We are now in a cycle of county one day games for the Royal London trophy. Purists are concerned for the future of red ball cricket but if the ECB go ahead with the Hundred then it’s more likely that the ODI format would be squeezed. Sussex under Ted Dexter were early winners of the first one day format, the 60 over Gillette Cup. Traditionalists were then concerned that any competition designed to constrain scoring was not cricket and Dexter came in for trenchant criticism when he posted his fielders out on the boundary. However the public liked it as they could see a result and it became cricket’s FA Cup and later World Cup. Sussex last got to a final in 2006 – it was sponsored by Cheltenham and Gloucester then. James Kirtley took 7 wickets, all LBW, when Sussex triumphed over Lancashire.
I went to Hove in the late afternoon. Kent had posted 188 without using all their overs so it was relatively easy for Sussex to achieve that total, notwithstanding a batting line up that has yet to fire. This reflects one of the unsatisfactory elements of the white ball cricket, namely the result is predictable too early on so you don’t get the great recoveries of Test cricket.
As I walked out of the ground I passed a plaque to Umar Rashid who tragically died drowning whilst trying to save his brother in Grenada. Sussex have had another’s tragedy of young death when Matt Hobson fell down a skylight. Lewis Hatchett and Matt Machen both had to retire early with congenital injuries. Tymal Mills was not selected for any IPL team and plays his cricket in the minor counties league at at Norfolk. He can only bowl short sessions, though still quickly, these days because of his chronic injury. The odd thing is that fitness levels are much higher these days but in the past bowlers bowled far more overs on a bad diet, smoking and general reduced fitness.