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Old 25th August 2017, 13:55   #201
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There's a lot to like about how Worcestershire go about their business. From an outsider I'd like to see them go up. Partly just because I'd like to see how Joe Clarke fares in the top division.
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Old 25th August 2017, 15:15   #202
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There's a lot to like about how Worcestershire go about their business. From an outsider I'd like to see them go up. Partly just because I'd like to see how Joe Clarke fares in the top division.
I think there's also much to like about Northants.

With very limited resources they have challenged across all three formats in recent years, winning the Blast in 2013 and 2016. Still very much in the promotion hunt.

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Old 25th August 2017, 16:14   #203
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I think there's also much to like about Northants.

With very limited resources they have challenged across all three formats in recent years, winning the Blast in 2013 and 2016. Still very much in the promotion hunt.
Yes, it's surprising how Northants still manage to compete in four day cricket because since Ripley took over he's changed their practice and coaching schedule from a 50/50 split between red and white ball to 80/20 in favour of white ball skills.

I guess the answer is that the standard of Div Two is very low. Agnew was scathing about the quality of county cricket on TMS at lunchtime and blamed the technical inadequacy of England's top five (Cook and Root apart) on the poor standard of the CC.

He then said that bastsmen had no motivation to improve their technique because they could get away with therir technical flaws against the poor calibre of county bowling, "particularly in division two" .
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Old 25th August 2017, 16:37   #204
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There's a lot to like about how Worcestershire go about their business. From an outsider I'd like to see them go up. Partly just because I'd like to see how Joe Clarke fares in the top division.
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Old 25th August 2017, 17:15   #205
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I guess the answer is that the standard of Div Two is very low. Agnew was scathing about the quality of county cricket on TMS at lunchtime and blamed the technical inadequacy of England's top five (Cook and Root apart) on the poor standard of the CC.

He then said that bastsmen had no motivation to improve their technique because they could get away with therir technical flaws against the poor calibre of county bowling, "particularly in division two" .
Wasn't the Championship split into two divisions with the precise intention of raising standards? To improve what had apparently become a complacent and uncompetitive event during the 80s and 90s....when Agnew played in it?
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Old 25th August 2017, 18:11   #206
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Wasn't the Championship split into two divisions with the precise intention of raising standards? To improve what had apparently become a complacent and uncompetitive event during the 80s and 90s....when Agnew played in it?
Indeed - and he was saying it hasn't worked.

I think we all know what the next move will be - three divisions of six with only one up and one down, reducing the CC to ten matches per side and with the likes of Leics/Derbys/Northants/Glos permanently maroon in a third tier that is only semi-pro.
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Old 25th August 2017, 18:31   #207
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Indeed - and he was saying it hasn't worked.

I think we all know what the next move will be - three divisions of six with only one up and one down, reducing the CC to ten matches per side and with the likes of Leics/Derbys/Northants/Glos permanently maroon in a third tier that is only semi-pro.
I've been sounding off about that for years. I shall pass the same prophesy as I made twenty years ago when I said that two divisions would definitely impact adversely on the fabric of county cricket but would not definitely improve the overall standard of the domestic f-c game. It's as futile as the attempts to tinker with the FA Cup in an effort to reestablish its once mighty profile - the influences of the wider domestic and international scenes have to be considered.
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Old 25th August 2017, 18:40   #208
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By what method does one measure this "standard"?
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Old 25th August 2017, 18:42   #209
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By what method does one measure this "standard"?
Anything that happens after you turn 30 is rubbish.
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Old 25th August 2017, 18:54   #210
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By what method does one measure this "standard"?
On a more serious note, it can be measured to some extent by quality of technique on show. But that doesn't necessarily mean the results are of an inferior standard.

I think we can without question say that the present Championship is of an inferior standard to that of the 1970s and 1980s simply because that period featured a kaleidoscope of top class Test players covering every facet of the game. But I'm not sure whether I could state that the CC is better today than in 1999, or vice versa. Certainly, specific skills are poorer overall (spin bowling, wicket-keeping, batting to save games) but others are much improved (dominant batting, fielding). But, again...are these changes down to the Championship and its structure - or 'outside' influences?
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Old 25th August 2017, 20:02   #211
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I think we can without question say that the present Championship is of an inferior standard to that of the 1970s and 1980s simply because that period featured a kaleidoscope of top class Test players covering every facet of the game. But I'm not sure whether I could state that the CC is better today than in 1999, or vice versa. Certainly, specific skills are poorer overall (spin bowling, wicket-keeping, batting to save games) but others are much improved (dominant batting, fielding). But, again...are these changes down to the Championship and its structure - or 'outside' influences?
Yes. In other words, the traditional red ball skills not valued in T20 cricket (spin bowling, wicket-keeping, batting to save games, picking the right ball to hit, consistent line and length bowling) have declined - and the white ball skills that drive T20 (fast scoring, ramp shots and 360 degree hitting, spectacular fielding, bowling variations such as wide yorkers and slow ball bouncers etc ) have improved.

T20's hegemony over professional cricket has only just started. It's dominance over the game is only going to increase further. You can moan and complain about that, but you are not going to reverse the tide. You're only going to make yourself miserable and grumpy. So one might as well go with it and enjoy it the best one can.

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Old 25th August 2017, 20:13   #212
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On a more serious note, it can be measured to some extent by quality of technique on show. But that doesn't necessarily mean the results are of an inferior standard.

I think we can without question say that the present Championship is of an inferior standard to that of the 1970s and 1980s simply because that period featured a kaleidoscope of top class Test players covering every facet of the game. But I'm not sure whether I could state that the CC is better today than in 1999, or vice versa. Certainly, specific skills are poorer overall (spin bowling, wicket-keeping, batting to save games) but others are much improved (dominant batting, fielding). But, again...are these changes down to the Championship and its structure - or 'outside' influences?
Drop down to the Minor Counties So77. You'll see those qualities you have listed, particularly spin bowling.
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Old 25th August 2017, 21:08   #213
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Yes. In other words, the traditional red ball skills not valued in T20 cricket (spin bowling, wicket-keeping, batting to save games) have declined - and the white ball skills that drive T20 (fast scoring, spectacular fielding) have improved.

T20's hegemony over professional cricket has only just started. It's dominance over the game is only going to increase further. You can moan and complain about that, but you are not going to reverse the tide. You're only going to make yourself miserable and grumpy. So one might as well go with it and enjoy it the best one can.
...and no better way than with Stars v Lightning in Kennington tomorrow. I'm so rad, I watch the girls' version.

Of course, the limited overs influence began well before the advent of T20. It's not merely the changes to technique but the whole shift of priorities. The big claim in the 1990s was that the Championship had lost its competitive edge, hence the need for promotion and relegation. In fact, it was the whole domestic scene that had changed. In 1957, if you sought domestic success, there was only one way to obtain it - by doing well in the Championship. By 1997, there were three other competitions in which clubs and players could succeed so it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise if players weren't quite so hell bent on CC success as Brian Sellers and Stuart Surridge were. By the end of last century, most clubs fielded at least a couple of players in their regular teams that weren't really full f-c quality but could do an excellent job in the short stuff. Glos embraced this in team form.

I've written before on here of the number of times I've witnessed a team in trouble during a CC game - eg following on 275 behind - make seemingly no effort whatsoever to save the match. The aim often appears to get the whole sorry charade over and done with in 3 days to grab a vital day off. And, in a packed season, with bigger prizes up for grabs, I can understand a policy of "Give up the lost cause, rest, lick wounds, fight another day". Taking a f-c beating from your local rivals is no longer a big downer in a season.

Ironically, the shift to two divisions might have had the effect of making the CC less competitive. At least in the 1990s, with a fair smattering of overseas players still spread throughout the shires, there wasn't much of a gulf between teams. Leics and Glamorgan both won the Championship while Northants went close. Often, a club finishing in the bottom four one year would be challenging for honours the next. Now, as you suggest, there exists a group of clubs anchored at the basement of Div Two with little hope of any imminent improvement. The increasing drift of talent from the smaller to bigger clubs was always an intention of the divided league. The CC is beginning to resemble its 1920s version when certain teams went years without winning games and were the permanent whipping boys for the bigger teams.

I'm not actually complaining that the CC is poor. I still believe it's sufficiently competitive, regularly gripping and full of highly talented players. Of course, it can never again be of such a towering standard and be so excitingly diverse as it was back in the Golden Age when I was growing up. But it's still the best thing in sport.
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Old 25th August 2017, 23:47   #214
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Yes. In other words, the traditional red ball skills not valued in T20 cricket (spin bowling, wicket-keeping, batting to save games, picking the right ball to hit, consistent line and length bowling) have declined ...
Isn't that bad news for England's test match prospects?
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Old 26th August 2017, 09:41   #215
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Isn't that bad news for England's test match prospects?
Not really because every other country is in the same boat.

It's bad news for spectators wanting to watch the fifth day of Test matches because fewer and fewer games these days seem to get that far and draws are almost non-existent!
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Old 27th August 2017, 10:22   #216
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You can moan and complain about that, but you are not going to reverse the tide. You're only going to make yourself miserable and grumpy. So one might as well go with it and enjoy it the best one can.
Largely I agree. Go and watch some T20, women's cricket, Minor Counties, 2nd XI. Visit a ground you've never been to before. Watch cricket in March, April and through to the end of September, that being something that one didn't used to have the opportunity to do.

We're fortunate to live in an era with the possibilities to do all this, and at cricket grounds that are in better shape than they have ever been.
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Old 27th August 2017, 10:55   #217
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Largely I agree. Go and watch some T20, women's cricket, Minor Counties, 2nd XI. Visit a ground you've never been to before. Watch cricket in March, April and through to the end of September, that being something that one didn't used to have the opportunity to do.

We're fortunate to live in an era with the possibilities to do all this, and at cricket grounds that are in better shape than they have ever been.
Yeah, maybe not Canterbury.
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Old 27th August 2017, 11:00   #218
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Largely I agree. Go and watch some T20, women's cricket, Minor Counties, 2nd XI. Visit a ground you've never been to before. Watch cricket in March, April and through to the end of September, that being something that one didn't used to have the opportunity to do.

We're fortunate to live in an era with the possibilities to do all this, and at cricket grounds that are in better shape than they have ever been.
All very well to suggest watching cricket in March, April and September...But cricket didn't develop as a summer game for no reason - it is often cold or wet (or both) the closer you get to Spring or Autumn.

I would also question whether Womens, Minor Counties & 2nd XI cricket will win over new supporters for the game (and not everyone will be able to watch the City franchise competition, either due to where they live or because it won't be on free-to-view tv). Nor can/will all supporters be so keen to travel to new grounds due to cost/time etc.

I'd love to be optimistic about the future of the game, but I'm not.
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Old 27th August 2017, 11:29   #219
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All very well to suggest watching cricket in March, April and September...But cricket didn't develop as a summer game for no reason - it is often cold or wet (or both) the closer you get to Spring or Autumn.

I would also question whether Womens, Minor Counties & 2nd XI cricket will win over new supporters for the game (and not everyone will be able to watch the City franchise competition, either due to where they live or because it won't be on free-to-view tv). Nor can/will all supporters be so keen to travel to new grounds due to cost/time etc.

I'd love to be optimistic about the future of the game, but I'm not.
As you know there are a lot of developments that I am not happy about, notably Franchise. I'm not a fan of Franchise, but it's coming and we will have to live with it.

The make-up of the domestic cricket season has changed dramatically. It has been a creeping change, but staging first-class cricket throughout April and September, and now even in the last days of March, is one of the most radical changes the game has seen.

Personally I think September is one of the best months of all for going to cricket matches.
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Old 28th August 2017, 11:24   #220
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Yay! Proper cricket returns today. C'mon, you Kent.
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