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Cricket’s final over

Despite the renewed interest in cricket generated by a thrilling Ashes series, the English game is still dying and in the next few decades will cease to be a national sport in any meaningful sense. Was cricket inevitably doomed in the modern world? Or have the authorities and their innovations hastened its end?

As shadows lengthen and evenings shorten, cricket in September takes on an elegiac quality. There is more autumnal play than ever this year, and not only on village greens. The last test at the Oval begins on Thursday 8th September, while the county championship season now lasts almost until October.

Some of the reasons for this are stupid or ignoble. Every sports editor in London thinks that the cricketing authorities have made a mess of things. This year’s Ashes series was more eagerly awaited than any for years past, and has so far turned out to be intensely exciting. After…

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