Friday, 23 January 2009

Tradition for traditions sake

One thing that's long frustrated me is the concept of tradition. So many people live their lives without necessarily questioning why they are doing what they are, instead just accepting because it's traditional.

Non-religious couples marrying in churches with the flouncy white wedding dress because it's traditional. Personally I got married at a theme park, but I still wore the white dress.

Mourning the death of the "traditional" steam railway, which itself put a huge nail in the coffin of the previously "traditional" canal network of Britain, which itself was controversial enough in many ways.

Tutting at the demise of the "traditional" high street stores like Woolworths, which was a large chain in it's hayday, happily putting many local stores out of business.

One of the best examples of all though has to be that of the Test series. This months Wisden Cricketer has two references to its demise. Not the Test match in itself but the constructs of the Future Tours program and such.

We can't get rid of the Future Tours program, and surely not tours in themselves? It's so traditional!!!

Doesn't take a genius to know that tours exist as, believe it or not, it used to be chuffing hard work getting to Australia or India 80 years ago. Not exactly a simple commute was it? Hampshire Chairman, Rod Bransgrove is one of the latest voices to have advocated the scrapping of tours to be replaced with a direct test league. 2 divisions of 6 teams (numbers 11 and 12 anyone? - Kenya and Ireland based on the ODI rankings), playing 10 tests a year home and away. That'd be a drop of 4 tests a year, which is not insignificant for sure, but the underlying logic was pretty convincing. Other suggestions were a 3 yearly championship based on the current points table, but that seems pretty pointless, just a noddy layer over the top of the current system, too far apart for anyone to really care.

It's odd enough to have a single match last 5 days, but when that's just a fifth of the series over 2 months plus, it is really pretty bizarre compared to the rest of the sporting world. I know that one of those funny squashed football games also does test series, but it's still not on the same scale.

The only thing in my mind that does make the breaks squeal is that sodding little urn. I can handle not not watching us playing in New Zealand in the middle of the night, but the idea of no Ashes does seem odd. Would it make amends to maybe turn that into the prize for the league winners? Probably not, and I'd expect a whole heap of arguments against scrapping tours to sit on it's little handles.

Again though, tours came to exist for practical reasons. Cold hard logistics, and if you stop questioning the reasoningbehind that and just sit there with rose tinted specs on, nothing will stop the slide of falling attendances and the likes.

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