Traditionally speaking

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:

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.

Without a Ball Bowled

Today’s ODI between Ireland and Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball bowled due to heavy rains and a wet outfield.

For Sri Lanka, I think this means very little. In fact, they probably welcomed the unforeseen day off in the middle of a very long tour.

But for Ireland – while not catastrophic – it is very, very unfortunate. This was their last ODI against world class competition until next year’s World Cup (they play three ODIs against Sri Lanka A in August and three more against Scotland in September). And while we can all agree that one match in May is not going to have a huge influence on results a year from now, it is still one less ODI against top competition, and will have –  at least – a nominal affect on how Ireland perform in Australia in 2015.

But more than that, it’s a financial blow. Ticket sales = gone. Advertising revenue = gone. Concession revenue = gone. Ad infinitum. I have no idea what the actual dollar figure is – but I can only guess that Cricket Ireland stands to lose tens of thousands of pounds. At minimum.

Now, surely, Cricket Ireland took out insurance on this match – I know my nonprofit takes out “snow” insurance on our annual fundraising gala – but even if they did, it’s probably only pennies on the dollar. Enough to cover costs at most.

And so to sum it all up: Cricket Ireland loses out on invaluable revenue needed to development its program, Ireland’s cricketers miss out on the opporuntity to hone their skills against the world’s best, Ireland’s cricket supporters were unable to see their boys play against top notch competition on home soil, and cricket followers around the world were unable to tune in and watch the live stream (which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for all intents and purposes that stream was going to be a global advertisement for Irish cricket.)

All because of a little rain.

And this begs the question: why wasn’t a makeup day put on Sri Lanka’s tour calendar? It would have solved all of the above problems, and it seems like such a simple solution that I can’t believe no one thought to include it, and so I can only assume that somewhere along the line it was objected to by one party or another. The ICC? Sri Lanka Cricket? Cricket Ireland!?

Again, I am not sure of answer to the above. Whether it was the ICC, the Big Three, Sri Lanka or Cricket Ireland itself  doesn’t matter, however. What does matter is that World Cricket has failed an Associate nation. Again. For the millionth time. And that’s the real tragedy in all of this.