Friday, 7 November 2008


In the Guardian last week, there was a piece by cricket writer Moss,S rather predictably excoriating 20/20 cricket, particularly when turned into fun by Indians or fiananced in the West Indies (where, were Joel Garner growing up today, he would be playing basketball) by American millionaires. You can read it here.This prompted a couple of interesting letters last Saturday, which you can read here.

Here's my reply to the first of those letters (equally unsurprisingly, unpublished):

John Dallman (letters 1/11) makes two errors of fact and as a result one of supposition in his theory of Allen Stanton's motives in spending $100 million on cricket. He claims baseball is not a major sport outside the United States. In fact, it is the most popular sport in Japan, Cuba, Taiwan, Venezuela, and several other countries, and its list of first-class nations compares very favourably with either cricket's or rugby's. He also apparently has never heard of the next most important American team sports, basketball, whose reach, if not impact, surpasses football, and ice hockey, whose reach is worldwide among winter sports nations.

This ignorance leads Dallman to conclude Stanton sees a market for cricket as an international sport in the US. If soccer, hugely successful in the US as a participant sport, and for the US in international play, cannot attract a public either at the stadium or on television, why would any sane businessman conclude that the US public is desperate for America v India cricket matches?

Perhaps a better motive might be that Stanton, like me, simply enjoys the game, which is basically baseball played in two dimensions, or three if time counts as a dimension. But if I am wrong and Dallman is right, I would happily accept a small portion of Stanton's $100 million to lead cricket's assault on my native land.

In reality, I'm afraid David Fine's letter the same day is more apposite. In a few years English cricket's paleolithic rulers will no doubt be staging their own 20/20 tourney at Lords. It will be sponsored by the UK taxpayer, whose money will have been channelled to Lords via the bailouts of merchant banks, all of whose traders will sip free champagne in their luxury boxes while cursing arrivistes like Stanton for spoiling their game.

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