So the ECB have decided to leave the Championship alone and with the same number of games as at present. Good news!
Firstly because we're a decent side at that game, but also because it is still (and in my eyes will always be) THE form of cricket. A match will ebb and flow but you get a good idea of who can play the game from 4-day cricket, rather than who can hit the ball hard and occasionally get lucky. I'm doing some good one-day players a disservice here, but I'll take 4-day cricket over hit and giggle any day.
Mind you, the news on the extension of the Twenty/20 to two north/south divisions was also a step in the right direction. Apart from the fact that there are more beatable sides in the south right now. The north group will presumably be Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire. No escape from the strong sides we've played thus far, but at least some different opposition which has to be a good thing. The matches will be played Thursday - Sunday evenings to maximise crowd potential, while there will be no restriction on the number of overseas players who can be registered, but there will be on how many can play. Methinks that there'll be little difference. I can't think Derbyshire will register players who they can't afford to simply watch matches.
The really good news is that we'll be getting Sunday cricket back. Yay! Slightly tempered by the fact that a 40-over competition may be made up of two 20-over innings per side. Why this fixation with 20 overs? There's nothing wrong with a 40 over game and if we're to lose 50 over cricket, its not that far removed as to make a major difference. I just hope that the ECB see sense and at least allow a one-day tournament that is not manic from ball one.
John Morris said recently that players were shattered after a 20-over game. Imagine how they'll feel after a weekly double 20-over bash! By all means retain 40-over cricket. If you read this blog regularly you'll know how I've always enjoyed it and regular Sunday afternoon cricket will attract fans. It is, after all, the one day of the week when most people can actually go. Let's just keep it to sensible proportions.
If the ECB are "dropping" plans for a second 20-over competition (also known as "the players don't want it and we can't get sponsors"), surely we don't need double twenty over games on a Sunday? Administrators eh? Don't you just love 'em? One option is apparently to have no limitation on bowlers. So we're sorted - just re-sign Langeveldt and let him bowl at one end all season...
Mind you, when I first read last night about a double innings 40-over competition I wondered what time they'd be starting and finishing. 160 overs in a day... now THAT'S value for money!
Onto other things - I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at Edgbaston after groundsman Steve Rouse's comments about the wickets there.
He said that he'd like to leave more grass on them to help the bowlers more but "they are scared of losing". "They" being Ashley Giles and his merry band, who effectively gained promotion last year by boring draws with batsmen feasting on featherbed tracks. Surely you have to back your players? If Derbyshire left more grass on the tracks (like we did in the Barnett era) I think we'd do well with our current seam attack, but we'd also be first to incur penalty points. Cynical? Moi?
Finally, I see Glamorgan have given Robert Croft a new 2-year contract, which is flexible "to allow him to coach and do promotional work". I think they're absolutely right as he is still a fine bowler. Just as long as they schedule promotional work for him for the duration of our games against them next year. Assuming we're not promoted, of course, when we'll be well out of his way.