Play Cricket for Love, Not Money
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.
Bryony Smith (Surrey Stars) at left and Alice Davidson-Richards (Kent)
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.
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.
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
Look further down that list, just one place, and you find
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.