Monday, 4 February 2008

A brighter future for county cricket...hopefully.

Today, the E.C.B. has announced that £30 million will be ploughed into the county game and upwards of 2000 community clubs across the country. This money is primarily going to be used to update venues of all 18 first-class counties, to ensure that international standard floodlights are installed. For leading county grounds there is the added bonus of improved drainage.

County cricket always takes second place to internationals and rightfully so; but it doesn't need to be as far behind as it is currently. With the advent of 20/20 cricket, the financial benefits and increased popularity associated with floodlit cricket have been further confirmed. More floodlights mean more day-night matches. More day-night matches mean more spectators and more money for the game. This money then can be reinvested into bigger and better things.

As with all investment, it needs to be carried out thoroughly and short cuts shouldn't be considered. Let's for example, take a look at the county ground, Bristol. In 2007, it staged a day-night ODI between England and India (India ending up winners by 9 runs). This match was played with four small floodlights all at one side of the ground. This would be an unacceptable waste of funding if such an arrangement was to be made to make this a permanent. If floodlights are to be installed, they should look to install big towers all around the ground, such as those used in Australia. This would make viewing and playing much easier.

Part of the E.C.B’s long-term county reformation plan will see large international grounds, such as Old Trafford, being entitled to funding for better drainage. It would be good to see this on a par with the standards at Lords. Such drainage would be fantastic and would clearly allow for much more cricket to be played.

Is it fair however, that non-international grounds shouldn't have improved drainage? County grounds such as Glamorgan, Derbyshire and Worcestershire appear to be somewhat neglected due to not being hosts of test matches. This is disappointing to see. All grounds should be improved to allow for as much cricket as possible. It is only right that in this day of sky-high ticket prices and non-terrestrial TV coverage, that the followers of this great game get their money's worth.

8 comments:

Straight Point said...

as they say...better late than never...

The Sporting Spirit said...

English county cricket is by far the best domestic cricket front in the world...a little more money might bring out a few youngsters...good...for them...

Ben Rigby said...

Surely Australia have the best domestic set up with Grade and State cricket?

Tim said...

Good piece Ben. I am delighted wih the ECB's decision, having witnessed the supreme Lord's drainage system first hand. And floodlights bring specators into county cricket - although the toss can still have too large an effect on the result.

Ben Rigby said...

Yes, it is often very hard to chase under lights isnt it. It sin't such an issue in this country as others but the dew affects things too!

thevillagecricketer said...

Greetings. The Village Cricketer is looking for nominations for the first ever ‘The International Village Cricketer Awards’. Categories include the Village Cricketer of the Year, Most Village Emerging Player of the Year and the Spirit of Village Award. It'd be great to get your thoughts posted at http://thevillagecricketer.wordpress.com/

Graham said...

re the lights/dew problem:

Why not divide any day/night 50-over match into four sessions of 25 overs each? Team A would bat in the first and third sessions and team B in the other two - that way both get to deal with floodlights and dew, and both have to deal with a break in their innings.

River Taff End said...

Slightly odd to connect Glamorgan with Derebyshire and Worcs re: International Cricket.

Times are changing