What is going on in terms of cricket this summer?

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You played cricket last weekend and you liked it. You’re suddenly interested in the sport. You want to know what the professionals are doing. Here’s our cut-out-and-throw-away guide to the clean, simple, straightforward cricketing fixture list this summer.

First of all the County Championship started. This is in two divisions, but many people treat the two equally, because it’s all first-class cricket. Matches are played over four days and start on pretty much any day of the week. Never try and guess when a match starts. You will always be wrong.

In between County Championship fixtures in this early part of the season, counties play the Friends Provident Trophy. This is a 50-over competition with the counties divided into four groups/leagues. The winners of the four groups go through to semi finals which are played a couple of months later when everyone’s forgotten what 50-over cricket is.

At the same time as all this, the Indian Premier League took place in South Africa. This was a 20 over competition and the team that finished fourth won it.

Also at the same time as this, England played a Test series against the West Indies. This tour was a replacement for a Sri Lankan tour which itself was a replacement for a Zimbabwe tour. It was best of two Tests and England won both matches, reclaiming the trophy they’d lost a few weeks earlier in a best of four Test series.

Next, the County Championship was put on hold in favour of the Twenty20 Cup. The counties play group stages, which take the form of three regional leagues. There are matches pretty much every day and every side plays every other side in their league once. Currently everyone’s taken a break and returned to the County Championship for two fixtures.

After two four day matches, it’s back to Twenty20 for the rest of the league phase. The top teams in these leagues will go through to the quarter finals, at which point the tournament becomes a knock-out. This stage of the tournament is played a month later when everyone’s forgotten what 20 over cricket is.

Alongside all this, the Twenty20 World Cup is being played. We’re not going to tell you anything about this, because we’re getting bored and there’s still a lot to get through.

In July, County Championship matches are separated by Pro40 matches. The Pro40 is a 40-over competition which is so pointless, it was cancelled last year, but it’s limping on through 2009 presumably thanks to some contractual obligation to sponsors. Next year it’s being replaced by P20 which will be a 20-over league. We’re guessing it’ll be a league with a cup finish as opposed to a cup with a league group stage, but who knows/cares.

Internationally, England play the Ashes, which is something everyone can get their head around. After that massive high point, they’ll then play two Twenty20 internationals against the same opposition and then SEVEN one-day internationals which no-one can possibly care about.


What a fucking shambles. What a real, world-class, title-taking shambles.


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  1. Makes sense to me, now that you’ve explained it properly, KC.

    Many thanks for the enlightenment.

  2. Some might say TLDR to this – others might add GHVE – but this is a cracking post.

    Top work KC.

  3. This really does sum up the English cricket season very well. The ECB and ICC really combine well to form an exceptionally inept couple.
    Can any other national or world organisation come close to this? With the exception of the UK government I doubt it.

  4. Can I just say that this is the best post you’ve ever done (bar the Rob Key ones obviously)?

    I had an urge to stand up and applaud when this popped into my inbox this morning.

  5. Seconded, Mr Charlton and Mel. I was trying to explain the county cricket season to a friend recently, and got no further than, “well, at the moment they’re playing the Friends Prov- no, wait, I think it’s … hang on, when do they start … uh … actually I have no idea what’s going on. It’s best to just take it as it comes.”

    After reading this I still have no idea, but no longer feel that it’s my fault.

  6. Is this why it’s so hard for me to find people to go to the SuperEights with me with my spare World Twenty20 tickets? You’re all cricket-fatigued already?

  7. Gosh, can this really be the first time I’ve posted here in over a month?

    Mims, if I were closer to The Big Smoke, I’d have taken you up as soon as I saw your Facebook status. To everyone who’s turned you down, SHAME ON YOU!

  8. Brillian post, KC.

    Thought for some time that I was going mad as the only person in the country who felt the red mist descending every time I looked at the fixtures.

    Perhaps we could set up a support group meeting regualarly with a 12 step programme to deal with the shakes, the whimpering etc caused by the crazy scheduling?

    And looking at the fixtures this week, can we give a prize to the ECB schedulers who have created the mix of matches on at the moment?

    Today, we had;

    3 Division 1 matches Day 2

    1 Division 1 match Day 1

    2 Division 2 matches Day 2

    2 Division 2 matches Day 1

    1 University match Day 1 (of 3)

    There’s nothing like keeping the product simple and easy to follow……and this is nothing like keeping the product simple and easy to understand!

    How come it wasn’t possible to schedule a day/night match which could have crossed the 12am midnight timeline just to add even further complexity to it all? Then we could have a match Div 1, Day 2 and 3.

    1. There’s room for a couple of one-dayers in there too. There’s too much consistency of format.

  9. Wake up.

    Rub eyes.

    Contemplate moving, even getting up.

    It’s Sunday. Probably a few CB40 games going on?

    After all, the ECB did say in 2010 that they wanted to use this League to recreate the ‘Sunday is 40 over’ day just like the Player’s County League did back in 1969.

    Check the fixtures.

    Yes, there is cricket; County Championship Cricket!

    Of course, how silly of me.

    I’d forgotten that the schedule is designed to keep us on our toes, not to provide and understandable and easy to remember a schedule based on a system that our limited brains can accomodate.

    When will the next CB40 games be?

    Probably in about 13 days time at 11.00pm at night somewhere up country with the cars in the car park required to keep their headlights on becasue flood-light vans cannot get up the grass track leading to the ground.

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