A new cricketing format debuts

The world will see ten over cricket for the first time in a global tournament in the middle of December when the Dubai T10 takes place. This will be the fourth format of the game and the third shortened version since the introduction of fifty over cricket in the 1970’s. The concern for the game is that it is being allowed to fragment even further with this new format. Cricket already has an identity problem with the three formats and now this latest development compounds this problem even further. The main concern is that if a television network likes T10 cricket because it fits into their culture and scheduling then it can start becoming a threat to T20 cricket like we saw with the fifty over game. The International Cricket Council (ICC) and Member countries had to work hard to protect the fifty over game from the threats of T20 … Continue reading

Ready, set, ehhh… go!

The South African domestic season (sort of) kicks into gear again this weekend with the start of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge (or just Ram Slam for short). Two factors have fortuitously combined to rescue the first half of the South African domestic 2017/18 season:  Firstly, in an ironic twist to the demise of the T20 Global League, the country’s best players are all available to play in the Ram Slam.  Secondly, the event has found a title sponsor. With Cricket South Africa (CSA) still reeling from the resignation of former CEO Haroon Lorgat and the shocking announcement two weeks later that the inaugural T20 Global League (T20GL) had been indefinitely postponed, few would have believed CSA would still be able to deliver a domestic T20 competition to which all fans can look forward.  To their credit, they have. In the aftermath of the T20GL cancellation there was an international … Continue reading

Van Zyl, Waller padding up in Bangladesh

Two experienced international cricketers represented by One World of Sport, Stiaan van Zyl and Malcolm Waller, earlier this week joined up with their respective squads for the 2017 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). This is Waller’s second stint in the BPL.  In 2015 he played for Dhaka Dynamites but this season will ply his trade with Rajshahi Kings.  2017 marks Van Zyl’s debut in the BPL.  He will play for Chittagong Vikings. The 2017 BPL will feature seven teams:  Chittagong Vikings, Comilla Victorians, Dhaka Dynamites, Khulna Titans, Rajshahi Kings, Rangpur Riders and Sylhet Sixers.  In the first round of the tournament the teams play each other twice, home and away.  The top four teams will qualify for the play-offs starting on 8 December, with the final on 12 December at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.  

South African cricket dumped into chaos

  The postponement of the Global T20 League at such a late stage has dumped South African cricket into chaos. The domestic fixtures that had been finalised during the winter months have now had to be rearranged to close down the six week gap left by the postponement of the Global T20 league. Cricket South Africa made the sensible decision to replace the Global T20 League with the South African version called the CSA T20 Challenge. With all the national players available this should enhance the public interest in this competition. The other problem that the postponement has created is that half the Sunfoil Series matches (Four Day) have been completed for the season. From a cricketing point of view this is not ideal for the preparation of players for international cricket, especially, that the Proteas are due to play eight Test matches this summer. Also, financially CSA are under … Continue reading

Time to redress the imbalance

“The focus on south Asian communities, the focus on women, building a new T20, making sure that the World Cup in 2019 is a fantastic platform for growth for cricket in this country, the investment in our teams to make sure that we’re always fighting at the top of the rankings for all three formats: these are all critical things for us to ensure that the next time we go to market we’re ensuring… cricket’s future.” Sounds like familiar rhetoric coming from Cricket South Africa (CSA).  Only this time the person speaking is the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison in a recent interview with the authoritative sports news website SportsPro Media.  In the interview Harrison goes on to outline in great detail how the ECB wants to grow the game in England until 2024 and beyond, especially the role television will play in this process. … Continue reading

Test cricket in for major overhaul

The International Cricket Council (ICC) have given notice that at their next Board meeting in June 2018 they will consider major changes to the playing structure of Test cricket from 2019 onwards. There is no doubt that Test cricket needs change if it is going to survive in the modern-day cricketing world. The ICC intends to divide Test cricket into two divisions of six teams each resulting in strength versus strength system. This is an important decision for the future of Test cricket, as all the Test playing nations are not of the same level of strength. With the current system certain Test series are sub-standard and attract little or no interest. Also, it will prevent the problem that some of the major Test-playing nations like India do not play the other Test nations on a regular basis because of commercial interests. This was the major shortcoming of what was … Continue reading

In cricket, all roads lead to India

Last month the coveted broadcast and online rights for the next five editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) were sold to Star Sports India for a staggering US$2.6 billion.  What few people know, however, is that the American social media behemoth, Facebook, entered a bid of US$600 million for the online rights to stream matches to Facebook users on the Indian sub-continent. Facebook’s bid wasn’t successful, but think about it:  The sixth most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization, based in America (where cricket doesn’t count) were prepared to pay US$600 million to stream cricket live online in India alone, nowhere else.  Why? According to Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, the company witnessed first-hand on Facebook how incredibly engaging the IPL is in India.  The bid for them was a no-brainer because they would’ve easily recouped that money, and then some, through … Continue reading

Why fix test cricket if it ain’t broken?

Last week my colleague wrote a column saying that playing Test cricket over four days would destroy the integrity of Test cricket and he is absolutely right. Test cricket has worked for 140 years and continues to work in the modern era, easily coexisting with One Day and T20 cricket. Test cricket is not broken, so why try and fix it? The idea of playing four day Test cricket was first mooted by Colin Graves when he became Chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2015. Why would a Chairman of the ECB raise such a fundamental matter in a country where Test cricket is such a success and its biggest threat is the weather? It can only be for his ego and legacy without thinking the matter through, to the detriment of the game. If there is one country that needs five day Test cricket, it … Continue reading

An insidious erosion

Let me state it upfront:  I’m a cricket traditionalist and resent the possibility that a Test match could be played over four days. Yet, that is the distinct possibility facing the world of Test cricket.  After endless deliberations between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the two boards announced earlier this week that their upcoming Test series in South Africa has been reduced from four to three matches.  Effectively, the decision axed the Boxing Day Test match (usually played in Durban but more recently in Port Elizabeth too).  Not wanting to deprive South African fans of Test cricket over this period, CSA took the unprecedented step of requesting the International Cricket Council (ICC) to grant Test status to a four-day, day-night match against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth.  All indications are that permission will be granted, albeit strictly as a “trial” exercise.  A … Continue reading

Is the great rivalry over?

  The great rivalry between the Springboks and All Blacks began way back in 1921 and the two teams have played each other on 94 occasions since. However, recent results like the 57/0 defeat in Albany last week and the 57-17 defeat in Durban last year, suggest that the traditional rivalry between these two great rugby nations is under threat. The Springboks are no longer the force they were in years gone by. The records show that New Zealand has won 56 matches and the Springboks 35 with three being drawn. However, before the professional era in 1992 the Springboks had a better win record against the All Blacks having won 53% of the matches against them. In the professional era the Springboks win ratio has dropped to 26% against the men in black. So what has been the cause that the Springboks have lost ground and continue to lose … Continue reading