As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the last match of the English summer is a t20 against South Africa on Wednesday, September the 12th in Birmingham, England.
Eight days later and six thousand miles away, South Africa is scheduled to play its first match of the ICC World t20 against Zimbabwe in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
One day later, England will play Afghanistan in the same tournament in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (More on the interesting implications of this particular match in tomorrow’s post.)
Now that right there is some serious fixture congestion. Especially considering County Cricket will still be having matches AND today Sri Lanka Cricket announced that the Sri Lankan Premiere League will be happening in 2012, tentatively scheduled for August 10-31. Right in the heart of South Africa’s tour of England, and right up against the ICC tournament.
Of course, this jumble of fixtures will affect very few players. There are no other major tours going on during the SLPL, and cricketers will more than likely appreciate having the tournament to use as a warm up for the World t20s. And I am sure the English and South African cricket boards will, fairly or unfairly, keep their players in England for the tour and not allow them to whore themselves out to the SLPL.
But, again, here we are: too much cricket.
I understand Sri Lanka Cricket’s position. Most other test playing nations (even Bangladesh!) have international t20 tournaments in existence to line the wallets of their cricket boards via TV deals, sponsorships, and ticket sales – why not Sri Lanka, too?
I have no answer to that question. But it is just starting to get a bit out of hand, and sooner or later, the ICC is going to need to step in and draw a line in the sand. Players flying all over the world to play in a dozen different tournaments is detrimental to the game in so many ways.
The worst part, for me, is that while we fans do get plenty of matches to watch, the overall quality of the cricket is going downhill…and quickly. And that is genuinely scary for the future of the sport we all love.
I have said three hundred times before: cut back on the cricket, and we all win. There are too many matches, too many tournaments, too many series, too many formats. No other sport, not even football, stretches its players quite as thin as cricket does, and it needs to be stopped.
Another article today on the future of the sport we all love: India is in dire straits, financially.
The gist of the article is that India will be the world’s number one economy before the century is out, but economic growth is not keeping up with population growth. Furthermore, the entire region depends on India as a catalyst to inspire its growth, and so a serious downturn would greatly affect all of SE Asia, and in a ripple effect, the world.
Now, the article is one economist’s opinion, and what serious financial downturns have on sport is quite debatable, but if India starts to lose interest in cricket, then the sport really is in trouble.
I don’t think that will happen anytime soon, but what could happen is that India stops caring about the less financially attractive version of the game: test cricket.
That, I think, is a very real possibility, and a very real fear.
And, therefore, this fall, every neutral should be squarely in India’s corner when England visit for a highly anticipated four match series.
My two cents.
In blog news, I have been asked by Graywolf Press to review a book about cricket that they are launching later this spring. Keep an eye on the site for my review!