We’re intrigued by the formality of cricket board requests. India have asked England if the whole of the upcoming Test series can be shunted forwards a week or alternatively whether the fifth Test, at Old Trafford, could be cancelled. But they’ve apparently only done this “informally”.
So it’s not an actual, official request. It’s just a thing that they want to happen, that they’ve actually asked for, that has been widely reported in newspapers.
It is a thing that is out there, as public knowledge, that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will have to respond to somehow or other. That response will also be public knowledge and will have some sort of impact on future relations between the two boards.
But – just to be clear – it isn’t an official request.
As we’re sure you’re aware, the reason the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wants to somehow finish the England Test series early is so that they can polish off the rest of the IPL in some empty stadiums somewhere in the world.
Ali Martin reports that the rest of the IPL is worth around £200m in telly money. Plus humanity presumably still needs people to play T20 cricket for it at some point or other.
Lord knows, we’re no expert in negotiations, but it strikes us that “please change every single Test match” is the ludicrous opening offer that lays the groundwork for face-saving supposed ‘compromise’. That “compromise” could well be the ditching of the Old Trafford Test.
You know the drill. The ECB says it held firm on tearing up its entire summer, but made this one small concession. “At least this way we’re only talking about disappointing tens of thousands of people who’ve bought tickets and planned a day out after 18 months stuck in their fucking houses,” says a spokesperson.
Or maybe they won’t do this. Maybe the ECB will hold firm. Maybe they’ll make room for the IPL by pushing the World T20 back again. We’ve already got one postponed World T20 queued up. Why not make it two?