When 1.3 billion people stand-still and lay numb over the possible cancellation of the 13th season of the Indian Premier League, there stood people still reluctant to agree that this summer might be well over. Typically, English summer is the perfect time for cricket, starting with the county.
The still-magical county cricket kicks off the long-English cricketing summer, one that is the only kind that is seen in the county, amidst the otherwise dull and lacklustre weather conditions. Not that it is not going to be a major player during the summer but its appearance would rather be marginal. So when coronavirus affected the entire world and brought the entire sporting world to an abrupt end, all eyes were on the IPL and what would happen? Rightly so, it was delayed till April 15 giving the BCCI a window of opportunity to call in the think-tank together.
But, far away from India, in the place where Commonwealth was more than just a bank, England, cricket would wither away. The bubbly and charming county-season would be ‘derailed,’ cricketers, camps and all of that would cease to a halt. One that seems to be heading in the zones of ‘deferred indefinitely.’ In a cricketing calendar which has the biggest event for T20 cricket ‘T20 World Cup,’ surely but certainly, the county season does not hold much relevance right? Yes, it does not, for England’s T20 plans, three tournaments in the next three months would be significant - the IPL, Vitality Blast and The Hundred itself.
While one is out of the frame at the moment - the IPL, the others will be quintessential, the last stop-gap before the T20 World Cup in Australia. Next in line, ‘The Hundred,’ notoriously known for its famous backlash, which has caught the English summer by hatred. Well backlash, because the tournament was set to be played over 100 deliveries, with a lot of chops from cricket itself. While Andrew Strauss and co came out, calling that the tournament is for the youth, the average age of a cricket fan in the country is 50.
But now, after two years of planning and a year of putting those plans in play, the tournament was set to finally come to play. But, guess what? It has been ruined, or potentially ruined thus far by the virus. The 13th edition of the IPL, we know, is far from reality and the ‘The Hundred’ is looking the distant moon to be in contention for a start. To make it more intriguing, they have already spent around 180 million pounds just in planning the entire thing out, in over a year and little. It involves eight-franchises, or better say - eight cities that they deemed necessary, with the draft and the entirety of the player-set being already decided - etched on the wall.
It has some of the ‘big names,’ in English cricket and by that I mean it, it even has some of the biggest names in World Cricket barring India. David Warner, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson have all signed up for it, yet when it comes to national team selection, none of the above three would be banking on the tournament.
Sadly, it would be the Bantons, Malans and the Vinces would all be wanting to bank on the tournament for a place in the national team. While Tom Banton did show what is he capable of in the Australian Big Bash, it was his other side which was exposed. The side which was a batsman, who has the potential to becoming a T20 rockstar but at the same time could only play a handful of deliveries. Such was his bearings from the Big Bash, that made him wonder if he would get a few more opportunities.
And, luckily he was picked in the IPL auction, which sadly is now put to a hold. On top of that, he is also in The Hundred, a form of cricket, which suits him more than the others. The only motive here being - see the ball, hit the ball, land it on the roof. Three things that Banton is more than capable of, with not needing to play an innings that has to go on till the 17th or the 18th over of the innings.
For Malan, he has already shown what he is capable of, but listen he still needs to play well in both the 100 ball competition and the Vitality Blast. But, given that cricket is never seeing the light, it seems like their flights to Australia are seemingly put on hold. And, Vince, oh he does need another go before the tournament, but at the moment, he really can’t be seeming to get enough chances. England’s World Cup plans certainly had these two tournaments in its chart - moreso with them in ‘bold,’ because ‘home-tournaments.’
But, despite all of this, all these planning, if it has to start all over again, don’t blame it on the people that there is an increase in the number of people opposing it. This long-break does that to one-self, and by the time we do reach the second season - which incidentally also is the first - everyone suddenly puts on a grim figure. On top of all of this, draft prices for the first two-rounds were somewhere around the ball-park of 125,000 pounds, with 30,000 being the lowest.
Well, simple economics - if the tournament does not go through, the contracts will not go through and the pay, oh that is obvious. Remember, all of this is going on when the tournament is facing all kinds of chin-musics and what not from the English fans, I,e faithful. With all of this, years of planning, going into this new-format tournament will once again be in shambles or fruitful, depending on whichever lens you are looking at it from. It is going to be like the exams, where you are well prepared for, yet due to unforeseen circumstance, it all goes to ruins.
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