More Harumph!

And it goes on. The cricket season may be little more than a month in the distance but such a short period of time is beginning to drag. England’s absorbing test series in the Caribbean has ended and the ersatz drama generated by the litany of limited overs matches that inevitably follow prove to be little more than a bland dessert.

Nature abhors a vacuum and such a maxim seems to prove true in cricketing circles. Into the breach rides any number of missives regarding the Hundred with you know who at the helm, uttering his seemingly endless quips and soundbites from the media speak handbook whilst those from the strategic partner ask questions with as much bite and penetration as a morning powwow with Lorraine Kelly. In contrast, any issues or concerns raised by current supporters are studiously ignored as the same few sentences are trotted out ad infinitum, with slightly different wording, every few weeks. It’ll all be alright, the numbers and research have confirmed as much. Apparently.

Such irritations are increased further by the growing shtick from a cohort of ex and current players, all of whom are likely to benefit financially from the Hundred, instructing fans to turn up to matches anyway despite having previously been ignored, marginalised and deemed surplus to requirements; a development that continually proves nauseating.

Or the disingenuous comment from the beeb’s Stephen Lyle regarding condensing cricket into a shorter timespan being a broadcasting Holy Grail. The beeb will televise Wimbledon all day for 2 weeks, with a highlights program immediately afterward, and an NFL game which trundles on for hours but cricket has to be squeezed into a time pre-determined time slot.

Indeed, the actual playing of cricket seems to have become an inconvenience for too many now. There seems to be an ethos of ‘let’s get it over with as quickly as possible.’ Just when did the actual playing of cricket become so de trop? Has the thrall of money become so paramount that playing the game is now little more than a side show? Didn’t players and spectators start playing and following the game because of their enjoyment of the sport? Performers in other sports are very candid about how they dislike sitting on the substitute’s bench or, worse, in the stands, as opposed to playing. They yearn to be part of the action, part of the play, part of the spectacle. Yet cricket seems to be developing a sub culture of less is more. The hackneyed cliché is regularly trotted out in all aspects of life but for cricket supporters the equation is simply less cricket for more financial outlay.

Still, only another four weeks and all these issues can be off driven into the clichéd long grass. But it could be a long four weeks.

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