Warming to the One Day Cup
While the old Sunday League provided an introduction to live cricket when I was a young boy, my relationship with the longer formats of one day cricket has somewhat wained in recent years.
Twenty20 provided a bombastic, easy to swallow version of the game. County and Test cricket provided the purest form. All of my needs were fulfilled and 50 over cricket left me somewhat cold as a result.
Perhaps it was the seemingly endless ODIs, each of which felt more meaningless than the last. Or maybe the relative inaccessibility of the One Day Cup, with Tuesday games incompatible with a day job and a 90-minute drive to the nearest County ground.
But I must confess, in the last 72-hours things have begun to change.
On Sunday afternoon I watched Somerset snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against defending champions Gloucestershire, on Monday Michael Lumb and Rikki Wessels put on a masterclass for Nottinghamshire, underpinning a mammoth total of 445 in the allowed 50 overs. A truly stunning effort on its own, but for opponents Northants to then post 425 in reply was breathtaking.
On the flip side, Worcestershire, a young and exciting team but a club who have suffered at the hands of the weather in recent years, toppled Yorkshire today – a club which looked borderline unbeatable at times during the previous two campaigns.
Derbyshire, not exactly a fashionable County however you dress it up, were also victorious.
The One Day Cup is proving to be a competition anyone really can win, and not just another tin pot for the big dogs to fight over.
Along side this up turn in play on the field, regular updates from other games appear on social media, video clips accompany many Tweets and commentary is available online for almost every game.
Many of these factors are not new. Twitter has been around for years, highlight videos were frequently published during or after games and quality radio commentary has been available for some time now.
Perhaps it is simply the next step in that evolution. The ECB seem to have made a conscious effort to up their social media game this year, making the competition more accessible for all, while the ability to listen online or, for those with a Sky subscription, watch from almost anywhere help to make games more accessible.
The promotion of that coverage has also stepped up a notch, raising awareness among the masses.
Is it ideal? No, it’s still a work in progress. The aforementioned video clips are often limited to cameras behind the bowlers arm, meaning spectacular catches and athletic moments in the field are ‘missed’. But it’s a start.
The influence of Twenty20 cricket again rearing its head as teams attempt to chase larger and larger scores. It makes for more exciting games and those games are being pushed much more effectively than they might have been in years past.
Maybe the One Day Cup really does deserve our attention. Maybe I am learning to love it after all.