Feels like we’re due an update on the Hundred.
The big news this week was Manchester Originals coach Simon Katich writing an open letter to fans in which he appears to consider his team to be much the same entity as Lancashire County Cricket Club.
You can see why he’d think this. Both teams will play at Old Trafford and unlike several of the other Hundred teams, the Originals will represent Lancashire and no other county.
Of far more interest to us, Katich’s letter featured the first official accidental comedy use of the word ‘Originals‘, when he said, “the Originals are an extension of this great county.”
The original extension. The original after-the-fact add-on.
Separately, the ECB has also announced some playing conditions.
A number of people remain violently angry about the Hundred and these people are outraged that they’re doing away with the convention of a new batsman going to the non-striker’s end when someone’s out after skying it and the two batsmen have crossed – but this is not the most interesting news. This is not even nearly the most interesting news.
The most interesting news is the time-out and it is the most interesting news because it begs a fiendish philosophical question, which we’ll come to shortly.
We’re hugely enamoured of time-outs. Everyone knows they’re really just an excuse for an extra ad break, so it’s fun to see exactly how the organisers and broadcaster are going to lie to you about them.
The convention is to call them ‘strategic time-outs’ because that makes them sound like so much more than the cessation of cricket. The trick then is to get the commentators to talk about them as if they’re momentous, game-changing events rather than just nothing happening for a bit.
The IPL has managed to make time-outs seem so vital that they actually have an official strategic time-out partner. This is amazing. These are brands that want their name to be associated with (a) cricket not happening and (b) everyone groaning about watching the exact same palette of adverts for the thousandth time that week. (It’ll be interesting to see how they talk up time-outs on the BBC, where there are no ads.)
The big Hundred strategic time-out news is that they’re going to be two-and-a-half minutes long and this is where we start asking questions that surely cannot be answered.
Two-and-a-half minutes without cricket during a game of cricket. That’s just… cricket, isn’t it?
We don’t know about you, but we probably wouldn’t even notice if we watched cricket for 150 seconds and didn’t see any cricket. It wouldn’t for even one moment occur to us that the cricket had stopped and that we were no longer watching cricket.
You might think that cricket is a game of bat and ball, but is it? Is it really?
We put it to you that cricket is actually a game of 150-second spells of inactivity that are interspersed with very brief ‘time-outs’ where someone bowls a ball and someone else maybe hits it or maybe doesn’t.