May 19 2013 Latest news:
Laurence Klein, London24’s Middlesex blogger
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Our Middlesex blogger explains his frustrations with the current Twenty20 system
We’re now in the thick of the dancing-girl season. There’s the music, the girls, the beer, the DJ, the big-screen close-ups of kids banging those inflatable things together, mascots, and spectators standing up and walking around in front of you (I suppose they’re just too excited to sit still). What more do you want? I don’t know, and I can’t be sure but I think they interrupt all this fun to play a type of cricket.
Do they – possibly the ECB marketing people - have such little faith in the product (as no doubt they call it) that they have to dress it up with vacuous noise and action? And do they have such a low opinion of us, the spectators, that they think T20 cricket on its own can’t maintain our interest over three hours? Do blasts of music, shouty announcers, those dancing girls and Pinky and his friends make for a better time? I think you know my answer.
The two evening matches at Lord’s this year have reinforced my belief that this country – barring a couple of days a year – is completely wrong for night cricket. Not only does it stay light till late in June so floodlights are a bit redundant, but it gets cold.
Against Surrey we were treated to an unusual rain-laden south-easterly, and sitting at the bottom of the Warner it was blowing fiercely in my face. So I went to the top of the Tavern where there was a wall between me and the wind, but despite all the fleecy layers and hot drinks, I got colder and colder. I resorted to stuffing the Evening Standard down my coat for the extra insulation, like a vagrant on the Embankment. That’s something the iPad edition can’t do. And although the match against Essex started after a muggy day, the temperature soon plunged, and it was shivering and the Standard again. And we have a month of summer days empty of county cricket.
The Pantherettes generously move round the ground so that we can all get a turn enjoying their delights at close quarters. And they are easy on the eye and might well be good dancers, but how have Middlesex got away with it? Previously I’ve always felt too embarrassed to watch their wriggling, hair-tossing, bending over, knicker-flashing and pouting, but this season I’ve made a special point of watching closely, for your benefit, so that you know what’s going on.
And what is going on is a disgrace. Are there no fighting feminists left to protest against what is blatantly objectifying women, and is there no modern Mary Whitehouse to protect our children from sexually provocative jigging about? Is not T20 aimed at a family audience? Please sign my petition to have the Pantherettes perform only to an adult male audience in a special enclosure – a marquee on the Nursery will do – away from the sensitive eyes of our women and children. Or maybe you don’t have a missus who likes to follow your line of vision, look at what you’re looking at, and then ask difficult questions. For hours. And remembers your answers verbatim and quotes them back at you when the occasion demands.
Follow Laurence on Twitter @Laurence_Klein