Yesterday I wrote about how unfortunate it was that a makeup day was not scheduled for the Ireland v Sri Lanka ODI series. But I guess it was not a mistake or a purposeful slight, it was, in fact, tradition:
@limitedovers There is no makeup day because not having makeup days is another anachronistic cricket tradition, like “the spirit of cricket”
— Peter Della Penna (@PeterDellaPenna) May 8, 2014
Now, I love traditions. I love seeing them form, I love upholding them and I love participating in them. I think they are an important part of our family heritage, our cultural heritage and our society in general – and that includes our sporting traditions.
But it is also equally important to let certain traditions pass away. The passing of certain customs is inherent to change, and change is inherent to a society or a culture that is progressing in a positive manner. Sure, we should mourn traditions that passed before their time, and we should bemoan those that never should have gone away, and we should celebrate the passage of others into history’s dustbin – but then we should move on. If we are to grow and change, then certain traditions need to die.
Many people would say that cricket is too beholden to its traditions. I don’t think this is true at all. I think instead they are too beholden to certain customs, while not beholden enough to others.
For instance, right now the entire cricketing world save England has its eyes on the Indian Premier League. A league that is only in it’s sixth season playing a format that is only two years older than Twitter…and it is the most popular cricket related thing in the world ever. If that’s not iconoclastic than I don’t know what is.
Further: Cricket adopted technology sooner than baseball or football. It has three different formats to allow for more television revenue. It has pink balls and floodlights and fourth umpires.
Cricket changes, it progresses with the times, it moves forward and it knows that – like the shark – if it stops moving…it dies.
Cricket gets it.
Except when it doesn’t.
As if to compensate for all the traditions that have been discarded since One Day cricket was invented, the game still stays beholden to the dumbest, most ridiculous traditions ever. Traditions like not having a makeup game during a two match series…in Ireland, in May, when the other team is going to be within easy travel distance for seven weeks.
I talk a lot about how I am optimistic about cricket’s future because of its adaptability, but that adaptability will be meaningless unless it quits clinging to anachronisms in order to appease a shrinking subsection of its global audience. Schedule makeup days, World Cricket. For the good of the game, schedule makeup days.
And quit it with that nightwatchman business while you’re at it.