Monday, 15 April 2013

Relegation issues

Continuing on from our mutterings regarding the pointlessness of drawing matches in division 2, the excellent blog, 99.94, thinks slightly differently and criticises the spinelessness of division 2 sides for failing to produce any positive results in last weeks matches. In all honesty, it's fairly lazy writing, as of the four games in division 2 last week, Hampshire very definitely would have won but for rain and Northants had Glamorgan by the throat. Both games had no play at all on the final day. Gloucestershire and Essex were locked together on a very placid pitch and Lancashire and Worcestershire looked fairly evenly poised. Both of these games also lost considerable time to the weather. So much for the negativity.

As we explained in an earlier post, there are only three points available for a draw, and therefore the only real benefit in playing for a draw is to prevent your opponents from gaining maximum points. With no relegation there really is nothing to be achieved by being conservative in division 2.

Yet 99.94 suggest that it might be about time to introduce promotion and relegation to division 2, with the minor counties being the beneficiaries. They argue that since the counties make no money from 4 day cricket it wouldn't be that much of a loss as long as they could still compete in the one day competitions.

Of course to say that losing out on 4 day cricket is purely a financial consideration is ridiculous. How would a county side relegated to minor county cricket expect to keep its players? If Gloucestershire had been relegated last season would the established pros hang about? And what about the youngsters? Would Chris Dent, James Fuller, Liam Norwell and David Payne, all pretty much regulars in the first XI be willing to suffer a season in minor county cricket as long as they could play in the one day competitions? It's unlikely. The result would be the ruin of the club.

Let's hope that the ECB at least realises this.

As for negativity, or "ducking the ruthlessness required for history" as 99.94 actually phrases it, perhaps this can be put down more to the lack of quality than anything else. Christ, we'd all love to have a bowler who sensed when it was time to go in for the kill and then actually had the skills to take 4 or 5 quick wickets. Until one of those bowlers comes along, we'll have to make do with 'negativity' masked as lack of quality.

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