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2018 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page :  Wisden Covered

Play Cricket for Love, Not Money

Check out this article in a New Zealand 'newsroom'. In case the article has been deleted it concerns a Kiwi player who was banned from playing for 6 months because she placed a $2 bet. Her name is Hayley Jensen.
This is something of a thorny issue. Now Jensen has served her sentence and is back playing and I have no problems with that. If the authorities feel that was the correct 'punishment' and she's served it - then case closed.
On the more general point that this raises, though, what should be the attitude of the cricketing authorities to betting. Pretty obviously it would be wrong to bet on a match you are about to play in, but what about on another match. Well, perhaps best not, for you may well have friends and acquaintances playing in that match. The whole situation gets more problematical if you fancy a bet on the a Premier League football match for instance. Now I have no idea whether I'd consider this advisable or otherwise from an ethical point of view, but I would consider it foolish, although $2 is perhaps not a great sum to throw away.

Three New Faces in England Squad**

[Bryony Smith][Alice Davidson-Richards]

Bryony Smith (Surrey Stars) at left and Alice Davidson-Richards (Kent)

[Katie George]

Katie George playing in an England warm-up Match

Then and Now

The following twitter exchange shows two very remarkable stats. The first may not be a surprise. Centuries are scored far more frequently today than in previous time (the 60s is the rough equivalent timescales compared to the present day). I have written before on the way this game is becoming a batsman's paradise and a bowler's nightmare. Hypocaust pointed out later that the wickets fall at roughly similarly intervals so bowlers are rewarded in much the same way as before, their wickets will simply cost them more. This does mean that spectators are arriving on the boundary in greater numbers than before and the sport will/is changing rapidly for this very reason as the media and cricketing authorities start to wake up to the fact there's "money in it!"
For those, very possibly most of you who will read this, will not have seen JB play. My opinions of her talent have been typed many times before and my reply above shows how I felt on JB's presence at the crease.
The second stat is very revealing. Her rate of scoring of 100s almost exactly coincides with that of Meg Lanning. It always seemed to me that JB stood head and shoulders above others at the time. Only one player came close. Lanning has had a major injury recently. If she's back with the same fervour as before, it'll be interesting to look at these numbers again in a few years time.

When No News May Be Good News

Well, we'd all like more publicity for this sport, I'm sure. We welcome the increased number of newspaper articles you'll find linked on the home page in the right hand column - of course we do. We also would, I'm sure, like to see fewer adverts cluttering the pages we visit, but there's a price to pay for getting all this 'free' information. [I say 'free' as I've no doubt you're paying to connect the screen on which you are reading this to the Internet, a cost we often forget]. A few quality action shots also brighten up any article. But...
But, can you believe all you read? Well sadly, women's cricket has become no exception to that 'fake news' that's all over the 'Net these days. In just the last week we've had a player credited with dozens of England appearances when she hasn't ever actually played for England at all, and another credited with making her debut when in fact she's yet to do so. An attempt was made to re-phrase the latter when the news source made a remark about donning an England shirt (or similar description) implying  this was a new phenomenon when actually she had done so, playing for either the 'A' side or the Academy, a while ago not just recently.
Now I do NOT blame the players for these errors. I have no doubt they did not try and mislead anyone or give any false information to journalists. I am not saying either that it is necessarily a deliberate placing of 'fake news' in the public domain although one can never rule that out, just that it's probably shoddy journalism by a writer who (a) knows little of the sport, (b) can't be bothered to research the facts carefully or (c) ask someone who knows! There are plenty of bloggers out there (a few listed here) who I am sure could correct them. In fact, if you want reliable information, visit those sites and follow those writers on social media. Then you will be able to be sure you are getting the correct information! You'll find no fake news in their writing!
Postscript: And more recently, if by only a couple of days, the stated occupation of one player is almost certainly inaccurately described. Not wishing to embarrass the person in question I'll not name her but she'd would have been one of the youngest ever to attend university if the description is indeed accurate. 'Fake news' again? Probably not - just some publicity guy trying to 'big up' the individual in question, or maybe not applying common sense to what information he was given. Once again it was almost certainly without the player's knowledge.

A Record or Not a Record?

I regularly use the stats on this site and others around to check scores, both innings and individual when I suspect some kind of record may be at risk or actually have been broken. When I find the answer it sometimes sets me wondering about the recognition we give players for these results.
Take for instance Danni Wyatt's amazing 124 from 64 balls. Checking this out I discover that Meg Lanning once scored 2 more against Ireland. Fair enough, you may say, Ireland may not be in the top 5 but they are in the top 10 - at number 10. Hard then to argue with that record although I am unsure of their ranking at the time that innings was played.

[Danni Wyatt]

However, if you'd been lucky enough to watch both innings, I wonder which you would place the higher value on. Which was the finest innings?
However it set me wondering about records that were made against teams like Denmark and the Netherlands. Would that be a bit more problematic? The last time I saw the Netherlands team in action they were attempting to get promotion from a low division (three I think it was) into the next rank. I have never seen a Danish team in action sadly and not sure that they even have one now. (Please tell me if they do!)

This table shows top run scores in ODIs
As I have typed before, I really can't take Belinda Clark's 229* against Denmark seriously, fine a player as she was. The fact that the next highest score, even in the days of much higher innings scores 20 years later is 41 runs behind suggests it's an anomaly, and I'd have to give the gold medal to Deepti Sharma for her innings against Ireland. But should you start ignoring some numbers? A correspondent has suggested that to do so would open up a whole can of worms, and she's probably right. You need only to look at the opposition to know which was the finest innings, and I mean no disrespect to Denmark in that I'm sure they did all they knew to get her out or restrict her scoring.
Look further down that list, just one place, and you find Chamari Jayangani who made just 10 runs less than Sharma and remained not out. Her runs were made against what some would consider the best bowling side in the world at the time. Is that in a different class again?
If I've come to any conclusion at all it's that stats can tell only so much and that context is everything. Yes, we'd all like to say we'd broken one record or another, but next time you hear a commentator say "that's a record", check it out for yourself. It may, and I only say 'may' alter the value you place on that performance.

Next Page : And more numbers to think about, what do you make of some stats in cricket?