Local Hero

This is the last in the informal series that has been: the Future of Test Cricket, but first of all, there was some great feedback on yesterday’s post from Russ at Idle Summers in the comments and from @paperstargirl on Twitter. Cheers.

Please know that these recent posts are not well researched and are not meant to be taken as gospel (not that anyone thought that, just hedging my bets here). I am more free associating than anything; just kind of seeing where the words take me, to see if I can come up with a conclusion to an incredibly complex problem.

That problem being: Test cricket.

To sum up: it’s dead, it’s alive, it’s different.

Now, finally: it’s local.

The one flaw in my “dream of the 1890s” post was that people who consider themselves part of that culture of chicken coops and home cured meats, also prefer locally owned business, and frown at global corporations. They want their cities to be walkable, and their sport to be regional at best.

They would be disgusted at 18 cricketers plus coaches and staff and fans flying thousands and thousands of miles in a carbon producing, energy wasting, all around filthy jumbo jet – all for a sporting event.

And while, again, Test cricket’s time may have come, Test cricket again is not ready.

In order for it to be ready, it needs to do what other businesses the world over have done: become hyper-local, as best as it can.

And this reason alone is why I feel that while Test cricket and first class cricket are here to stay and can reap the benefits of the cultural movement that wants to slow everything down, it cannot do so in its current incarnation. It needs to be broken apart like Ma Bell in the 50s in America. It needs to be regionalized. It needs to be franchised.

And it is already happening.

For example, Minneapolis has a thriving one day league that exists solely at the grass roots level. And while the league is mostly made up of ex-pats, I think that will change as more and more people become interested in the slow burn that is first class cricket.

And so now the future of first class cricket looks to me like the bastard love child of the County Championship, the Indian Premiere League, and the Minnesota Cricket Association.

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In fact, in a lot of ways, that looks like the future of sport overall.

And by “future” I don’t mean tomorrow, next week, or next year. I mean a generation from now.

People are longing for community and for local connectivity, despite our global village. And I think sport is going to respond to that desire – and cricket will be along for the ride.

Because I still believe Test cricket’s time has come.

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