The elimination of the England team from the cricket World Cup has been greeted with criticism across the media outlets. This is unfair when you consider the demographics. Except for the Brummie with the unfeasibly big beard, the English cricket team is drawn exclusively from male adults between the ages of 20 and 40 who were educated in public schools (even the Irish captain) and are not employed in London’s financial sector. That is 11 players from a maximum of 12000 people. Compare that to Australia with 5 million adult males to choose from and consider how many runs each team has scored in total so far in the competition. Based on runs per potential player, England are clearly the best team in the competition with Scotland, the West Indies and UAE not far behind. All we need to do in future is ensure all teams are selected on the same basis i.e. restricted to a small elite of otherwise unemployable people with wealthy parents.
Alternatively, we could seek to extend the reach of the game in England. At the moment huge amounts of money are spent on grassroots development projects with absolutely no impact. The reason is that the source of the funds (Sky TV) has removed cricket from what was already a tenuous place in popular culture. We would be better off with less money in a game with a higher profile. So the first step to levelling the playing field is giving all home tests to the BBC for free in return for a guarantee that they will be shown on BBC 1 and 2 and heavily promoted.
There is a concensus around the need for a big bash style T20 tournament. I propose a three week tournament without a break from four day county cricket. Playing every county game from Thursday to Sunday with T20 matches in the evenings over three weeks would maximise income and make players fitter and more adaptable. A 40 over one day competition could take place on Tuesdays through the season and be marketed at OAPs.
T20 is about large totals in close games. Therefore each county would be given £1 million (funded by selling the naming rights to the tournament) to spend on one additional batsman for the three week duration of the tournament. In this way, the likes of McCallum will boost scores, teams are less likely to be skittled for small totals (spoiling the game) and English bowlers will learn to deal with aggressive hitting.
Finally, open a cricket college as a secondary academy in each county in order to diversify the young people coming into the game. I think that sorts everything so I can now return to thinking about work.