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Difficult financial times are often accompanied by desperate pleas for government subsidy and surprise corporate mergers as old business models struggle to survive. While details of the suggested cricket-tennis tie-up remain elusive, my bet is the branding consultants will prefer the bold and meaty sound of “TENNET” to the hissing and slightly sinister “CRICKIS”.
One suggests the titular surname (and frankly what other name would be required) of the hardest of hard-boiled detectives (probably with a shambolic personal life and a pitch-dark sense of humour), while the other recalls a terrifying breed of flesh-eating insectoid space monsters from a cheap sci-fi movie (probably with shambolic personal lives and a pitch-dark sense of humour).
The tennet rules committee faces an all-critical equipment choice of hitting implement and spherical target. If this is a merger of equals, rather than a simple takeover, it could have gone one of two ways. The hint the BBC have dropped about the preferred ball suggests tennis players are about to discover their sport has suddenly got a lot, lot harder. Both they and line umpires might need to start thinking about investing in a good box.
If, on the flip side, cricketers are about to get their hands on hitting implements of substantially greater girth, then I doubt I’m the only inept player willing this merger forward. I have certainly found rackets add a certain je ne sais quoi to the “French” and “beach” variants of cricket.
Sudden upheavals are hard to bear and purists will initially baulk at such changes to their beloved sports. But if a preference for purism can be passed along the generations, I have no doubt that after 200 years of further format/kit fiddling, the more cultured among their great-great-great-grandchildren will strike a blow against conformist commercialism by sneaking off to secret pitch-courts for a proper match of “real tennet”, 2020s rules.