Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Stop wasting time

Ever since I started watching cricket on TV on issue has raised its head time and time again: over rates. Hardly a match or two goes by without someone remarking that the over-rate is poor. So it was at Lords earlier in the week with India getting the criticism. Here are a few measures which would help:

1. Stop people moving behind the bowlers arm. It’s amazing this not only happens but it happens a lot. The administrators spend months planning some test matches. They fiddle with all sort until every little thing is perfect. We get four balls into a match and DOH, people can move behind the bowlers arm. It is ridiculous. Stop them; prevent them from being there; threaten them with expulsion. something. Sachin Tendulkar had lots of problems on Monday with people moving behind the bowlers arm and it wasted quite a bit of time. He shouldn’t have had the problem in the first place.

2. Drinks for batsmen. There is a drinks break every hour so why do batsmen have to have a drink or new gloves every ten minutes (yes Graeme Smith I am looking at you)? Make them wait until the hour is up.

3. Injuries to batsmen. This one David Lloyd gets in a lather about. If a batsmen is hurt either through injury or the ball hitting him he should have two minutes to get ready for the next ball. If he isn’t ready he should retire hurt and continue later. Bowlers don’t get a ten minute break if they stub a toe so why should a batsmen. They have plenty of protection- if they get hit it should be “get ready or retire hurt”. If they need a runner then they should either come out with one at the start of their innings or session.

4. Stop wicket keepers bowling. This doesn’t happen much but it did happen at Lords and wasted lots of time. If the wicket keeper wants to bowl then someone else should keep wicket for that session. We don’t need a protracted swapping of pads in the middle of a session.

5. Don’t go off for light unless it is at the end of the day. It is never that dark in the middle of the day. Sometimes it goes very dark but that is accompanied by lots of rain. The batsmen and fielders should just put up with it. They don’t go off because the ball is swinging a lot, so why for a bit of bad light?

6. Stop fielding substitutes. Players seem to be always leaving and re-entering the field. The substitutes have to swap and be moved into the correct position. Stop it. Don’t allow substitutes and fielders will not leave the field! On Monday I saw Anderson and Broad leaving the field together. That is fine but they shouldn’t get two substitutes there is no way they are injured.

I think that is enough of a rant for now. Does anyone have any more suggestions?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

DRS takes a leap backwards

So the Indians don’t like the DRS being used for LBWs. I had assumed this was for completely selfish reasons: they believed their batsmen would suffer compared to other countries. Today was a perfect example of this. Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina were both given not-out to balls which were not only clearly out but would have been overturned using the DRS system used against Sri Lanka. Billy Bowden seemed to claim that Raina’s decision was because he had hit it. He didn’t get near hitting it. It was simply a poor decision. We have had 2000 Test matches now and we have a system that can stop these poor decisions and we should be using it.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Party like its 1999

England will host India at Lords on Thursday. This will be the 2000th Test match! The first match now designated as a Test was in March 1877 at the MCG. The 1000th was played between Pakistan and New Zealand in November 1984. Test matches come thick and fast in 2011 and so I wonder how long it will be before the 3000th Test match. Of course that always assumes there is a 3000th Test match and that we are not just playing Twenty20 cricket. I am pretty confident that Test cricket will outlast the Twenty20 fascination mainly because Test matches, by far, produce the best cricket.

A few comments on the last 1999 matches:

A tied Test match is a one in a thousand happening: there have been two (both concerning Australia)

There have only been seven matches abandoned without a ball being bowled. Old Trafford and Dunedin hosted two each. Old Trafford ‘s were prior to World War II.

Only three tests have been won by a side that was made to follow-on. Not unexpectedly the recent two at Headingley and Kolkata are infamous . Australia was on the receiving end of all three turnarounds.

Sachin Tendulkar, who will play in the 2000th Test match, has scored 51 Test centuries. His nearest competitor is Jaques Kallis who has 40.

Muttiah Muralitharan has taken ten wickets in a match 22 times. His nearest competitor is Shane Warne who did it ten times (yes Murali more than doubled Warne’s ten wicket haul count)

Don Bradman has the highest batting average in Tests at an astonishing 99.94. His nearest competitor is currently Jonathan Trott at 62.23. Jonathan will also play in the 2000th Test.