Regular readers will be aware of our dislike of most things BCCI, from their draconian commentary regulations to their stance on DRS which is
clearly allegedly just to prove how powerful they are and thus, how unfit for purpose the ICC are. The recent dicking about with the SA series schedule has now been added to our ever lengthening list. If CSA need someone to play at Newlands in the first week of January we’ll gladly round up some mates and jump on a plane.
We have repeatedly voiced our more general gripes regarding the global cricket calendar: overly long pointless ODI series, ODIs played after Tests (especially in Autumn), three Test series amongst the top ranked teams and two match T20 series inevitably ending in a draw are all likely to get us reaching for the gin. With no proper cricket to watch (Sky have clearly spent most of their winter budget on Beefy’s bar tab and Lord Gower’s pilot’s license), we thought we’d try and do the ICC’s work for them.
We started by trying to put some structure in place and then work around it so that the Test playing nations were split, nominally, into the haves and the have nots with England, Australia, India and South Africa placed in ‘Pot 1’ and Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and New Zealand in ‘Pot 2’. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can be added later; after all, none of the authorities care about them, so why should we? The required format of each series was set as follows:
We created an IPL window from 1st April to 15th May each year and also a biannual ICC window for 50-over and T20 World Cups, one each in the northern and southern hemisphere summer. For the sake of clarity at this point our thoughts on the IPL can be summarised here, but it’s not going anywhere soon so we had to consider it. Finally, because we are sticklers for tradition, we kept the accepted series dates for Ashes clashes and the series over Christmas and New Year in both Australia and South Africa.
The more perceptive of you will now be expecting a conclusion accompanied by a wonderful Microsoft-based visual aid. However, the reality is that it’s f**king impossible unless you are happy with a minimum six year rotational schedule or want to make some significant compromise to the current formats. The key problem being that most of the Test playing nations are based in the southern hemisphere, meaning that generally all but England and West Indies home series have to be played between September and March – unless more games are played in cyclone-prone, sweltering hot tropical locations like Cairns, Galle and Bognor Regis.
Solutions include creating two divisions of countries with promotion and relegation, cutting at least one of the three formats from the schedule completely, doing away with ICC tournaments or reducing the number of ‘time consuming’ Tests. Even with our currently frazzled brain we can see the preferred choice probably depends on where you live in the world, which board pays your salary and whether you are provided with branded shirts to wear whilst commentating.