Points mean prizes

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Or, more accurately, points “may” mean a presentation ceremony (at which something would presumably be presented).

This is the barely-reported story that England are looking to implement a points system for the two tours this summer, meaning an all-formats winner could be crowned for each.

The Times ran something behind its paywall a few days ago and The Guardian’s mentioned it via a short Press Association piece, but all in all, no-one really seems to a toss.

Well we do. We quite genuinely believe that this development has the potential to save cricket.

Save it from what, you ask? Save it from itself. The general trend within the sport over the last however-many-years is for self-cannibalisation. Rather than supporting each other, the various different formats have instead been eating each other. You don’t have to have followed cricket too closely to have spotted a tour where one team prioritised one format while the other favoured a different one. Priorities have diverged so much that the sport can at times look farcical.

T20s, ODIs and Tests – it’s all cricket, so why not treat them as one? To us, the whole essence of cricket is variety. As well as different opposition, cricketers face different pitches, different weather and different durations of match. They are all aspects of the same whole, so it makes sense to us for them to be treated as one.

Have you ever had to explain to someone how England can play Australia and it’s not the Ashes? Have you ever talked someone through your team winning a series in one format before losing in another to the same opposition a week or so later? Cricket is confusing. A points system, though seemingly trivial, brings a degree of coherence. Suddenly everything contributes towards identifying the best cricket team – which is surely what the sport’s all about.

Having all-format winners of tours would bring the game and the cricket world together. If it can gain traction (this is, admittedly, a big ask) then it would positively force countries to take all of the formats seriously. Where previously a nation might have written off the Tests or the one-dayers because they weren’t really that bothered about them, perhaps they would now take them a little more seriously, knowing that they would contribute to the overall win.

How could that be a bad thing?

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20 Appeals

  1. Your penultimate sentence is certainly very positive, especially considering the general apathy in some regions concerning Tests. However, my worry really is the same as the one I expressed last time this subject was brought up: how the points system will be implemented.

    In the most recent Women’s Ashes, T20s and ODIs were worth two points. The Test was worth four points. 80 overs were worth the same amount as circa 450 (in a men’s Test). This is plainly nonsense.

    But also, the adoption of a similar scheme might actually have the opposite effect to that desired on teams regarding Tests. It’s quite easy to win a WAshes-format-series by drawing the Test, or even losing it. Cue sides with LO focus focussing either on really defensive Test styles, forcing bore draws, or not caring about the format at all in the knowledge that they can make the points back in just 80 overs (or fewer).

    As you said at the time, this could be avoided by a sensible allocation of points. But the only existent version of this idea doesn’t have that; and the most popular cricketing event in the world now is T20; so how likely is that?

    TL;DR: Nice idea, shame about what will almost certainly be the execution.

    • King Cricket

      April 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      Test matches could count for a significant but not tour-clinching amount, or they can count for nothing, as they increasingly seem to.

      We also can’t see the issue with Tests being worth double the shorter formats. They’re two innings a side, as opposed to one. The overs are just the maximum timeframe.

      • The idea that a twenty-over innings should be worth the same as an innings that lasts more than a day, requiring all the reserves of mental fortitude that goes with it, does not sit well with my mind.

      • King Cricket

        April 17, 2016 at 9:56 am

        Consider that for much of the world a 20 over innings is currently worth more. Idealism a side, we see this as potentially being a step in the right direction.

  2. I shall resist this, as I resist every new thing thrust upon me. I see this as an excuse to organize shitty tours with 1 test, 3 one-dayers, and five T20’s with more weight given to the sole test as some kind of justification. This is a bad, bad thing.

    • Also, I don’t really want to watch the one-dayers. What’s the point?

      • I feel there’s a better way to stop cricket cannibalising itself: scrap the weird halfway-house format (that KC himself has said doesn’t matter). Replace the ODI World Cup with the more frequent T20 World Cup that people seem to want all of a sudden. Replace the Champion’s Trophy with some form, any form, of Test cup thing. More rest for players, and/or more time for the other two formats. What’s not to like?

        But no, it’ll never happen because we must have more context-less five-match England-India ODI series. IT IS WRITTEN.

    • King Cricket

      April 16, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      You wouldn’t get one-Test tours. They don’t even bother with that now.

      Even at two Tests, three one-dayers and three T20s, going by the point-per-innings system, that’s still 40 per cent of the tour accounted for by Test cricket.

  3. I’m fine with this, as long as all the points for the T20 and ODIs combined add up to less than one Test win.

  4. Here’s the killer deal for me.

    You know how sometimes in the final test, a team plays differently because of how it’ll affect the outcome of the series? (Penultimate test sometimes too.)

    Sometimes they will go for the defensive draw that seals the series victory. Sometimes they’ll fight for an unlikely achieve a series-levelling comeback. Whichever.

    I’m not sure I want a team playing the final Test in that way, based on the outcome of earlier T20 matches. That just seems very wrong. Perhaps I’m just not getting into the spirit of things.

    Even worse, imagine one team playing one way because they want to seal the TEST SERIES victory (ie the proper one), and one playing another way because they only care about the OVERALL SERIES victory and think the whole idea of a “Test series” is outdated. Misaligned motivations can cut out a lot of the drama.

    • King Cricket

      April 16, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      Imperfections certainly, but motivations don’t come much more misaligned than taking turns to acquiesce as you flit between formats.

  5. I agree with everybody. You are all right.

    What do rotund cricketers think about this idea?

    Have cats responded to this question with indifference?

    How many points would the winner of the on-line cricket top trumps competition be awarded?

    We need answers to these important follow-up questions.

  6. Cricket fans, and especially Ged, I feel the need to seek your advice. I’m going to a cricket match for the first time ever today (at The Home Of Cricket, wherelse). Any things I should take time to see or do? Any faux pas I must not make?

    Recommendations gratefully received from all. (Elderbrook, L.?)

    • King Cricket

      April 17, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Are Ged’s many match reports not sufficiently informative?

      Take unusual food with you. Report on your day. Surely that’s the gist of it.

    • Take musical instruments and banners with you. Play and wave them (respectively) with impunity.

      Attempt to enter the pavilion without a membership card or invitation from a member. Ensure that you are wearing jeans and on no account wear a jacket, a shirt with a collar or (heaven forbid) a tie.

      Once inside the pavilion, take copious numbers of photographs and seek autographs from everybody; players, officials and members attempting some quiet slumber.

      At the time of writing (lunch on the first day) try yelling words to the following effect: “MIDDLESEX!!! 120 for none. Shove it up yer arse, Warwickshire. Middlesex are the best county in the whole world. I can’t spake”.

  7. I think that photo proves that Cook’s problems with the new helmets is not his vision but the grill positioning so he can stick his tongue out without obstruction.

  8. Off topic but whatever happened to Triangular tournaments. They were so much fun when I was growing up.

  9. Triangular tournaments would be a great way to get the bottom Test sides or top Associate sides games against the Proper Eight sides too, and may just rescue some of the ODIs. Imagine, say, India vs England. Hopefully the tour contains at least three Tests. Now imagine Afaganistan or Ireland or somebody coming in for the LO matches: they would avoid the tacit concession of one format for another by being there to poach a win against the big boys.

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