Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DURHAM TIMES to 80360 or email us
Life's a Cabaret on Durham's Abu Dhabi jolly
THE adage that "money makes the world go around" as Liza Minelli famously strutted her way through in Cabaret, seemed most appropriate as the season kicked off across the other side of the world, as if somehow borrowed a rich gentleman who'd rented an entire sport to entertain his friends.
This was of course accompanied by the misappropriated sense of feminist triumphalism and inevitable schoolboy guffawing which had at least piqued some cricketing interest in the use of pink balls, which was at least an antidote to the collective apathy towards England's soporific contractual obligation tour to Bangladesh and the seemingly never-ending IPL.
The Abu Dhabi adventure was one long excuse to experiment with ways to make money, not just for the MCC, as its chief executive Keith Bradshaw had been at pains to point out, but for the cricketing family as a whole, with the spectre of the day/night Test serving as justification for what, on the whole, was a somewhat farcical experience.
Aside from flaws with the seam of the ball and its failure to be picked up any better than the white ball once under floodlights, their seemed a certain irony that this prestigious season opener was witnessed by fewer people than one may realistically expect to see at a County Championship game on a drizzly April morning.
This is, of course, the antithesis of the attraction that Test cricket generally holds in this country, with little clamour for day/night fixtures, with all bar the most under-strength opposition still attracting big crowds paying big bucks.
Recent matches at the Riverside against the West Indies and no doubt the upcoming series against Bangladesh will be held as justification as to why this experiment needs to be completed, but would the clamour to see either of these sides really have been increased after the working day?
The temperature had been issue enough for early season Tests at the Riverside, never mind transposing it to several hours after dark, with visions of cricket fans turning up dressed as they would for a midweek winter football match springing worryingly to mind.
Obviously there's a case for such experiments around the world where Test attendances are falling, but hopefully this event will remain a curio of English cricket due to its lack of appeal to both traditionalists and those of a more practical nature.
The game itself was a one-sided affair, with an under-strength MCC side made up of talented, if hardly fearsome players, most of whom ply their trade in the Second Division of the County Championship, coping without the usual England fringe players who had either recently returned from Bangladesh or were away earning a pay day at the IPL, being unable to pose much threat to a team which last season won the Championship at a canter.
Quite what Geoff Cook learnt about the team is debatable, with Di Venuto reasserting his longevity and Harmison showing, not unsurprisingly, that he's more dangerous in the dark.
Kyle Coetzer has presumably confirmed his place at the top of the order and the hope is that his innings won't be a flash in the pan like Gordon Muchall's double ton at Canterbury in 2006, while Ben Stokes' ability to bowl brisk medium pace will probably be enough to give him a starting place on April pitches, presumably ahead of the impressive Scott Borthwick, whose leg spin will be more favourable later in the season.
However, contract fulfilled, we'll know more when the many layers are donned and Essex roll into town to battle through the freezing conditions.