At what price?
Too expensive and too much of it... Bumble says fans and players aren't happy with the cost of cricket.
Last Updated: 28/07/10 12:09pm
My Twitter page has been in meltdown all week.
Twitter is an excellent medium for people to express their views, but I've never had a response like I've had in the last few days. I've never known so many people upset about the same issue.
That issue is the ridiculous price of tickets for cricket matches.
After the disappointing crowds for the neutral Test between Pakistan and Australia I raised the question and people have been Tweeting in their droves. It seems people are not prepared to pay the astronomical prices they are being charged.
Six days later and the problem became apparent again when I arrived at a deserted Edgbaston for the Twenty20 Cup quarter-final between Warwickshire and Hampshire. One chap told me it was £10 last year, but £25 this year. What's the difference?
People feel like they're being taken for a ride, especially when it comes to Twenty20. With so many matches being played, people simply can't afford to attend them all in this economic climate, especially if they're taking kids along.
Also, once you're in the grounds you end up paying a premium for food and drink. I ended up talking about the price of hot dogs with a total stranger in the toilets at the County Ground on Tuesday (don't ask me why...) and we discussed that a pie at Lord's costs six quid! This bloke just wasn't having it.
I don't pay to get in to cricket matches. I'm just repeating the overwhelming concerns of the people I speak to. Perhaps the ECB and the counties should have a look at my Twitter page to see how the people feel about this.
It's not just the fans, who are unhappy. I've been speaking to a couple of disgruntled players as well. They shall of course remain nameless.
These players had a couple of complaints about the Twenty20 season. First of all, the length of the boundaries have been ridiculous at some grounds. These guys are aspiring to be international cricketers, but international one-day cricket is not played on 55-yard boundaries!
The Twenty20 World Cup was played on 70-75 yard boundaries and the county players want to mirror that at domestic level. Both batsmen and bowlers want to see them extended because in some places they are far too short. There needs to be more uniformity.
Secondly, they're telling me that the amount of cricket that's being played is ludicrous. There's simply too many matches.
At Edgbaston, Neil Carter walked out to bat and our statistician said: "He'll be in good form; he got 100 in a Pro 40 match last night." Why are we asking our players to perform day after day?
Look at the example of Lancashire. They finished their Twenty20 quarter-final at 11.30pm on Tuesday and now face a three-hour coach journey to Hampshire to start a four-day game on Thursday. It's ludicrous.
Players need time to prepare and to get their bodies right to perform at the highest level and they can't do that when they've got a game every other day.
I've written about this issue on numerous occasions, but forget my opinions. These are the views of the players.
The fans aren't happy. The players aren't happy. Shouldn't someone be listening?
Bright young things
I'm now heading to Trent Bridge for the first Test, where Pakistan will be on a high after their win over Australia at Headingley.
I think that was as much down to Australia's weaknesses as much as Pakistan's strengths, but I do like the look of the young team that will take on England this week.
England will come up against a very good attack, although I think the hosts are slightly stronger in that department thanks to a superior spinner. I also feel England have a stronger batting line-up and I expect them to win this series 3-0 or 4-0 depending on the weather.
I say that with no disrespect to Pakistan at all. They have an exciting young side, but are simply coming up against a very good England team.
Somehow Pakistan have stumbled on the right formula; I like the two Akmals and I think captain Salman Butt is a good player. So even if they lose this series I just hope they stick with this team and try to introduce some stability to their cricket.
Every time Pakistan lose a match there seems to be a load of nonsense with players getting banned and some army general sticking his nose in for no apparent reason.
Let them get on with it and get rid of the old guys like Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan; leave them out of things and let the new breed take the country forward.
If they're looking for a model to follow, just look at England; Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss were not afriad to move forward and have demonstrated the importance of stability and continuity in a side.
Things won't turn around overnight and they'll lose some cricket matches along the way - but the future could be very bright if Pakistan stick with these promising players.
As a music fan, I think I was in Chelmsford at the wrong time.
They've got the V Festival coming up with the brilliant Seasick Steve as well as Pixie Lott and the Pet Shop Boys (not exactly my cup of tea but they have written some good tunes in their time).
And then in October it's all about the wrinklies when Chelmsford plays host to Herman's Hermits, The Tremeloes and Union Gap (although I don't think Gary Puckett is involved any more).
They were packing them in at the County Ground and with all this great music coming to town, these are good times for the People's Republic of Chelmsford!