Thursday, March 19, 2009

Am I missing something here...?

Listening to: 'Don't Upset the Rhythm' by Noisettes [Wild Young Hearts]

So apparently the ECB's got its knickers in a twist because Aussie cricketers are playing English county cricket just before the Ashes. They're concerned that playing county cricket here will give the Aussies an undue advantage, and England's national selector is thinking of blocking Aussie players from pre-Ashes county cricket in the future.

Now let's be realistic: I think everyone (the English included) knows that even without said 'undue advantage', the Aussies have the upper hand in the Ashes. Why? Because England are, more often than not, phenomenally shite at cricket (the men at least...the women seem to be pretty decent). The 2005 Ashes series was proven to be a complete fluke, and their only saving grace is an egotistical South African who's playing for England on a technicality. There is talent in the team, but there's not enough teamwork and no consistency...and without those, the talent is as good as nowt.

But for a moment, let's assume that the odds for the Ashes are evenly balanced. And after the departure of Warne and McGrath, this assumption is less ludicrous than it sounds. So what if Clark and whoever else comes and plays cricket here? Surely they've played the guys on the English national team often enough to know how they play? And forgive my patchy knowledge of cricketing strategy but surely the English batsmen have more to gain from learning how to read Clark's bowling on English pitches, than Clark has to gain from watching the English batsmen's stroke play? Of course Clark would get used to bowling on English pitches, but I think the effect of that would be nullified by the lack of the surprise element.

And then there's the ECB's attitude towards the Ashes. OK I know the Ashes means a lot to England. But the Aussies aren't the only ones who play county cricket here before touring England with their national sides. Surely that is also an issue? It seems that the ECB is taking the stance "we don't care if we lose to everyone else, as long as we don't lose to Australia". Well I think it's unlikely you're gonna beat one of the best sides in the world if you don't try to beat the others. And if you think that Aussies playing here affects your chances of beating them, the same applies to all the other tours. To me, the ECB's sending a signal that Australia is the only team important to them. Doesn't really send a positive signal to all the other test-playing nations, does it now?

But let's look at the bigger picture of foreign contracts. Some people think that the IPL gives India an undue advantage because foreign players are exposed to the tacticians and strategists working with the Indian national team. I have my own reasons for disliking the IPL, but this is not one of them. That said, the globalisation of first class sport is a double-edged sword. The host country gives the visitor an insight into the conditions in the country (weather, pitches etc.), and the visitor exposes their talent to the home teams. And in the case of a sport where conditions aren't that relevant (such as football) you run the risk of having a first class scene almost completely devoid of home players...which has a major impact on the depth of the national squad. A certain amount of regulation is required to maintain a healthy balance.

So yeah, maybe I'm missing something in the ECB's argument. I dunno.


  1. lol ok is it 'sexist' if i say that im very surprised to read such a well reasoned post about cricket by a girl...?

    either way, ur rite.. it makes abs no sense.. as it is, the english side is in quite a disarray as is evident in the Caribbean at the moment...

    lol @ "....their only saving grace is an egotistical South African who's playing for England on a technicality."

  2. Haha that depends...were you surprised that a girl wrote about cricket, or that a girl wrote a well-reasoned post? (You're on thin ice dude, tread very carefully ;-) )

    But yeah, disarray is a good word to describe their current state. You would think the selectors had more important things to do than make a fuss about Clark's contract. Sigh.

    And that's exactly what he is! I'm not his biggest fan, can you tell? :P


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