It is a fantastic achievement for the England cricket team to be crowned as the world's best Test playing nation. Some question marks remain over the side's ability to win consistently on the Subcontinent but let that not detract from what has been a glorious summer of great individual performances and consistently high achievement for the team. To whitewash the top team, India, over four matches and to capture their crown demonstrated the fact that England are the real deal and deserve all the plaudits they are getting at the moment.
The only problem with England's moment of glory is the question of how many people, and young people in particular, actually got to watch England's triumph? Since the suits who run English cricket sold the game's soul to Sky several years ago, most of us have had to satisfy ourselves with odd snatches of action in brief highlights packages in the evening. At the moment the highlights are consigned to Channel 5, a station you couldn't even receive in large swathes of the country until the digital switch over. Gone are the days when the nation's sports fans could gather round their T.V.s on an afternoon to celebrate an Ashes victory. Now the great game played over five days (that's the idea even if India seem to have forgotten) is reduced to three minute news packages and 45 minutes on the Big Brother channel.
I will be interested to see what the viewing figures are for this summer's Test matches. That will be of little concern to the money men at English cricket's HQ as they bank the subscription T.V. dosh. But how many youngsters will be heading into the garden or down to the local park to emulate their cricketing heroes if they never get to watch them play? Who will be inspired to become the next Cook, Prior or Anderson? It is one thing to put some money back into the grass roots game for those already in local clubs. It is a much greater challenge to attract potentially gifted future cricketers if they have never seen and grown to love the game in the first place.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
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