Council cash controls everything – just not the weather

Australia's Aaron Finch celebrates making 100 runs against England
Australia's Aaron Finch celebrates making 100 runs against England
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BIRMINGHAM BEARS versus Yorkshire Vikings?

You half wondered whether an American football game had been inserted into the fixture list, or an ice hockey match or basketball contest.

In the good old days it was Warwickshire versus Yorkshire.

This is cricket, Jim, but not as we know it.

Sadly, there was no cricket at Edgbaston last night, where heavy rain prevented play.

Umpires Peter Hartley and 
Peter Willey did their level best to get the show on, but an 8pm pitch inspection – 90 minutes after the scheduled start – ended hopes of even a five-over thrash: the minimum number of overs per team that constitutes a game.

For the 1,000 or so who braved the elements, they took away memories of only a concerted mopping-up operation by the Warwickshire groundstaff when the rain finally stopped around 7pm.

Both sides took a point for the no-result, which at least meant Yorkshire got something from the match after they lost their opening T20 fixture to Northamptonshire last week.

Perhaps the weather gods in the Black Country were railing against the home club’s name change. Warwickshire have altered their moniker for the T20 tournament, blithely ditching 132 years of history at the request of Birmingham City Council, which loaned them £20m to redevelop the Pavilion End.

The council’s thinking is that it will help raise Birmingham’s profile on the basis that not enough people know Edgbaston is connected with England’s second city.

It is a bit like Yorkshire calling themselves Leeds Vikings and crassly ignoring that they represent everyone in the county from Huddersfield to Harrogate, Sheffield to Scarborough, the sort of marketing gimmick that only T20 could spawn.

None of which concerns Yorkshire, who have high hopes of winning this year’s tournament.The impending arrival of Aaron Finch, the Australian batsman, should inject oomph into their challenge, which continues against Derbyshire at Headingley on Friday.

Finch will be available for that match if Sunrisers Hyderabad, his Indian Premier League franchise, fail to qualify for the latter stages of that competition.

If not, he will make his debut in the Roses game at Old Trafford on June 6.

Jason Gillespie, the Yorkshire first-team coach, had no complaints with last night’s abandonment.

“The conditions were unfit and the umpires made the right call,” he said. “Of course, it was frustrating; you travel to an opposition ground and you want to play some cricket.

“Everyone’s here, the crowd comes to watch, it’s going out live on TV, and so on. But you can’t control the weather.”

The abandonment was made more frustrating by the fact Yorkshire warmed-up with three practice matches last week against local opposition. They pulled off a hat-trick of wins at Sheffield, Harrogate and York to send them to the Midlands in high spirits.

“We took one point from the match so that’s something at least,” added Gillespie.