To Chelmsford on Sunday for the first round of the new CB40 (Clydesdale Bank) competition qualifying game Essex versus Yorkshire. Previously known as the Pro40 this was a competition that everyone thought was going to die a death last year but received a last minute reprieve.
On Sunday’s showing it still has quite a bit of working out to do.
Building on the success of 2020 you can feel the CB40 being promoted as twice the value, twice the fun – but in reality it feels like a competition which has yet to find its natural place and rhythm.
2020 prides itself on its speed and the all round entertainment offer. In the not so old days die hards would call these gimmicks – but the success of 2020 across the cricketing world and especially competitions like the Indian Premiere League – have taken the gimmicks to such a level that the word seems totally out of place.
Which is why the 4040 seemed on Sunday a little confused. Yes there was music playing when a wicket fell, or a boundary was hit – but whoever was pressing play seemed to be snoozing quite a lot and hence missed several cues. Yes there were free hits after front foot no balls but you’d be hard pressed to have noticed early on. Yes there were power plays – but there were also considerable periods of snooze play – when the game was merely developing in the wonderful way cricket does. Yes there were mascots at the start – but then they disappeared from view. Apparently there was even 4 and 6’s cards but none were obvious in the crowd – and I’m not sure who played the sponsors bingo game!
It all felt tame, sleepy..perhaps even a little amateurish
My point actually is on this first outing 4040 needs to decide whether its a more traditional game of cricket – or whether it is the natural extension of 2020. If it is the latter then 4040 needs to brush up on the extras that audiences are clearly coming to expect….the warm up man, the half time entertainment, players in the dug out, time outs, the big screen etc etc. If its the former then thats fine too – just cut the gimmicks. Just make sure its one or the other
O and by the way Yorkshire – much to my delight – thrashed Essex.