England director of cricket and former Test captain Andrew Strauss has come up with an interesting justification of the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB's) latest contribution to the game that has been dividing opinion recently.
The ECB announced last week that they will stage a cricket tournament in 2020 where matches will be 100 balls a side -- the current idea being proposed is that there will be 15 six-ball overs and one 'over' of 10 balls to end the innings. The Guardian newspaper called the proposed format 'Cricket for idiots'
According to a BBC.com report yesterday Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham have been selected as venues for the five-week competition, which will start in 2020 and it will run alongside the existing T20 Bash.
Many have been questioning why cricket needed a new format, especially as the 100-ball variety will only be 20 balls shorter than the hitherto shortest format, T20s. But Strauss has come up with a rationale -- the BBC quoted the former England Test captain as saying that it will be aimed at “mums and kids during the summer holidays.”
“What we're trying to do is appeal to a new audience, people that aren't traditional cricket fans,” said Strauss.
“We want to make the game as simple as possible for them to understand.”
In that regard, reinventing the 'over' may not be conducive to easier understanding, and one may even question Strauss's attitude towards the current generation of 'mums and kids' when previous generations had managed understanding the game just fine.
He however took the cake with the last bit of rationalisation: “T20 has become a longer and longer format of the game. It is more than four hours in a lot of parts of the world.
“We want kids to be able to go to bed earlier and it is worth saying it is going to be on terrestrial TV. We want the more casual audience.”
The ECB seems to be taking their Corporate Social Responsibility a touch too far.