Tuesday 30th June
With only one unimportant Premiership match yesterday (unless you support Burnley or Palace, cricket has taken over the front end of the sport sections and back end of those without one.
The big story today is Ben Stokes taking over as captain of England, which is covered in all of the papers today. In addition to the news bit, there are some thoughtful articles about the man who has gone from zero to hero.
In the Times, Michael Atherton says “Stokes deserves a go but the job must not burden him, while Nasser Hussain, in the Mail, only sees him as a “perfect stand in”. The Telegraph has Stokes joining the campaign for club cricket.
The Telegraph also has a story under the headline “County cricket back – and women will follow” – not sure that’s the right order. Women’s cricket only gets a last-line mention in the Mail coverage of the return of county cricket – which is better than the Times!
The financial crisis at the FA, with 124 redundancies is covered in the Mail and the other papers. Racial bias in football commentary and Black Lives Matter also feature in most of the papers.
Monday 29th June
Ben Stokes will captain England for the first Test, according to the Mail, while Joe Root will focus on his family.
It seems that Stuart Broad’s motivation is the biggest issue of the day, with the Times, the Guardian and the Mail covering the story. Broad also captures the headlines in the Telegraph, talking about retaining the “old guard” bowlers to win against the West Indies.
For the first time since I can remember, cricket features on the front page of the Times, with a brilliant picture of a youngster chasing a cricket ball at Wimbledon Cricket Club. This theme is picked up by Michael Atherton in the Times, writing about Boris Johnson’s off-the-cuff comment about vectors, which has meant no date for when club cricket can start again.
The cancellation of Wimbledon is covered in all of the papers as one more nail in the coffin of our sporting summer.
The PM will start a decade of spending on schools, we read on the front page of the Times. I hope some of it will go on making sure more children play more sport.
Sunday 28th June
The front page of the Telegraph Sport section is dominated by “ECB vows to take action over lack of black players”. This is developed in a double-page special report on Cricket and Race, with three separate stories and an infographic showing that just three black players made their England debut in the 2010’s after none in the 2020’s.
The Mail has an exclusive interview with Clare Connor under the headline “We need statues of women at Lord’s”. Our new President also tells the Mail that she wants the “long-time men-only club to be leader of “inclusion and diversity” and is looking at ways to encourage these two aspects. However, with only 711 women members out of 18,000, she knows she must look for other strategies.
The Sunday Times leads its cricket pages with “Archer v Chase: the prequel” as a lead-in to the West Indies Test series.
The only story in the Observer is a feature on Jack Leach: “Fighting talk from Leach after illnesses.”
“Sorry Bill, this reeks of a stitch-up: World Rugby’s review of the “old guard” is set up to fail. After all, turkeys do not vote for Christmas” are the words of Stephen Jones in the Sunday Times. He talks about the review into World Rubgy not being “fit for purpose” and says the composition of the review group “chills the blood”. Rugby is not the only sport that needs some high-level, high-quality independent advice on what good governance should look like.
Saturday 27th June
The main cricket new today is about the arrival of Pakistan, with the team having to spend two weeks at New Road, Worcester in quarantine, after ten of the squad remained in Pakistan after positive tests (Times and Guardian).
In the Telegraph, there is another feature as part of the “Bring back club cricket!” campaign, with the shadow Sports Minister claiming that abandoning recreational cricket “could be catastrophic for clubs”. That the cricket ball has been singled out as a “vector for disease” is mentioned in Simon Briggs’ Final Whistle column.
The Mail has a long piece about England spinner Amar Virdi’s attempt to become the third player from a Sikh background to play for England (following Monty Panesar and Ravi Bopara).
“A lesson for rivals in love, respect and an eye for detail” is one of the more thoughtful pieces – by Henry Winter in the Times – among the saturation coverage of Liverpool’s success.
It’s not cricket……
“Only nuts-and-bolts reform will make us better in this new world” is the headline for an op-ed piece in the Telegraph. Chimes with what MCC needs in my book.
Thursday 25th June
“MCC lets wealthy pay to jump 29-year queue”
Times, 25th June 2020
MCC has rarely made the news this year but on Thursday 25th June 2020 the Times ran a story – in the news section – following the Annual General Meeting. The sale of Life Memberships dominated the AGM, having proved to be the only matter of real interest on the agenda. The Chairman had chosen to take any discussion of governance off the agenda because of drafting errors in an appendix to the meeting papers.
The story by Ivo Tennant, an MCC member, focused on the key issue of how the wealthy would be able to jump the 29-year queue to become a member of MCC. For the first time in the Club’s history, the really rich would be able to join the most exclusive group of MCC members: the Royal family and Prime Ministers.
The reason for allowing those with no links with MCC, but “£85,000 or higher” to take their seats in the Pavilion, is the need for capital. Those with cash can buy the cachet of MCC membership.
The membership were offered a binary choice by the Committee: approve the recommendation or “pause” the half-built Compton and Edrich stands, at a cost of millions.
There was brief reference to the threat to the Chairman posed by a vote of no confidence.