And now for a public service announcement: the T10 League has been sanctioned by the International Cricket Council and the Emirates Cricket Board. Actually, it continues to have permission to run its second season from the two boards that matter the most in this circumstance, despite the Pakistan Cricket Board’s decision to place the No-Objection Certificates of its players in abeyance while it does some more due diligence on the league’s finances.
Meanwhile, in my country, Cricket Australia has not granted NOCs either, but for an entirely different reason: Sheffield Shield players must play in the Sheffield Shield. So those who are fulltime domestic players, like Chris Lynn and James Faulkner, might be on a T10 roster, but that doesn’t really mean they can play.
Think of them in this context as the equivalent of your mate who says that they’ll definitely make a comeback to club cricket this year but you both know that they probably won’t. T20 specialists who have fallen outside the NOC statute of limitations, such as Shane Watson and Ben Laughlin, are the only ones who can.
Pace the protestations of the former, who has been faithfully proclaiming the gospel of T10 to all who will listen, but T10 doesn’t seem to be all that he cracks it up to be. Take this video. Purporting to show an endless stream of fantastic catches from the inaugural season, it is truly the “Where’s Waldo” of cricket videos: only one catch, the second, could be fairly described as a fantastic catch. Some of the others, meanwhile, are so simple that you would expect any professional cricket player to catch them, specifically the balls going straight to mid-off and long-off at a comfortable speed and height.
Nor does it seem hard to predict what teams will need to do to win the league. Here’s the basic formula of what the Kerala Kings did to win the first league. Win the toss and field first. Have a top four in which every member had some chance of lasting more than ten balls and at least two players have an average strike rate of 200 in that time when batting second. Watch enough of even last year’s highlights, and one tires of the format pretty quickly. Less balls, after all, mean less variables.
Despite that personal objection, T10 may have a place in the game of cricket. This league, no matter which authority is willing to certify its existence or praise it as the most important development since the start of the Indian Premier League, is not it. Hence this certificate of objection.