Dawson: Time up for all day league cricket

Liam Dawson. Picture: Neil Marshall
Liam Dawson. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Liam Dawson believes Southern Electric Premier League chiefs need a major rethink on timed cricket as he admitted: I would scrap it.

The Hampshire all-rounder played in the Academy’s draw with Burridge in the premier division last weekend and hit 72 as he makes his way back from a groin injury.

After the Academy had blasted 334 for six, Burridge’s Derek Kenway (115) held the innings together after they were reduced to five for three inside the first two overs.

Understandably, after an early setback, Burridge then went into survival mode – even more so after Kenway’s dismissal – with skipper Rick Ankers taking 63 deliveries to make just 10 as the overs ticked down late in the day.

Burridge clearly had little chance of chasing the target after their poor start.

They eventually defended well to hang on for a draw at 201 for nine from 60 overs.

But with the game finishing beyond 8.30pm, Dawson feels the rules have encouraged negative cricket.

Dawson said: ‘If I’m honest, I would scrap timed cricket.

‘You are only playing an extra 10 overs each so what’s the point in having a draw for a start?

‘Just play straight 50-over cricket.

‘I think it’s absolutely pointless – I don’t see any benefit.

‘You get too many boring draws.

‘Some teams go into a game thinking they are happy with a draw.

‘That is just negative cricket straight away.

‘If you play 50-over cricket, you win or lose and that’s that.

‘I really do think the format has run its course.

‘If you play against teams who are not as good as your team, they will bat for a draw.

‘It’s not Burridge’s fault, they had an option to block it out for a draw.’

The format was introduced with a view to giving young, potential county players more experience of playing longer games to aid their progression and development.

But, in reality, the vast majority of players in the league are recreational cricketers.

‘For most of the players, it is their hobby,’ said Dawson.

‘It’s not their job – they do it for fun.

‘If you have a family, why would you want to be leaving your house at 9.30am on a Saturday morning and coming back at 9pm?

‘What sort of life is that after working all week?

‘You don’t realise it back when you are an Academy player, but the older you get the more you realise that it’s pointless.

‘It doesn’t help you make a step to playing a four-day game.’

With games starting at 11.30am and sometimes finishing at 9pm, the final session at the Ageas Bowl nursery ground dragged on for 48 overs.

And Dawson admits he would introduce more t20 games and even combine those within the league structure if it was down to him.

He added: ‘I think there is scope to have more t20 cricket.

‘You can get your families down, have a barbecue and it’s more exciting to watch for three or four hours.

‘You could have that forming part of the league as well.’

Burridge travel to St Cross tomorrow, while Ventnor visit the Academy.