James Forsyth

May Test series have to end

May Test series have to end
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While we wait for the Speaker’s statement at 3.30, maybe Coffee Housers will indulge me in a rant about how the ECB are harming Test cricket. The May Test matches the ECB keep scheduling just have to stop. They are devaluing Test cricket.

Normally, England comprehensively winning a series having lost the previous one between the two sides would be a matter of celebration. But it is hard to get excited about England winning May Test matches as they are not a fair contest.  

The conditions are too extreme; having the West Indies come here in May is rather like England having to tour India in April. On top of this, the touring sides don’t have adequate time to prepare: the West Indies were distinctly undercooked at Lords. Finally, May is not a pleasant time to watch cricket. Hence the huge numbers of empty seats at both Lords and Chester Le Street. I was up in Newcastle for the football on Saturday, a depressing experience, and one definitely wouldn’t have wanted to spend the whole day sitting outside.

The ECB argues that it needs to schedule these Test matches for the television money. But this is the same time of short-termist thinking which saw it take Test cricket off terrestrial TV. Someone there needs to think about the medium-term future of the game.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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