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Cavalier cricket: when Bagenal Harvey brought stardust to the sport | Simon Burnton

Cricket was set on its lucrative path to the IPL by sport’s first super-agent and an all-star Sunday afternoon competition that forced the MCC into desperate action

It was exactly 50 years ago this week that the MCC’s Advisory County Cricket Committee took a decision that they hoped might, as the Guardian’s John Arlott put it in a news story, “change the shape and mathematics of county cricket” forever. That, as it turned out, was a significant understatement.

Their decision was to introduce, from the 1969 season onwards, a Sunday County League, with matches to be composed of two innings of no more than 40 overs. This, Arlott said, would “present the County game in a fresh way, which may well recall the deserters, attract new and regular spectators from an entire fresh (television) section of the population; and perhaps even achieve the financial solvency so lately tacitly regarded as impossible”. The only county to vote against the idea was Yorkshire, who eventually consented that they would fulfil fixtures on Sundays, though never at home. This form of the game was at the time known as “Cavalier cricket”.

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