The new structure of county cricket was announced last week which includes a shiny new English Premier League T20 tournament in the middle of the Summer and the Pro40 replaced by a T20 league. Broadly i am happy with the changes though there will need to be some work to differentiate between the 2 T20 competitions. Care will also need to be taken that T20 overkill does not occur.
The county championship has been left unchanged which is the most important thing for me, talk of 3 randomly drawn conferences sounded like a death of a 1000 cuts for the first class competition. Talk of city franchises would also have been the thin end of the wedge. I don't feel the British like artificial club franchises, they like clubs with history behind them even if they don't know anything much about the history (take the largely negative reaction to MK Dons for example). I am a Warwickshire CCC supporter, and although i might watch the Birmingham Barbarians (or whatever it would be) i wouldn't have the sense of history and memories i get from the Bears.
Ah the memories, that cup final won with a 4 off the last ball, the county championship glory years, Lara's 501, heroes like Dermot, almost getting hit by a 6 hit by Carts, getting sunburnt in the Raglan stand...
To be honest i became a cricket fan because of watching the Bears, on BBC2 on Sunday afternoons. But now to England. Darren Pattinson's call-up got a lot of criticism but he didn't do too badly. I suspect he was picked to have a look at him with the Ashes in mind. That is a problem with England though, they obsess too much about the Ashes when they should be concentrating on the matter at hand. I think the media and pundits have been a bit unfair on the lad and hopefully he'll have another chance one day.