A semi-regular feature in which we ask Prince Prefab about cricket – even though he hates cricket. We are in bold. Prince Prefab is not.
We were talking about fat cricketers last time around. It was pointed out to us that the team that won this year’s T20 competition ‘likes a pint’. [At this point King Cricket shows Prince Prefab photographs of Northamptonshire’s Rory Kleinveldt and Richard Levi.]
They even have booze sponsorship.
They should run a campaign to get more fat kids into cricket.
“Like a McDonalds? Sweat when you climb the stairs? Out of breath after polishing your bannister? It doesn’t matter! Cricket: a sport for everyone – even you.”
There’s a feeling among some that what English cricket needs is a new Twenty20 competition where the teams are cities, not counties, and where there are fewer of them (eight cities instead of 18 counties). The thinking is that a lot of people don’t give a flying full toss about counties. They think having cities would bring in a new audience.
As a Lancastrian living in Manchester, what’s your take? Do you think they should have cities instead of counties? Would you personally be more interested in Manchester Mizzle than Lancashire Lightning?
It sounds like the first step to ‘footballising’ cricket and the one thing I could love about cricket is that it isn’t football. Cos you can bet your balls there would end up being two Manchester teams, two Liverpool teams, two Sheffield teams and we can all see where that would go: the wankers would get interested. This would feed into the cricketers who would wave their finger in a knowing way at the umpire when he made a decision they disagree with and nobody wants that.
So yes, it would probably bring in a new audience but is it an audience you want? Keep it county. Keep it sparse.
Well apparently as we speak, there’s been a vote and they’re going to do it. There won’t be two teams in each city though, just one – and only eight cities.
It’s a good point though. Round our way, childhood football support was defined by rivalries. You knew people who supported other clubs because City, United, Liverpool and Everton were all within legitimate supporting range. We can’t really see that you’d get that with this competition.
Leeds will presumably be Manchester’s bitter rivals, but we won’t know anyone who supports Leeds on account of the fact that we don’t live in Leeds.
As long as they don’t try and do what they are doing with snooker. Trying to make it snazzy. Cos it just ends up looking naff.
Although there is something delightful about Ding Junhui walking into the arena with Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars blasting out, only to be usurped by Rocket Ronnie’s genius entrance to Train’s Drops of Jupiter. In fact, cricketers probably have terrible taste in music too. They should each have a song of choice blasted when they score a century, bowl someone out etc.
Sorry, I’ve gone off track.
They do play music when a batsman walks out. Dunno whether they get to choose what it is though.
The new city thing’ll definitely be a snazzification exercise though. We sort of imagine it falling between two stools: the Full Snazz stool of the Indian Premier League – which is all napalm marketing, fireworks and cheerleaders – and the Village Fete stool that is county cricket grasping at the threads of modernity without ever quite catching hold of them.
The latter’s probably best exemplified by the mascot race on T20 Finals Day when a load of people dressed in giant foam animal costumes belt round an obstacle course in between cricket matches.
I was raised that the only extra excitement allowed at a cricket match other than the cricket should be a bottle of coke (with a straw!) and a bag of salt and vinegar chipsticks.
But maybe the problem is the sport? If they need all this snazz?
Well, obvious goading aside, there’s truth in that. Test cricket in particular is not exactly plug-and-play, easy to use straight out of the box. You need to study the instructions first – and who honestly wants to do that?
The idea with T20 and the city franchise tournament is that it’s sort of ‘My First Cricket Format’ – easier to sell to more people in itself, and perhaps also a route to the grown-up version.
I’m not sure they’re going about it the right way. As someone who doesn’t currently watch cricket I’m more likely to be drawn to Test cricket and the history and complications and nuances of that than a load of lads in yellow jumpsuits running out to Mr Boombastic and wellying a ball as hard as they can with cheerleaders shaking pompoms every time something happens.
Well you say that, but Test cricket hasn’t entrapped you in its vicelike grip just yet, has it? So maybe they’re thinking why not give Mr Boombastic a whirl.
Yes, I should have been clearer. I like the idea of Test cricket more. Still probably never go.
Only ‘probably’. That’s tantamount to an invitation. [Checks 2017 fixture list.]
2017’s chocka mate.