The Cricket Tier

 

Upcoming in The Abu Dhabi T10 Cricket League

Mzaalo, a blockchain-based video and entertainment ecosystem, announced over the weekend that it has partnered with the Pune Devils cricket team, and will lead the team’s tokenization and fan engagement efforts as it establishes a new fanbase. Mzaalo will create Pune Devils’ bespoke digital assets, allowing the team to enhance its brand power and fans to engage with their favorite cricket team in a way that they never have before.

In the upcoming season of the Abu Dhabi T10 Cricket League - which starts on January 28th and ends on February 6th in the iconic Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi - fans will get their first chance to interact with the Pune Devils token ecosystem that Mzaalo has created. Mzaalo is a media and entertainment platform that features +50,000 hours of the best of Bollywood TV and film, and rewards viewers for watching content and engaging through social media.  

Mzaalo will be creating customized token-based rewards and engagement strategies for Pune Devils Team. Users will get the opportunity to interact via posts, video blogs, challenges, contests, live interactions, etc. Most engaged Fans will get an opportunity to e-meet-n-greet their favorite cricketers, along with autographed merchandise giveaways of, jerseys, bats, balls, wickets, and e-wishes.

The Pune Devils have appointed Jonty Rhodes as the head coach and have picked up several international cricket stars, such as Thisara Perera, Tom Cadmore, and Hardus Viljoen), who will headline the starting teams in the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10 League. Viewers can catch the Mzaalo logo on the Devils’ new team jerseys during the first match.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Vikram Tanna, COO, Mzaalo said, “Cricket has always been an emotion for all Indians and we at Mzaalo aim to bring the most interactive and exciting format for all the sports enthusiasts. Through our association with Pune Devils, we will deliver unique experiences to the viewers throughout the season. The collaboration is a step further in bringing the best gaming and entertainment experiences for audiences.”

Study reveals 63% of international cricketers are privately educated

Cricket is becoming increasingly dominated by privileged, privately educated people, reveals a new study from Cricket Bet India.

Research shows that around 63% of international cricketers to play a Test match for the ‘Big Three’ of England, Australia and India in 2020 were brought up through private education before playing for their countries.

Study reveals 63% of international cricketers are privately educated

  • 37.5% of England Test cricketers in 2020 were privately educated
  • Just 6% of the UK population has been privately educated on average
  • Statistics prove that going private schools gives people a better chance of playing professional cricket and rugby
  • However the England football side remains 86.7% state-educated 

A study conducted by Cricket Bet India, Educating Cricket, has studied the backgrounds of each Test cricket from England, Australia, India and South Africa to look at the number of privately-educated players in each side, and compare the figures to other major sports in the UK.

Just 37.5%, or six, of the players to play Test cricket for England in 2020 were educated in state schools (Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood) and five of them were bowlers - four of whom are from the north of the UK.

However there are concerns that the cricket side is becoming out of touch with the majority of the public, with just 6% of the national population educated in private schools - a long way apart from the 62.5% in the England side, suggesting cricket is becoming increasingly elitist. 

Even in the professional men’s game, 46% are educated at private schools which suggests a private education improves the chances of making it as an international, while 43% were state-educated (way down from the national average of 94%) and 11% internationally educated.

England legend Sir Geoffrey Boycott - a state-educated player himself - says more has to be done to encourage all school cricket but concedes that those privately educated have a naturally better chance of succeeding.

“The amount of people playing and coaching at schools has just shrunk,” Boycott told Cricket Bet India. “It is such a shame..

“Cricket will continue to struggle. It has gone quite far down the track. Too far? I’m not sure. Less schools are playing and, as a result, less kids are coming through. Children should be playing cricket at school and loving it. Both the ECB and the counties should be taking cricket to schools – all schools – the game depends on kids playing and developing a love for it.”

He added: “Private schools have done a fantastic job for cricket. Some of the great schools, Eton or Harrow, wow! I’ve been there, I’ve seen the nets, the facilities; I’ve practiced there. 

“The private school players will be getting a better grounding because there are more facilities and also because they’re live-in students. They simply have more time, it’s all organised for them after school."

The England women’s team is much more balanced, with a split of 27.2% privately educated and 72.8% educated in the state system.

The India team has a representation of 81.8% privately-educated players, up from the national average of 47.6%, while Australia is much more balanced at 40% (national average of 34.3%).

South Africa have had issues with representation in international sport and particularly cricket since their readmission in 1991, and just three of their 14 players to play in the Test series against England attended a state school with 78.6% privately educated (compared to a national average of 3%).

The England football team however is again more accessible and has more obvious working class roots in the game, with 86.7% of the XI that played in October’s game against Belgium educated in state schools - exposing a real gulf between the two sports.

The England rugby team is unsurprisingly the most dominated by privately educated stars, with 86.7% of the starting XV against Italy in the Six Nations finale attending private/independent schools and just two players - Jonny Hill and Kyle Sinckler - attending state schools.

Not The Spin - January

Last week The The Action Group wrote an open letter to the new Lancashire Chairman Andy Anson and a copy of that letter can be found below.

The Action Group will be producing our 8th fanzine in April. As ever please get in touch with us on social media via our private Facebook group page - Lancashire Cricket Action Group or you can find us on Twitter at - @lancscccaction.

Hi Andy,

My name is Ian Lomax and I am co-founder of the Lancashire supporters’ group, the Lancashire Action Group. We were formed in 2014 due to the major unrest at the Club caused by a combination of poor playing performances and inadequate supporters’ facilities after the redevelopment of the ground.

We completed our own Members’ survey regarding facilities and after receiving hundreds of replies compiled a dossier with 34 recommendations. With the threat of a Special General Meeting in the air (we had quadruple the number of members’ signatures required to force one) the Club did act on some of our recommendations such as refurbishing the old Red Rose Suite, allowing fans onto the playing area during intervals, reinstating the library and improving disabled facilities.

Several members of our group then joined the newly created Members’ Representative Group (MRG); however, they found the group to be ineffective and felt that they had wasted their time trying to achieve anything of significance. In 2018 we produced the only fanzine in County Cricket – Not the Spin, which has been a huge success and we will be producing our 8th issue in April. It is now edited by Roy Cavanagh MBE and Stuart Brodkin, both of whom have written several books on Lancashire Cricket and we have a number of distinguished writers including Paul Fitzpatrick (ex-Guardian cricket correspondent). It has a readership of many thousands and in addition to the fanzine we have an email newsletter list of just under a thousand, a successful website to buy our merchandise and we continue to grow on social media with our Twitter account now having just under 3,000 followers and our private Facebook group having more than 700 members.

We welcome your commitment to the Membership of the Club and I am sure you are dismayed that the Club has lost around an incredible 9,000 members over the last 20 years. You state that “We’ve got to work with the members to become a stronger Club and we’ve got to build a stronger Membership base as well”. I would welcome an interview with you or article from you to explain to our readership how you intend to repair the fractured relationship between many of the members and supporters and how you could win back the thousands who have left the Club over the last two decades.

We are continuing to campaign for the following:

1. Abolish the Board-appointed Nominations Committee allowing Members to stand democratically for the Board.

2. The return of a stand-alone Museum that was disgracefully demolished during the rebuild of Old Trafford.

3. Allow Traditional members an elevated view from their own pavilion. The draconian decision to ban Members from their own Pavilion balconies was directly responsible for a large reduction in Membership.

4. Two Championship and National League fixtures to be held at outgrounds within the historical Lancashire boundaries.

5. No 1st team games to be played at Sedbergh. We wrote to Daniel Gidney stating that we would force an SGM if the Club hosted another Championship game at the school. We were told that plans to host a Championship game in 2020 were changed.

6. Re-form a democratic members’ committee.

7. Allow Members’ forums to be allowed to discuss Members’ issues and produce minutes. Bizarrely, two years ago it was announced that ‘only cricketing issues’ could be brought up at meetings.

8. Ensure all refunds for abandoned games are finalised within 14 days. A delay of 30 days (breaking the Club’s own terms and conditions) occurred twice in 2019 and is totally unacceptable.

After the release of our first fanzine in April 2018, I was banned from the ground and despite holding two subsequent meetings with Director Jason Hopwood to discuss the fanzine and to improve dialogue with ourselves and the Club there has been no more contact with the Club. I hope that the above invitation will be taken at face value, and on behalf of the Action Group, wish you every success in your post. Thank you, Ian Lomax @ Lancashire Action Group

 

Learie: The Man Who Broke the Colour Bar

Lord Learie Constantine was an all-time great West Indian cricketer and a qualified barrister who took on the racists in Britain when, on June 30, 1944 he won a High Court action after he and his family were ordered out of the Imperial Hotel in Russell Square because white US soldiers objected. It led to the passing of the Race Relations Act in 1968 – an Act in which he was heavily involved.

He was the grandson of a slave, the first High Commissioner of Trinidad, the first Afro-Caribbean to become a Peer of the Realm, a BBC governor, a writer and a counsellor of West Indian migrants during WW2 Britain and subsequently, the Windrush affair. Despite opposition he did more than anyone else to achieve equality in Britain and this book tells the important and sometimes overlooked story of his achievements. His fight for fairness, seemingly against the odds, is a story that remains even more relevant today. There is now a campaign calling for a statue, or memorial of this kindly man to remind today’s generation they do have genuine heroes to follow.

Brian Scovell ghostwrote Learie’s commentaries between 1963-69 for the Daily Sketch, driving him around the country while attending Test matches. They formed a lifelong friendship culminating in Brian being invited to speak at the Houses of Parliament when the bust of Lord Learie was unveiled in 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of his being appointed as the first black Peer in 1969.

Brian Scovell is a prolific sports journalist who has worked for the Press Association, Daily Sketch and Daily Mail as well as writing (and ghostwriting) twenty eight highly-regarded sports biographies including The England Managers (The History Press, 2005), Jim Laker (The History Press, 2006) and Bill Nicholson:Football’s Perfectionist (John Blake, 2010), all of which were nominated for the British Sports Book Awards. Brian is obsessed with cricket and football, having covered over 350 Test matches and the same number of football internationals in 92 countries. He is now working freelance and lives in Bromley, Kent.

RELEASE DATE: 28/01/2021
ISBN: 9781913551483 Price: £9.99

England Look to Be the Team to Beat at T20 World Cup

The T20 World Cup in Australia is going to be one of the highlights of what is set to be a busy year in cricket in 2021. As always, the tournament is sure to deliver fireworks as all the world’s leading players will be battling it out at the crease for the coveted trophy.

This format of the game makes it possible for five or six countries to be contention for the trophy, but none are more prepared for the competition than England.

Buoyed by their success in the Cricket World Cup in 2019, England will travel Down Under full of confidence. The majority of the players in their squad were part of that victory at Lord’s last year, where they defeated New Zealand in the final in dramatic circumstances.

Since then, England have had a swagger about them. This was very evident in their recent 3-0 T20 series victory over South Africa. The tourists have often struggled in tours of South Africa, however, they swept aside the hosts in a dominant fashion this time around.

England can be backed at 7/2 in the cricket betting for the tournament next year. You could make a strong argument for making England the favourites for the trophy. That position is held by Australia, largely due to the Aussies being the hosts with the home advantage.

Runs Won’t Be A Problem for Heavy Scoring England

Eoin Morgan’s side go into the T20 World Cup with a very strong batting line-up. Whether they are batting first and setting a target, or chasing, they are able to score at a very strong run-rate.

Jason Roy and Jos Buttler have formed a dangerous opening partnership which helps England make a fast start. Dawid Malan is now the number one ranked batsman in T20 cricket, while Morgan, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran all ensure the Three Lions are strong in the middle of the order.

It is going to be fascinating to see England take on the likes of Australia and India, their biggest rivals for the trophy. Those games could come in the latter stages of the tournament in the semi-final and final. Although there will be a lot of pressure on those matches, the England players are fully accustomed to handling it and delivering in big moments.

England’s Bowling Attack Has Variety

Although it is the batting line-up which often makes the headlines for England, their bowling attack also deserves a lot of credit. Between them, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Curran give Morgan a lot of options.

Archer is the man England can turn to with the ball when they need something to happen. He was excellent during the Super Over of the Cricket World Cup final and has a lot of experience in Two cricket now.

The conditions in Australia should suit Rashid who will fancy picking up plenty of wickets in the tournament. The 32-year-old featured for England at the 2016 T20 World Cup when they finished runners-up to the West Indies.

England should keep getting stronger from now until October. If they do pick up the trophy in Australia, it will be extra proof that they have become the dominant force in limited-overs international cricket.

Cricket Photograph of the Year Competition

The Wisden Cricket Photograph of the Year Competition 2020 is now open for entries

• Top three entries in this year’s Wisden Cricket Photograph of the Year will feature in 2021 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

• First prize is £1,000, two runners-up each win £400.

• Gareth Copley won the 2019 competition, with an image of Ben Stokes just after he hit the winning runs in the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley.

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The 2020 Wisden Cricket Photograph of the Year competition is now open for entries. Launched in 2010, the contest is open to all photographers, amateur or professional, from anywhere in the world.

It remains free to enter. The only stipulations are that images must have a cricketing theme and have been taken during the 2020 calendar year.

The competition aims to promote and sustain cricket in all of its forms in every corner of the globe, from an international match played in front of thousands, to a game between children on the street.

Gareth Copley won the 2019 competition, with an image of Ben Stokes just after he hit the winning runs in the Ashes Test at Headingley. You can see his photograph, along with the two runners-up, here.

The best images in the 2020 competition will appear as the first three colour photographs in the 2021 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. The winner will receive £1,000, and the two runners-up £400 each.

The independent judging panel will be chaired by Chris Smith, former chief sports photographer of The Sunday Times. Also on the panel are the acclaimed cricket photographer Patrick Eagar; cricket filming and photography manager Clare Adams; and Nigel Davies, the former art director of The Wisden Cricketer.

The editor of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, Lawrence Booth, said: “The cricket stopped for long periods this year, but our popular and prestigious competition goes on, inviting photographers from all round the world to respond to a challenge unlike any other.

“While 2019 threw up one of the most memorable summers in English cricket history, 2020 was unique for different reasons, and it will be fascinating to see what cricket-loving photographers – professional or amateur – have come up with.

“But even in a year beset by a pandemic – and irrespective of whether there were any spectators – the theme of the competition remains simple: we want to see the best cricket images of 2020. We can’t wait for the photos to start coming in.”

Entries, to a maximum of three per person, must be submitted online at:
www.wisden.com/photographoftheyear

There is no fee for entering. The closing date for entries is 23:59 GMT on Friday January 8, 2021. Winners will be announced in April 2021.

Notes by the Editor - Wisden

When Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack was first published in 1864, it included no comments or opinions at all. As the editors explained, they “carefully avoided making any remarks upon the play or players, as the purport of this little work is to record the scores of the matches”.

But by the turn of the century, things had changed, and since the first set of “Notes By The Editor” appeared in Wisden in 1901, the editor’s opinions have become a key feature of the Almanack, the first pages that readers turn to, to see what bees are in the editorial bonnet this year.

Notes by the Editors is a collection of many of the most memorable editor opinions expressed over the 120 years since they first appeared. Wisden’s views on all the great topics (and some of the smaller ones) are included – throwing, bodyline, Packer, the d’Oliveira Affair, not to mention ball tampering and the development of The Hundred. And the weather, always the weather.

“The Editor of Wisden is an important personage. It is he who decides the policy of the Cricketers’ Bible and cricketers the world over look to him to give a lead on all controversial problems. His is, therefore, no easy task, but Wisden has been fortunate in its editors”.

Jonathan Rice has compiled, written and edited many cricket books, including Wisden on India, Wisden on Grace and The Wisden Collector’s Guide. He is chairman of the County Cricket Heritage Forum, was chairman of the Lord’s Taverners from 2006 to 2008, and was president of Kent County Cricket Club in 2018. He has a complete collection of Wisden.

120 Years of Wisden Opinion
Edited by
Jonathan Rice
12th November 2020 | Hardback | £12.99 | Wisden
Also available in Ebook

A selection from Wisden’s famous “Notes by the Editor”: the beating heart of the Almanack offering the forthright opinions that have changed cricket, its laws, its players, and its history over the years.

The reliable England star who will hope for a 2021 to remember after recognition

English cricket is in a good place, as the country gears up for what will potentially be a huge 2021 in the sport.

For some, the highlight of the calendar will be the T20 World Cup that takes place in India, with Eoin Morgan and his men feeling confident that they can succeed on the big stage in the short format.

However, for others, and certainly the traditionalists, nothing can top the Ashes and the gripping five-day series will start towards the end of next year as well. Anyone connected to English Test cricket will tell you that’s the pinnacle of the sport and it promises to be a huge challenge for England.

Firstly, that they are 11/4 in the latest cricket betting odds highlights the scale of the task facing Joe Root’s side. With the Aussies having home advantage, combined with the fact that they won the little urn in 2017 and retained it last year, they are understandably favourites. Plus, they have an excellent team that has proven themselves at the highest level in recent years and they boast arguably the finest batsman on the planet in Steve Smith.

All of that means it’s a daunting task facing England but it’s one that they will relish. That’s because they have quality of their own.

The pace of Jofra Archer can frighten any batsman and Ben Stokes has rightly developed a reputation as a brilliant all-rounder that delivers at crucial moments for his country. When you add in Root and a good mix of youth and experience, the tourists will head Down Under with belief.

Yet, one man who tends to avoid the headlines but it sure to play a big part in the series is Chris Woakes.

The fact he doesn’t grab the attention that some of his teammates do may be down to his quiet personality away from the pitch but it doesn’t mean he isn’t appreciated by those in the game. And, he was recognised for his ability when he was recently named as the PCA men’s player of the year, which was voted for by the professionals.

Woakes has formed part of a very good English bowling attack in recent years and he will be 32 years old when the series begins, so it may be the last chance he gets to perform at his peak in the Ashes.

So, he will be desperate to make his mark with the ball but what makes the Warwickshire right-arm bowler stand out is his capabilities with the bat too. For too long, England have collapsed once the tail comes in but they have a player in Woakes who can stand firm lower down the order. That was evident with his remarkable recent 84 not out against Pakistan that inspired England to victory.

The Ashes puts individuals under huge pressure and England know they will need to show character, composure and quality if they are to emerge victorious. That will require everyone to step up and the reliable Woakes will be ready to play a big part.

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