Great innovation lacks stardust

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2010 at 7:10 pm

It’s still March, and the English cricket season is already up and running, thanks to the MCC. They have decided to shift the traditional season opener between the county champions (Durham) and the MCC to Abu Dhabi, UAE, in a day night game under floodlights and using a pink cricket ball.

Congratulations to the MCC for this imaginative innovation, especially the courageous decision to forsake the traditional season’s opener at Lords in London. By moving the game to the UAE, and bringing the match forward a few weeks, it has raised the profile of the contest significantly and helped get people in England thinking about the domestic season ahead.

That is why the MCC team selection for this match is such a huge disappointment.  Isn’t this supposed to be an all-star team of emerging talents? Won’t the MCC game give the England selectors something to think about? Not really, going on this line up:

MCC XI: Alex Gidman (capt), Scott Newman, David Sales, Dawid Malan, James Taylor, James Foster (wk), James Middlebrook, Tim Murtagh, Steve Kirby, Jon Lewis, Dean Cosker

James Taylor, the young player of the year, and the brilliant wicket keeper James Foster, plus the hard hitting Dawid Malan all stand out. But a  bowling attack of Cosker (Glamorgan, 32-years-old), Murtagh (Surrey, 28), Kirby (Lancs, 32) and Lewis (Glos, 34) does not spell ‘showtime’ to me. No wonder the BBC described this prestigious event as a ‘warm-up’. Ouch.

Clearly, the real all-stars are back-to-back champs Durham. Aside from the pink ball, it would be exciting to think that this game will best be remembered for the first class debut of Ben Stokes, Durham’s young all-rounder, batting at number six. The bowling and batting performance of Stokes at the ICC Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand  this winter (and yes, he is English) put this observer in mind of that big Lancastrian all-rounder chap…See any similarities?

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