The Minecraft cricket ground

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We tried to get the lay of the land with The Hundred about to get underway. Amid all the earnest stat-fuelled previews and grave warnings about how franchise cricket has already eaten international cricket and really only needs to digest it now, we spotted a video about a cricket ground that has a boundary moat filled with sea creatures. That’s more our area, we thought. We’ll report on that.

The Space Bowl is a marketing gimmick for The Hundred, obviously. But the way we see it, if you’re going to do a marketing gimmick, base it around the uninhibited insanity of seven-year-olds.

Here are the key points

The stadium is located in space

As someone who was seven in the 1980s, this seems the obvious starting point because we were raised on cartoons that were pretty much all set in space, frequently for no clear reason whatsoever.

The Transformers were aliens. The Thundercats were aliens. He-Man was (presumably) on an alien planet. Ulysses 31 was Greek mythology in space.

That seems a lot already, but then there was Bucky O’Hare, which was about a war between an interplanetary republic of mammals and an empire of toads ruled by a computer system. And with both BraveStarr and the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, it was an era that could sustain not one but two programmes about space cowboys.

So yeah, blank sheet of paper, deciding on a location… of course you go for space.

Rooftop garden with wildlife

The key detail here is the roof. This is a ground in which Shahid Afridi could hit a 12. Full marks for providing that possibility.

A rollercoaster that takes you around the stadium

Sounds fun, but honestly not sure they’ve thought this one through. Does it make stops? Can you ask to get off at Stand E? By the end of the day will it basically just be a rammy receptacle for litter and drunk middle-aged men being shuttled for yet another piss?

Hopefully it’s just a fun rollercoaster that doesn’t make stops.

Disco lights around the pitch illuminating the stadium

An alternate interpretation of that old cricket classic, “bad light”.

Giant cricket glove screen to showcase the action

The more you think about it, the more you realise that ‘flat’ is a very boring shape for a screen. We saw a giant radio telescope being employed as a screen the other day.

We’re not entirely convinced the ECB’s Minecraft contractors have entirely delivered on the concept here though. Looks like a totally normal screen displaying an image of a glove to us.

Rainbow arch covers stadium

Wait, where’s the roof gone? So it’s not a complete roof. It’s just around the tops of the stands. Oh well.

Our son recently coined the phrase “toast rainbow” which is a very cute way to get away with not eating your crusts.

Boundary moat filled with sea creatures

100% brilliant idea, but again, the contractors have let the kids down a bit here. They’ve included fish and turtles when it’s obvious they meant plesiosaurs and mosasauri.

Giant cricket ball VIP seats

Not delighted about having special seats for VIPs, but then they do appear to be potentially lethal, so maybe it’s okay.

Team changing rooms under a see-through glass wicket

Well this is inviting a lawsuit. Lets be generous and assume it’s frosted glass.

Could be tough to bat on when you’re up top though.

A stage for DJs and musicians to entertain

Stadium cancelled. All praise retracted.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


    1. And another near-contemporary (off by a year I think) of Bucky O’Hare, Exosquad was yet another space-based cartoon. A surprisingly grown-up one, in the sense that main characters could actually die. Sometimes happened on Transformers too but they’re robots not humans which is how I think they got away with it.

      Andi Peters was on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip a few years back. Found a Bucky O’Hare toy for sale in a “vintage” shop, which sadly suggests something about our ages (at least it wasn’t an “antiques” shop), and knowing this suggests something even worse about my TV viewing habits. Surprisingly tunefully he managed to sing the entire BO’H theme tune from memory. Legend.

      1. I reckon I could still manage most of it from memory (although probably not the whole thing), it was quite the theme.

      2. Actually I’ve just found the intro on YouTube, there was a lot more to it than I remembered.

      3. Not sure Bucky O’Hare fits it actually, but for the most part there was a very particular vibe to both the themes and the style of animation in those days. Defenders of the Earth comes to mind as a fairly typical example.

      4. But seriously, why so much space? It’s the two space cowboy ones that really drive it home. It’s almost gratuitous.

      5. Ah yes, Defenders of The Earth is another stylistic fit. The related but grimmer and more artistic Phantom 2040 was sci-fi but Earth-bound, and in fact its Earth-boundedness was an indication of how depressing its vision of a failed future was. Perhaps that’s part of the “why set everything in space?” question, really. Everything Is Just Cooler In Space.

        They’ll have cricket on the moon one day. That’ll be fun. A proper T20 Blast-Off. Way better than an astronaut playing golf on the moon, that sucked dimpled balls: a good space-walk, spoiled. Lunar cricket is how I’m going to know whether I’ve finally lived long enough to reach The Future or not.

        2022 isn’t the future by the way. Despite the fact that Back To The Future thought that 2015 was The Future. And for the Transformers, Target: 2006 was The Future. (Twenty years ahead, we thought back then, that’s a loooong time in the future surely? We’ll have our own robots by then, right?) No, 2022 is not The Future. Because if it were, then I would be Old. And I am many things but I am definitely not Old. The Future is when they play cricket on the moon and we moan about how commercialised interplanetary cricket has become. Nothing less will do.

      6. Playing cricket in 1/6 the gravity should at least mean the return of Fat Cricketers; something to be grateful for.

      7. I’m still getting my brain around the fact that 2000AD was meant to be the future and we’d all be living in Mega-City One.

      8. To be honest, I’m not all that sad about 2000 coming and going without us all being herded into Mega-City One. Prospects of finding a serviceable cricket pitch in that environment seem unlikely.

        Other “The Futures” that have been and gone include the 2019 Blade Runner dystopia (another good miss with very bleak cricketing prospects and we’d all lose against the replicants anyway), Space: 1999 (also best avoided but at least would have given a chance to see how well moon cricket works), while Joe 90 was set some time between 1998 and 2013, depending on which source you believe (as a 4-eyes, am jealous of those specs – coincidentally Google Glass really did come out in 2013 which might be the closest we can get to that experience in our timeline – and it would be genuinely interesting to hook up BIG RAT to the brain of a professional cricketer to help understand how their mental processes let their body do things us mere mortals cannot).

        Honourable mention to Gerry Anderson’s UFO, in which The Future took place in 1980 so – like Orwell’s 1984 – had already become The Past by the time I set my eyes on it. Any classicist here to tell me what Latin tense would therefore be appropriate to describe its events? I quite like the idea of dragging a bewildered ancient Roman to the present day merely in order to ask him that question but there’s a non-negligible risk that the poor chap’s brain might explode at the premise. Anyway, UFO was also not a bad The Future to miss out on, though if we could settle on non-purple hair, I quite like some of those uniforms (anyone who’s seen it will know the ones I mean). They could replace the much less inspired kits used in the IPL and Hundred.

        There are plenty of The Futures that are still in the future, so we aren’t all officially Old yet: Phantom 2040 (hopefully we aren’t on course for that one), John Christopher’s rural-vs-urban dystopian novel The Guardians in 2052 (ditto, but a Counties vs Conurbs cricket match sounds first-class), the bulk of Gerry Anderson’s oeuvre (Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet are all set in the 2060s), The Tripods (2089 – don’t think they’d be very good at wielding the willow, and with a third leg for the bowlers to target the lbw has to be on), Exosquad (2119 – Terrans vs Neosapiens on Mars would be a good substitute for The Ashes, provided they didn’t turn each other into ashes first), the original Star Trek (23rd century) and Brave New World (2540, but in their calendar it’s only 634 After Ford). Plenty for the human race to look forward to, judging from that lot.

        If you ever want to feel fast-forwarded to The Future, right now it’s the 7th of Av, 5782. But if you’d rather rewind so that the last few years didn’t happen – even at the expense of missing out on England winning the World Cup – then it’s currently 28/11/2014 in Ethiopia. Not only do they run seven to eight years behind us, they also have thirteen months in a year. Sadly a paucity of cricket to fill those months with, though about a decade back Cricinfo reported on a small Rastafarian migrant community who still played occasionally.

      9. Comprehensive analysis there, Bail-out. Thank you.

        The Gerry Anderson aspects are especially welcome in this household, where Thunderbirds has a special place in both our hearts. I’m looking forward to springing that factoid on Daisy when she least expects it.

  1. Only on this website could an article about cricket prompt a discussion referencing The Jetsons, Bucky O’Hare, Andi Peters, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, Defenders of the Earth and Back to the Future.

  2. Chapeau to APW for mentioning my favourite example – the one from Hitchhiker’s.

    I loved The Jetsons, but from memory that series is not set in space – it is set in the distant/not-too-distant-future – a future that, it seems, is now upon us. Go figure.

    Pieces set in the distant/not-too-distant future can rock, e.g. this Conchords one:

    The binary solo being very special.

    1. You are quite right, The Jetsons is not set in space. My confusion arose from a memory that they had a ‘Space Car’. Indeed, there was an episode called ‘The Space Car’.

      Summary:’ George and Jane are looking for a new flying car. Meanwhile, the bank robber, Knuckles Nuclear (and his woman partner), hides out at the Jetsons’ apartment. Problems arise when Henry Orbit’s old truck causes smoke in the garage, causing George and Jane to accidentally drive off in Knuckles Nuclear’s flying car with the stolen money, and the police are after them.’

      1. A mistake anyone might make in the circumstances, Sam.

        I forgive you.

        I’d forgive anyone who brought The Jetsons back to my mind today, distracting me from the almost unbearable tedium of preparing for a meeting with the auditors.

      2. Indeed, there were advanced plans for a cartoon telling of the lesser known classical story, Theseus & The Auditaur, in which the monster, half management, half bull, tries to evade the hero through labyrinthine protocols, ** spoiler alert **, only to be slain by the sheer strength of Theseus and the weight of his evidence.

        Sadly the film was never made. Ironically, the proposal couldn’t make it through the labyrinthine approval processes within any of the major studios…nor the minor ones.

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