Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The times they are a changin'

The tide has turned. The cricketing public have spoken. One day cricket as it is known has been exiled. Perhaps forever. Never has the format seemed so redundant as was witnessed in the last international. The Windies were 4/sweet bugger all and the game was a foregone conclusion. It seems the 50 over format has become a casualty of it's own origins. Hark back 30 years and the halcion days of the one day format and the death of test cricket, as was heralded. The television public wanted results and it wanted them today. No longer would it be satiated with laboured draws.
Fast forward to the present and the television public and live audiences demand results, not just today, but right now! They don't want, or need a whole day of cricket. It seems almost a toss of the coin is enough contest to soothe the masses.
What we are witnessing here is not the death of a cricketing format but the not so subtle shift of human nature towards instant gratification.
Cricket is as great as it ever was. It is the same game we grew up with. It's perception that has changed and will continue to change.
The question is, do we change the game to suit perception at the risk of jeopardising it's history? Do we want to see full houses at games that merely resemble the game we love?

1 comment:

  1. So there are people out there! Hope you enjoyed the ODI in beautiful Adelaide, Nospmas. I was at a function at the Oval on Friday, overlooking the new western stand. It’s certainly taking shape now so should be ready for the Ashes.

    I am amused by the media’s attempts at pitting 20/20 against 50 over cricket like they’re combatants. I think there’s a place for 50 over cricket but it’s being managed so poorly I can’t see how it will survive. There’ll be a 7 match series at the end of the Ashes next summer – didn’t they learn anything from England!?! If they keep 50 over World Cps then it’s obvious there’s a need for internationals in between. Just not so bloody many meaningless ones!

    More broadly you raise the issue of tinkering to please the masses. My argument is always that if you change a format, rules, process – whatever, to please others such as cricket watchers, then you will only ever have to keep changing as public opinion changes. Where does that go and end? If people get sick of 20/20 in 5 years as it becomes too formulaic; as is the case with 50 over cricket now, will they reduce the overs further? This is what pisses me off about the pink ball, day/night, 4 day discussion in regards to test cricket. What the hell does any of this achieve? We’ve seen with big test series that people love it, it’s good quality cricket – so what the hell will a pink ball to enhance it’s popularity?

    The changes that we have seen in test cricket, albeit mainly before our time, such as the covering of pitches, change to 6 ball overs, front foot noball, no rest days, timed tests and equipment like helmets quickly became inculcated into the game – even when they dramatically changed the way the game was played. This implies that they were more evolutionary than seeking to please the public. The leg theory is a great example as the rule change on fielding placement was in response to negative cricket which needed to be expelled.

    What we are seeing now is mere pandering to the masses which I fail to see as enhancing the game. If we go down this road I fear that when we look back in 15 years time we will see that the game was hurt irreparably (it can’t be destroyed) and the shame felt by those administrators, who wielded their pens to sign-off on the demise of cricket, will not result in them be held accountable for their irresponsible actions.