December 2009
« Nov   Jan »

Benj Moorehead: Bonus Championship points

December 11th, 2009 by Benj Moorehead in County cricket, England

Point-scoring in county cricket is never a simple business. No three-for-a-win here. Instead, teams gather a hatful of points for a win, and then there are baffling bonuses for batting and bowling feats. Followers of the Championship are forgiven for wondering what a win means exactly. And the tinker-happy ECB has just announced more changes for 2010.

There will be 16 points for a win (compared to 14 last year) and three for a draw (four last year). Bonus points stay the same (five batting, three bowling), but teams will have 110 first-innings overs to scoop them up (10 fewer than in 2009). Quite obviously, this encourages positive cricket, and, as such, the changes should be applauded.

But could there not have been a more radical overhaul? Why, for instance, do we have to deal with such high numbers? The Australians don’t. They have six points for a win. There are no points for a draw, but to compensate, two more are awarded for a first-innings lead in matches that are drawn or lost.

Let’s put this in perspective. Victoria won the 2008-09 Sheffield Shield with 44 points: six wins (36 points) and four first-innings leads (eight points). Durham won the Championship with 240 points: eight wins (112 points), eight draws (32 points), 49 batting bonus points, 48 bowling bonus points and one point deducted for a slow over-rate. Need I ask which is easier to follow.

Bonus points remain controversial. While they may have some sense given our damp climate, it still asks the question: why should a team that performs better in the second innings suffer in comparison with sides who tend to produce their best cricket in the first innings?

Tricky issues without obvious solutions. But the ECB could start by reigning in the gratuitous point-awarding and provide county fans with a league system we can follow without reaching for the calculator.

Benj Moorehead is editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, England | No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2010 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved