As CRICKETher reported back in July, England stars travelling to Australia for the winter have been warned by the ECB that they are expected to be back in Blighty by mid-January to prepare for their international tour to South Africa, meaning that they will miss the semi-finals and final of the WBBL, which is set to be the biggest domestic event ever in the history of women’s cricket.
Word is that Cricket Australia were bitterly disappointed by this – the finals are set to be broadcast on national TV, so they are a massive showcase at a critical juncture in the development of the women’s game and they desperately need all the star-power they can get. Hence the past couple of months have seen intense lobbying from Cricket Australia for a change of heart at the ECB, pointing out that there are two whole weeks between the WBBL final and England’s first match in South Africa.
But with several of the England players due to fly out this week, whispers now reach us from Australia that despite everything the ECB have refused to back down: the players are primarily contracted to them and that’s that – the closest Charlotte Edwards and Co. will come to the WBBL final is watching it on TV back in Loughborough.
Of course, the ECB are quite within their rights; but one day they’ll want a favour from Cricket Australia… perhaps as soon as next summer’s Super League… and one wonders quite how cooperative the Aussies will then feel like being?
1. What are the ECB worried about ? After all we have ‘strength in depth’ (according to Clare Connor) so why should it be an issue if a few players miss a bit of training …… so much for the strength in depth.
2. The England players are spread over 5 teams so its impossible for all of them to be needed for the semis/finals – the worst case scenario has 6 in the semis and 4 in the final. What’s the problem here ?
3. What is best for our players – training indoors in an English January or playing outdoors in some of the most intense cricket they could ever play ? No brainer or what ?
4. Is it really reasonable for someone such as Danni Wyatt to have to potentially miss the WBBL semis/final when she doesn’t get picked for ODIs and we have only 3 T20s (of no world significance) to play in SA ? Again, best practice for a T20 (indoor training or a WBBL semi or/and final) ?
Another stunning own goal by the ECB.
It’s truly unbelievable stuff from the ECB. If this summer showed anything it was that a glut of training can’t make up for decent match practice. And if there ever was decent match practice, it’s playing in the semi-final or final of a top-level competition.
What could the ECB possibly have in store for the players that would benefit them more than playing in those finals?
The ECB are simply being myopic here. It’s some petty sense of discipline over the bigger confidence boost to the players. Over controlling, micro-management like I’ve warned of before – it rarely works when taken to this extreme. The management need to be more laid back.
Either that or they just do the exact opposite of what CA wants on a matter of principle. Which is also incredibly petty.
I would not blame the players if this came close to some sort of revolt. If they all joined forces, and we had 4 or 5 of our top players all refuse to come back early, what would the ECB do, physically drag them onto a plane? Sack them? Good luck on replacing them, in that case.
If the players did this and did get in trouble, I (and I suspect many others) would support the players wholeheartedly in their decision against an ECB that is looking more and more like the villain of the piece.
As Clanger says it’s yet another massive misstep by the ECB. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve shot themselves in the foot in the recent past.