Common sense scheduling

There are few worse feelings in cricket than turning up to a ground to go through the motions in full knowledge that there is going to be no play due to rain. Even more so when the previous day had wonderful sunshine and could have seen a full day's play.

So it was refreshing to see a highly unusual display of common sense scheduling from the KNCB - and Cricket Scotland - this week when a decision was made to move Friday's second ODI forward to Thursday. Everybody knew it was going to rain on Friday, so common sense prevailed and they moved the match to a day when the forecast was much better.

This doesn't always happen - I'm sure everybody reading this will have been at, or played in, a game where play is abandoned for the day only for the sun to come out, the pitch to dry, and there be enough time to have got at least a 20 over contest in. Situations where everybody knows that it's almost certainly going to rain at the break in innings in a 50 over match and you're left wondering why they didn't just make it a reduced overs game from the start are also relatively common.

Back in early July 2014 I attended the deciding match of a three match one-day series between Scotland and the Netherlands in Glasgow. As seems to happen almost every time I attend a cricket match in Scotland, it rained. The game was called off at around 2pm.

By the time I was back at my hotel, the sun was out and there was no rain for the rest of the day. This being Scotland a couple of weeks after the summer solstice, it was still easily bright enough to play cricket at 9pm, as I pointed out in a message to umpire Alex Dowdalls whilst sat in the hotel bar. Of course the rules were the rules and there was a cut-off point beyond which play couldn't continue.

The flexibility in scheduling this week was therefore so refreshing. More of this in future please. Obviously this sort of flexibility isn't always possible, especially in club cricket when players may be working the day before a game, but other situations I mentioned such as playing a reduced overs game from the start when the forecast for later is bad are certainly possible.

Common sense is often in short supply amongst cricket administrators though. Maybe I'm asking too much.

A look at Netherlands v Scotland

The Netherlands v Scotland series itself ended in a 1-1 draw, always a disappointing result that leaves you wishing for a deciding match, but the series was more about getting some on-field action, especially for a Scotland side that hadn't played in almost 18 months.

The Dutch were without their county professionals, but will have been please that they had the strength in depth to compete with a Scottish side that were only a poor umpiring decision away from qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. Negotiations with the counties are no doubt underway ahead of their more important CWC Super League series against Ireland that starts early in June.

The series was streamed via YouTube, although it was a little disappointing that it was a single camera mounted to the sight screen not too long after the KNCB were touting how an external media company were now managing their YouTube channel. Hopefully it will be better for the Ireland series.

Major League Cricket postponed again

Like the Euro T20 Slam, Major League Cricket in the US appears to have been pushed back for a second time. Although no official announcement has been forthcoming, a presentation at their virtual AGM twice used a 2023 start date for the league. There are - apparently - some plans for "exhibition" matches at some point in 2022.

The league has been making a bit of a splash by signing some players from full member nations - particularly South Africa - and having the owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders be one of the investors in the league.

It has already been pushed from a 2021 start date to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. No reason is forthcoming for this latest delay, but it seems to be a lack of facilities with the planned conversion of the AirHogs stadium in Texas having not started yet and needing nearly two years to complete.

Also out of the US comes news that the lawsuit by two board members that I reported in this column back in March has caused the cancellation of planned national tournaments at Under-15 level and a reduction in central contracts for national team players. Is a normal month in US cricket too much to ask for?