NZC's sillyness part three:
We are witnessing some incredibly strange decision making by people who get paid rather well to make these decisions, folks. Not only did a story appear on one of NZC's mainstream media PR departments hinting at less Plunket Shield cricket, we have also been greeted with yet another T20 competition revamp. This third chapter of a weird ol' story about NZC's sillyness will mainly focus on highlighting their sillyness with regards to their domestic T20 competition.
Yes it is bonkers that NZC are thinking of cutting the Plunket Shield season in half, instead of, ya know, investing the money they are making from this limited-overs diet into the Plunket Shield (assuming they're making any). Instead of following England's wonderful County cricket resurgence through social media and consistent Youtube highlights, NZC would rather see less Plunket Shield cricket.
NZC want to cut down the Plunket Shield because it doesn't generate much buzz, yet NZC do little in the way of generating any buzz. NZC kinda do nothing to help Plunket Shield cricket and I'd argue that the Niche Cache does more than NZC in covering the Plunket Shield, while NZC also holds the keys to using the internet to offer comprehensive video coverage of Plunket Shield.
Yet NZC stick to their little video scorecards and not much else.
NZC also pass much of this responsibility over to the domestic associations themselves.
Point being: NZC moan about Plunket Shield while doing hardly anything to help it.
Obviously it's crazy that David White and friends can't think beyond just making money, although I'm not ready to go all in on highlighting the silliness with regards to a possible change to the domestic cricket calendar. All of this silliness couldn't come at a better time because the agreement between the NZ Cricket Player's Association and NZ Cricket is set to end mid-way through 2018. The more silliness that comes spewing out of NZC, the more they alienate their playing base and the players will have an opportunity to have an influence on how these matters are addressed moving forward.
However I'm not sure that NZC are quite aware of how silly their decisions appear, so I doubt they really care what the players are thinking. Just know that the players can fight for what they want and I'm reasonably confident that the players have the right intentions.
Right, this *insert fast food brand here* T20 Super Smash. Yes, the Super Smash has another fast food brand as its main sponsor and by now we should be expecting NZC to roll through all major fast food brands in the next five years. One would assume that if the Super Smash was as much a raving success as NZC seem to think it is, they would be able to maintain a major sponsor for more than two years, or at least not make wholesale changes to the scheduling every year.
And let's not just accept that fast food brands, or alcohol, or gambling, should waltz on into sponsorship. What's stopping NZC from partnering with a fruit and vege provider, for example?
Well, fast food brands probably offer the most money and as we know NZC are all about making money (which isn't put back into funding streaming/highlights of Plunket Shield cricket) and not the betterment of kiwi cricket.
NZC's T20 competition/s have been so routinely sponsored by fast food brands that we can now officially give NZC props for their services to obesity, or diabetes.
Mr White is loving himself some obesity and diabetes, while also celebrating T20 cricket at the same time as other countries have found a wonderful balance between all forms of cricket.
Other nations that could be leading the T20 revolution also play a lot of Test cricket and it's strange that NZC are moving in the opposite direction to where much of the cricketing world is going (and where Stephen Fleming is going).
In theory, NZC's emphasis on the Super Smash is following on from the success of franchise T20 competitions and the path they are blazing. Dig deeper and, well, we already know that NZC has still decided to schedule more T20 internationals than Tests, thus placing an emphasis on a format that will be the first (and only) victim of franchise T20 cricket; franchise T20 cricket won't destroy Test cricket, it'll destroy T20 internationals.
Oddly enough, NZC are setting their Super Smash competition up for failure, despite trying so hard to flog a dead horse. The Super Smash will run from December 13 to January 20 and during that time period there will be eight ODIs and three T20 games for the Blackcaps which will mean that those Blackcaps will not be involved in Super Smash cricket for periods, if not the entirety of the competition.
The various franchise T20 competitions around the world enjoy popularity because of the players involved. They get the best players in the world involved, let alone the best players of the respective host nations/most recognisable faces and the presence of these players is what draws crowds in, what creates so much buzz.
You only need to look at how South Africa has set up their fresh T20 Global League where each team has a South Africa international as their marquee; Durban - Hashim Amla, Pretoria - AB de Villiers, Stellenbosch - Faf du Plessis, etc. This does not include a host of international marquee players who are mainly T20 specialists, but are big names nonetheless. All this will lead to big crowds and hype around this new league in South Africa, need I explain why the IPL and BBl are so successful then?
During the Super Smash, our Blackcaps will be playing limited overs cricket and won't be available. So Super Smash teams will instead consist of our glorious domestic battlers (who are getting shafted by NZC) and the Super Smash equivalent of 'marquee' players will be guys who the average kiwi sports fan has never really heard of.
An easy way around this would have been to schedule Test cricket for the majority of the Super Smash, thus allowing those limited overs Blackcaps to headline the Super Smash. Think of guys like Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell McClenaghan, Martin Guptill; they are unlikely (who knows) to be in the Test teams and would add immense weight to the Super Smash. Instead, many of these blokes will be on Blackcaps limited overs duty.
There is a three-game T20 series against West Indies in a peak holiday period (Dec 29-Jan 3), which NZC so wisely targeted for the Super Smash. I find it super weird that NZC would put international T20 games on at the same time as the Super Smash, thus taking attention and Blackcaps away from a time when the Super Smash could dominate our sporting scope.
The way the West Indies series is built leaves me absolutely confuzzled, even when I ignore the stupidity behind Test vs T20 internationals. Wouldn't it be smarter to get the T20 internationals and ODIs out of the way before the Super Smash, so that the limited overs Blackcaps can kick off the Super Smash with plenty of buzz? Even within NZC's crazy parameters, they make no sense.
Same with the Pakistan series; why not play Tests vs Pakistan while the Super Smash is on and finish with some limited overs stuff after the Super Smash is finished? Instead, NZC's limited overs diet just eats up the Super Smash and they are kinda just fucking themselves over #Cannabilism.
Then we have the Big Bash, which will dwarf everything about the Super Smash, so NZC wisely put the Super Smash smack-bang in the middle of the BBL (Dec 19-Feb 4 (final)). This is really dumb for a few reasons, starting with allowing the kiwi sports fan a chance to directly compare how crap the Super Smash is, up against the BBL. Kiwis go from watching Super Smash cricket live or on telly, to then getting a swift reality check about where the Super Smash fits in as the then watch the BBL with all the star players, big crowds and excellent cricket.
But more importantly, NZC are limiting the influx of overseas players to the Super Smash. Any overseas players who play in the Super Smash are doing so because they don't have a BBL gig and star players will obviously prefer to play in the BBL than the Super Smash. Brendon McCullum would be a wonderful asset to the Super Smash, but he's busy with Brisbane Heat in the BBL. Even the presence of Daniel Vettori and Stephen Fleming - two T20 masterminds - would take the Super Smash to greater heights... both are busy with the BBL though.
From a Blackcaps player perspective, they can't partake in the BBL either and NZC are setting themselves up for a intriguing battle with players. Soon enough a kiwi cricketer will rather take up a BBL opportunity than play Super Smash cricket and the next step of that is a kiwi T20 gun opting to take up a BBL contract over Blackcaps ODI/T20 internationals. That's gonna happen and NZC are setting themselves up to get burned.
That's what I find so weird about all of this. I can put my love for Test cricket and Plunket Shield cricket aside, accepting NZC's desires. Sure, I can think that they are being dumb, but each to their own and they'll sleep in the bed that they make. What boggles my mind is that NZC are placing an emphasis on T20 internationals, which are going nowhere but the slaughterhouse and they are trying so hard to pump up the Super Smash, yet they are only setting it up to fail.
NZC are being so weird. They aren't even looking at T20 cricket in the right way, let alone looking at how the three formats of cricket co-exist beautifully around the world. At this point, I'm happy for NZC to just keep going down this weird route because it's rather easy to poke holes in their plans. Keep the silliness coming.
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