Name: Tom Holland
Date registered: December 1, 2016
- What English cricket can learn from Game of Thrones — December 1, 2016
If the ECB wants to emulate the success of Australia’s Big Bash and India’s IPL, the inspiration is staring them in the face: look at the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros
England is at once the most inventive and the most traditional of the cricket-playing nations. The country that invented overarm bowling, helmets and the professional limited-over tournament is also deeply protective of the sustenance to be gained from the sport’s rich past. The result is a tension that can all too often paralyse the ability of English cricket to exploit its own innovations. History both inspires and gets in the way.
What better current illustration of this than the failure of the ECB to propel Twenty20 cricket to the kind of box-office stratosphere that the IPL or the Big Bash have achieved? England hatched the goose, but the golden eggs have gone to India and Australia. The reason for this is as self-evident as it has – until now – appeared imponderable. Evidence conclusively suggests that the success of a T20 league depends upon a limited number of team franchises – which is why both the IPL and the Big Bash feature eight. In England, though, the County Championship boasts 18 clubs, all with their own deeply rooted identities, interests and loyalties – and these are not easily dissolved. What supporter of a proud and ancient club wants to see it retired in favour of some parvenu team, without romance, without record, without history?
Related: What cricket means to Yorkshire
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/the-nightwatchman/2016/dec/01/english-cricket-game-of-thrones-twenty20