With lighter evenings and slightly warmer days it can only mean one thing – the long awaited return of Natwest T20 Blast or, as we like to think of it, the second of three competitions in which Surrey can embarrass themselves. But while we’re actually looking forwards to the actual T20 fun and games, we’re not so keen on the hours and hours of debate about what makes it good, bad or ugly. And ultimately how can it be made more like the Big Bash, of which our regular reader will know we are big fans. Not wanting to be ‘that’ kid at school, we’re more than happy to get ‘On Board’.
The debate this year has been has been driven up to new heights by everybody’s favourite
gobshite rent a quote Yorkshireman ECB chairman, Colin Graves, who described the product as ‘mediocre’. Like Wakefield, or Doncaster. In fact it’s only better than Rotherham due to the absence of child sex abuse. At least in the bits we’ve seen.
Fundamentally we think there’s very little wrong with the T20 Blast: it’s certainly miles better than the CPL, BPL or Ram Slam, although its name isn’t a patch on the Georgie Pie Super Smash. The only issue is the scheduling, which, to a certain extent, hinders the clubs from attracting the big talent for the whole duration. For that reason alone we’d condense the format into the first three or four weeks of the school holidays around the end of July and start of August. The thinking behind the Friday nights was obviously to attract the drinking crowd, which makes sense, so we’d keep that philosophy and schedule the games for Thursday to Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, thus giving us an excuse to drink for four days solid.
Nothing else needs to change; the geographical split of divisions works well and creates rivalries as much as is possible in T20. The simple truth is the only two other ingredients required are decent pitches and some sunshine.
So, how does the reason of the season fit in? Well for a start we’d make the County Championship three divisions of six teams, or even seven with some minor county additions, with two up and two down each year. None of this lopsided bollocks currently lined up for next year. These games can be played Monday to Thursday as even if Erika Eleniak jumped naked out of a cake during the lunch interval no-one would turn up to watch.
That just leaves the Royal London 50 Over competition, the one that absolutely nobody cares about. The group games can be played on the weekends between May and mid July, with the knockout stages being held on consecutive weekends from the middle of August onwards, with the final the first week of September. Or they could just stop as soon as it becomes clear that Surrey are going to finish bottom.
And just like that, we seem to have solved all the scheduling problems in English cricket. As a wise man once said: we’re not saying right is wrong. It’s up to us to make the best of all the things that come our way. Life is precocious in a most peculiar way after all.