test nation versus the number two test nation. And while it is really unfortunate that they are only playing three tests and that the second test is going to be played in the long shadows of the Olympics in London, it should be a great series.

Those t20s in particular will be great fun, as both teams get in shape for the World Cup.

The first test at the Oval, from July 19-23; the second at Headingley, from August 2-6; and the third at Lord’s, from August 16-20.

All three should be just lovely. the Oval in July, Leeds during the Olympics as London parties, and finally Lord’s to close it all out and possibly decide the world number one.

The ODIs are at Sophia Gardens (Cardiff), the Rose Bowl, the Oval, Lord’s, and Trent Bridge on August 22, 24, 28, September 2 and 5, respectively. The t20s are back in Durham, back at old Trafford, and back at Edgbaston on September 8, 10, and 12.

And that’s it, that’s the English summer. From the coin toss on May 17 at Lord’s to the final ball in Manchester on September 12. Four months, 22 matches, 46 total days of cricket (counting the Ireland match and if each test goes the distance).

The more I read and write about it, the more excited I get.

It should be a wonderful summer of sport: the Euros, the Olympics, and an all-round entertaining English cricketing summer.

And, considering I am able to work from home, and considering all three events are available to watch here in the states on ESPN3, over the air TV, and Willow, respectively, I hope to be able to watch big chunks of all three. Looking forward to it all.


A quick bit of housekeeping: Yesterday Limited Overs received the most hits it has ever received in a single day. Thanks again to those that retweeted and reblogged, I do appreciate it. 


This morning, I was working from home, and therefore was lucky enough to be able to watch the first innings of Royal Challengers Bangalore versus Kings XI Punjab in the 44th match of the 2012 Indian Premiere League. 

KXIP defeated RCB by four wickets with one ball to spare, in a hard fought and entertaining cricket match. 

And I am going to go on record here: I like the IPL. I really do enjoy it. And I wish I could watch more of it.  

I like the uniforms, I like the crowds, I like that a vast majority of the best players in the world are on display, and I like that Willow TV carries every match live as well as on demand.  

And on that note, some news: I have “picked” an IPL team: Royal Challengers Bangalore will be the team I support going forward. I know this announcement sounds oh so terribly childish, but it is unfortunately just part of enjoying a sport that does not have a franchise in your home town. Sooner or later: you have to choose, or the sport starts to lose a bit of its luster. 

This was initially decided a few days ago, as I was reading Dirk Nannes’ IPL diary, which I highly recommend you read, if you have not done so already. 

Nannes is a pretty interesting dude: not a full time cricketer until his 20s (did not make his first class debut until he was 29), a world class downhill skier, and a well above average writer. Plus, according to Cricinfo, he speaks Japanese, plays the saxophone,  and operates his own skiiing tourism business. 

A true renaissance man, surely. 

At first, I was not sure about RBC, as Nannes does not really play all that often for them, but the decision was confirmed as I was watching their match this morning, as they really are a collection of some of my absolute favorite current cricketers: de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle…etc. Plus they play their home matches at the understated yet lovely M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore: 


Two drawbacks: they are named after a booze. Lame. And their theme song is, well, not the greatest. 

But, either way, for the time being, they are my IPL team. Let’s see how this goes. Three weeks are left in the group stage, so hopefully that’s enough time for RCB to get back into the top four.  


And with that all said: the first test of the English summer is just 15 days away. 

15 days until the West Indies visit Lord’s. I cannot wait. 

And with the new job, and this working from home thing, I will be able to watch a great deal of it.  Huzzah. 

Until next time. 

The Confusing Blog Titles are Dead, Long Live the Confusing Blog Titles

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the kind praise regarding the post on Kolkata 2001. It was an idea I had had for a few months now, but I was unable to find a good five day news cycle that matched up with at least a mildly interesting test match. But I think it worked out okay.

Secondly, as the Cricket Couch pointed out, if I am to be taken the least bit seriously as a cricket blogger, then I need to quit it with the confusing titles for my posts.

The point of them was always to drive home the fact that there was always cricket happening somewhere, every day of the year, and that I thought that was cool; but that point has been made, and even if I wanted to continue making it, I could do so without using confusing blog post titles. And when I started, I felt I needed a gimmick, and some structure. But, alas, I took it too far down the river.

And not only is it confusing, it is also misleading. If someone, for example, googles a Zimbabwean league match and ends up here only to see that I was actually writing about Yorkshire CCC, well, then that’s bait and switch, plain and simple. Even worse: it’s impression whoring. Egads, right?

Though, honestly, I never meant it to be as such.

And, so, the blog titles will now instead relate directly to the subject matter of the post. You’re welcome.

It’s the start of a new era here at Limited Overs. What’s past is prologue. Onward and upward, dear friends.