Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cricket in the rain, and other travesties

There is something very special about a sporting event that commentators keep telling you is amazing.

T20 cricket is a nice idea, and I really do believe it has a place in the game. However, what I don't need is the 15,000 tonnes of marketing hype and bullshit that administrators, marketing suits and commentators feel the need to bring into the concept.

Between the Big Bash League describing certain teams as "rock stars" and Michael Slater doing everything but dropping to his knees and fellating David Warner during Australia's games versus India, as a cricket fan I'm actually being turned off the shortest form of the game.

Having watched a summer of fantastic cricket in which Australia rebuilt itself into a credible opposition and India, arguably, showed that it was on the downside of a short-lived golden era, the last thing I need is to be marketed at in regard to how good cricket can actually be.

The T20 cricket sell is a hard one anyone for people like me that regard it as little more than a glorified opposed net session, but without the nets. From the way that bowling and fielding is all but negated from the contest, to the gimmicky switch hitting. The players, who even die-hard cricket fans have never heard of, all of a sudden turn up representing their country and worst of all, the complete forgetability of every single contest.. the memories of a T20 match have a shelf life slightly less than the devastating effects of a dodgy kebab.

Channel 9 doesn't help at all.

From the constant yelling of their commentators during matches, the need to try and make up new terms for a game that is a couple of hundred years old, all the way to stupid concept like their "Money Ball Rating" in a sport where we have simple and established record keeping that already can tell you everything you need to know about a player's ability, it all comes off as hyperbolic marketing crap.

The people marketing T20 cricket will tell you that this form of the game is aimed at youngsters. Apparently kids like anything with bright colours and lots of yelling. The problem there is, cricket will need to wait 10-15 years before their new supporter base has the ability to make T20 cricket truly popular as a mainstream sporting choice.

Slightly older viewers such as myself (31) can seen through the rubbish and are horrified at what we see.

When a reported 60,000+ turned up at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night, the rain didn't stop tumbling down. Of course, the game went ahead, and was always going to go ahead. Administrators were never going to send that many people home without playing a match. So, we watched as cricket was played in the rain, something that hasn't happened in the past for a number of very good reasons.

The funny thing is, I don't think T20 cricket needs all of these bells and whistles. Just play the game. People aren't turning up to hear music playing and watch huge balls of fire being blasted off into the atmosphere. They aren't tuning in on television to hear commentators yelling or to hear that David Warner's 25 runs were "some of the most significant in cricket history."

If you want to sell this form of the sport with fluff, you're going to be very disappointed, because it won't work.

Cricket fans tune in to watch cricket and anyone that is tuning in for anything else will simply walk away at the first sign that someone is jingling some car keys in the next room.

The sooner administrators and broadcasters stop carrying on like a bunch of teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert, the better.

I'm trying to watch some cricket. Just let me watch the damn cricket!!!!

The glorious Leaguefreak is world famous on this site, and can be found on Twitter as well.

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