Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Cricket's Hari-Kari

I've heard of some pitifiul cricketing episodes in my time but last night's events at Derby sure take some beating.

Play in the match between Derbyshire and Leicestershire was held up for 95 minutes because of, get this, the low sun. So it's finally happened. Sun has stopped play in a game of cricket.

Cricket is in a tough, commercial world. It has to vie for people's attention and patronage with an ever-increasing range of alternative pastimes . People can go to the cinema. They can go to the pub. They can go dry-slope ski-ing, ten-pin bowling, go-karting, they can stop at home and watch You Tube all night. The last thing the game needs to do is shoot itself in the foot.

First-class cricketers already have a reputation for being somewhat keen to put their feet up, scuttling in the direction of the pavillion at the first sign of rain or bad light, and not bothering to return until the outfield's power dry. Now there's a new excuse to down tools. It really does defy belief. If I'd have paid money to get into last night's game I'd have been livid. I imagine many people were. And some of them won't go back. Ever.

A few weeks ago Womble on Tour Junior II and his team finished a game in pouring rain and came off the field drenched, smiling and happy (well, they had won). But then kids and amateur cricketers will do everything they can to play. Their professional counterparts, it seems, do everything they can not to.

I wasn't there. I don't know exactly what happened. Perhaps the sun was dangerous if batsmen couldn't see the ball. But those arranging the fixture should have seen that coming; the position of the sun at seven o'clock in the evening is hardly a State secret (not yet, anyway). What I do know is that this sort of thing does the game and its image nothing but immense harm. Please, for the love of Michael Vaughan (for he is the Lord) "Sun stopped play"; never again.

No comments: