The Morgan Review: A Vehicle For Change? I Think Not

The Morgan review generated much discussion before its eventual publication.  Now it has been published, not only are Yates’ and others criticisms shown to be valid, the report itself is one of the weakest documents Yates has ever seen.

Yates has seen plenty of poor efforts at documentation and reports in his time but this has to be one of the poorest to ever sully his monitor with its presence.  Were Yates a CEO in receipt of this document he would throw it back at David Morgan with a demand for a fuller document with detailed and substantial evidence.

The consultation exercise was fundamentally flawed in that it did not consult widely enough.  Technology enables a wider reach for consultations – even the BBC and the Government recognise this and solicit submissions from interested parties.  Only a prize Charlie or other such halfwit would fail to recognise that there are plenty of county cricket fans online whose views should be solicited.  They can also spread the word to those who are not.  Yates’ belief that the names and interests of those consulted must be published has not changed.  That list may well reveal some interesting facts about the consultation.

Given the flawed nature of the consultation it must follow that any findings of the report are also flawed.  But David Morgan has managed to increase the flaw quotient by advocating a County Championship where each team does not necessarily play all the others in their division home and away.  The lack of logic and sense in this proposal is truly stunning.  However the 14 game Championship season is supposed to be determined, it will not hide the fact that whoever wins their division will be the winner of a deeply flawed competition and deeply flawed award.

The T20 debate is one which will go on and on.  The ECB see this as a vital money spinner yet do not schedule it to run throughout the season or target it at families.  As Yates has said before, doing this will make it easier on the wallets of people and make the fixture list easier to remember.  Routine in the fixture list is something to be embraced.  If we have routine and lessen the amount of travelling the players have to do we are surely lightening their workload.

As Cricket Yorkshire points out, if your team does not fare well it can end up playing a load of meaningless games which will be less well attended if the T20 tournament is held during a 4 week window.

Morgan’s refusal to recognise there is little difference between 40 over and 50 over cricket merely adds more fail to the increasing quotient here.  Execution of skills is what needs to improve, that should be at the centre of any plans for the limited over game.  10 overs per side doesn’t really add much to the game beyond earlier start and later finish times.  Fielding and bowling restrictions are still enforced and unlike the John Player League of old, bowlers’ run ups aren’t shortened.  If public transport is as poor around the country as Southeastern is down here then you don’t want to be out any later than you have to.

The actual report itself lacks quality, strength and coherence as a report and is far too weak as an executive summary.  Perhaps this version we see is the version edited for public consumption?  Yates doesn’t see any evidence screaming like Ian Gillan that the report’s conclusions are logical, sensible and inescapable.

David Morgan has forgotten (or chosen to ignore) that county cricket is the base upon which the England test team is based.  Everything flows from that.  Yates expects that every county has youngsters on its staff with masses of potential.  Surely educating them, bringing them on, improving their skillsets and execution and understanding of the game should be at the heart of any discussions for future change?  There isn’t much point in changing a system that’s given us world number 1 test ranking and World T20 champion status if we’re going to end up being hammered a few years down the line.

Whatever roadmap is intended, whoever he may have been trying to please, Morgan has made a real mess.  Weak, indecisive, lacking clarity and direction.  So fundamentally flawed that even the counties don’t like it and now aren’t accepting it completely (although accepting the cut to 14 Championship games seems retarded to Yates), the ECB have wasted their money and upset a lot of cricket fans who know more about the game than Morgan thinks they do.  Instead of engaging with an informed, intelligent customer base Yates thinks that Morgan has placed more weight on the opinions of people he knows,  who will agree with him or who are too stupid not to rubber stamp anything that comes their way.

As a vehicle for change the Morgan report is at best a Sinclair C5. You don’t see any of those driving down the Harleyford Road.