Which 2022 cricket matches actually matter? The King Cricket Essentials Calendar

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There is an awful lot of cricket in any given year. Too much to focus on really. We’ve cut away the fat and picked out the big fixtures that we’re going to try and have more than half an eye on in the rest of 2022. You will disagree with some of our selections. We don’t care. You can make your own list.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time writing about fixture bloat and its various perils in recent weeks. Being both annoying and boring, it is not exactly a crowd-pleasing topic – so obviously we’re doing a feature on it too. We’ll hold that back for now though and instead try and pare back what’s happening so that we’re left with just the essentials.

The essentials

We’re not unaccustomed to sifting a sporting calendar. We’ve long done this with the road cycling race schedule, which is, against all odds, even more unwieldy than cricket’s. (As a brief measure of messiness, the heavily-filtered UCI World Tour – which is supposed to pick out only the very biggest events – features multiple overlapping races as well as several that no-one honestly gives a toss about.)

The main reason we do this, and the reason we’re repeating the exercise for cricket, is simply to organise our own brain. We’re not saying all other cricket matches should be binned or that nothing else matters. We’re just taking a look at the year ahead and trying to work out what we care about most.

There are obvious gaps. We daresay we’ll write at least one article in December, for example. We’ll probably cover some of England’s white ball cricket between the India Test and the South Africa ones too. These things are filler though, defined by their relationships to other things (upcoming Tests or the T20 World Cup).

We’re not against the IPL or the Hundred either. It’s just that – for us – they’re secondary fixtures. Both competitions climax when England have a Test match. This is where our attention will be, and so it’s harder to invest in these other tournaments earlier on. Conversely, while the meat of the County Championship clashes with Tests, a little window of attention opens up for it right at the very end the season. It’s a bit lucky to scrape in really.

Another reason for doing this

Another common refrain on this website is that a lot of matches don’t matter and we don’t care and we kind of wish those games weren’t being played. They drain players and injure them and quite honestly do little more than sap our enthusiasm for bigger games a lot of the time.

We’ve long thought it hypocritical of us to say there are too many matches at the same time as consuming them all. For as long as fans and media treat tinpot bilateral one-day series as proper, full-blown, stop-the-press international cricket, they’ll keep lining up more matches for us.

A lot of those series aren’t top level cricket. A lot of the time they feature B-teams. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting, but it does mean they’re different and maybe we need to make more effort to underline that distinction. We’ve been writing about these sorts of series less and less over the last year or so and explicitly highlighting the matches we DO care about is another step down that road.

Here’s the list. This is where you can expect our focus to be.

The King Cricket Essentials Calendar

March

Men

  • Sri Lanka in India, two Tests
  • Australia in Pakistan, three Tests
  • England in the West Indies, three Tests

March-April

Women

  • World Cup

April-May

Men

  • First six rounds of the County Championship

June

Men

  • New Zealand in England, three Tests

Women

  • South Africa in England, one Test

July

Men

  • India in England, one Test

August-September

Men

  • South Africa in England, three Tests
  • Last two rounds of the County Championship

October-November

Men

  • T20 World Cup

12 comments

    1. There was some warm-up or qualifier or other, I believe. This is the real deal and qualification is well underway. Ireland have had to start from the very bottom but they are almost there – one match away. Philippines were dismissed for 36 by Oman today, remarkably with no-one making a duck. Oman reached their target off just 17 balls, Nawaz with 33* (12) the only batter to truly get to grips with conditions.

  1. That’s still plenty. That’ll do.

    That combined with the richly detailed and frequent coverage of the most trivial cricketing things you’ve noticed, along with cricket-ignorant animals, will more than suffice thanks very much.

  2. Are you absolutely sure you don’t want to see London Spirit play the Manchester Originals at Lord’s on the evening of 8 August, KC?

    I ask only because I have just received an e-mail informing me that my members’ priority booking opens tomorrow morning and it is first come, first served for the guest tickets.

    Other than that, yours seems a perfectly sensible prioritised list to me.

    1. Thank you for your kind implicit offer. Having been a huge [googles] Grey-and-Blacks fan since day one, we are of course keen to go to every single game, except, maybe, some of the ones on Monday nights in cities at the other end of the country during the school holidays. Also some of the ones at this end of the country on other days of the week.

      Can we however please request that some sort of insult at our expense be included in any resulting match report as a consequence of the position we have taken on this matter?

      1. Beyond disappointed, KC.

        If I can bring myself to trudge along to Lord’s on my tod that evening and if I can then be arsed to report on a match that I’ll have witnessed in such solitary circumstances…

        …then maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel motivated to pen a string of invective against you, the like of which would, without a shadow of a doubt, make you wish that you had never been born.

        After all, that’s what friends are for.

  3. https://cricketeurope.com/DATABASE/ARTICLES2022/articles/000000/000091.shtml

    Here’s an interesting one for you. When Cricket Ireland makes a funding bid, they have to include their calendar for the year ahead. That’s got some fairly routine, administratively necessary stuff in it for working out how much it’s going to cost: where are they travelling to, how big a playing squad are they taking etc.

    But they also have to say WHAT’S A REALISTIC AMBITION IN EACH SERIES (some rather over-ambitious, some more modest – though even reaching the T20 super 12s turned out to be over-ambitious!) as well as HOW MUCH DO YOU ACTUALLY CARE. A series of 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is away to Zimbabwe in March/April? That’s merely a “preparation event”, since it didn’t come under the WCSL or affect world cup qualification. Whereas the reverse fixture in August did, so that one was marked “targeted (WCQ)”.

    Would be very interesting to see England’s equivalent planning. Though to be fair you can mostly work out how seriously they are taking an event from their squad announcements, and what target they thought was reasonable in the targeted events might be gauged – if and when they fail to meet it – by how many people get sacked afterwards…

    1. That would indeed be interesting.

      It’s a bit like our old gripe about how some media outlets treat all county cricket as being of equivalent standard, even though there’s a divisional structure. Not all international cricket is equal and we should probably make more effort to highlight that.

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