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since 1997 Feb 16

2018 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page : 16 Over + 4 Balls Cricket

 

Why Cricket's Like Chocolate

Now I'm sure you're far too young to remember but when I was a lad (sorry - but this note only starts like it's 'one of those' articles, I promise) I used to stop on my way back from school and buy a "wagon wheel". Not a real wagon wheel, obviously - we owned neither car nor wagon. Some of you may remember a confectionary of that name. As a lad it was possibly the largest item on the 'chocolate shelf' that I could afford with my pocket money.
Years later I spotted it in the shops again and it was a shadow of its previous self. At least it said it was a wagon wheel. It was more like a mini-minor wheel by comparison. And, I know you won't believe this, the price had more than doubled.
I was bemoaning its suffering and assumed its fate was long sealed in a conversation recently when someone assured me it was still around. I couldn't believe it! I described to him the last time I'd seen it and he said "it's nowhere near that big now". "That big!" - I couldn't believe my ears. It was smaller still - really? I didn't dare ask the price.
Now it's rather unfair of me to single out one particular confectionary. Is there one that hasn't suffered a similar fate? Perhaps it's good for our waistlines IF we can avoid the temptation to buy two as they are so small...
It occurred to me driving home from that function that chocolate bars were much like cricket really. When I started watching the men play (I think they still do but somehow these days I don't have time for a second sport) Tests were very much the thing - indeed county and Tests were the only professional cricket. When one-day cricket appeared I wasn't that disturbed. You didn't wonder what to do with the rest of your day when you had 60 overs a side to watch. You don't remember that? Yup it was 60!
Now I want you to admit that you know, and have known a few paragraphs back, where this is going. And, of course, you'd be right. I have made no real attempt to disguise the similarities.
First 60 overs a side turned into 50. Then players became tired at the end of a day of Test cricket and decided that 90 overs a day wasn't really on and bowled fewer than 90 more and more consistently. The powers that be made noises but basically let it go.
Then someone came up with the idea that to play even less would be exciting and Twenty20 was born. It turned out they had half a point (I won't grant them more than that as it's become a very predictable format, while 50 over still holds the interest of variations in play as the game progresses).
I came across this tweet just a few days after writing this piece, indeed a couple of days after I had originally posted this piece. My thanks to Ric for the info. This is from TOG of course.

Notice in particular the drop-off that Ric refers to. Almost 10 balls per hour less than in 2008! I only wish I had similar stats for the women's game and I suspect firstly you would not have seen such a drastic change, and secondly, their rates would better the 84.14 anyway.
Now someone has actually suggested we should get even less. They have honestly - I know you don't believe it but it's true. Hands up all those who think the price will go down in proportion. No one? I admit I didn't think you'd raise a finger let alone a hand.
If the argument is about fitting into FTA (free-to-air) TV then all you need to do is bowl like you did 10 years ago. Problem solved - no need for a format no one wants! [I have dealt with the FTA argument previously - a complete fallacy - so I won't bore you with that again.]
Never mind, I expect we'll keep turning up and paying up, grateful for the crumbs that are thrown our way. They say the secret of happiness in life is not to get what you want but to want what you've got (or are about to get). I'll try and remain happy with cricket - and with chocolate!

Controversy in West Indies

It wasn't long into the WWT20 (or WT20as I prefer to call it) when controversy reared its ugly head.
Now I have always argued that batsmen should not be allowed to run down the wicket. It happens far too often in county cricket and everyone ignores it. It is not fair on the team batting second, or even on the groundsman for that matter.
Suddenly (or is it 'suddenly'?) the Law is being enforced whereas, even at international level, it was always observed in the breach.
Now I have no problems with this at all - well, I lie, actually I have two. Firstly the 'danger area' is defined and you frequently see it as a red bar on your TV when the umpires are considering bowlers getting of the wicket so as not to damage it for the batsmen. Bowlers bowl to one side of the wicket or the other (sorry to state the blindingly obvious) and therefore their situation is somewhat different from that of the batsman. She stands centrally awaiting the delivery, strikes it, and then needs (she hopes) to run. She starts from a far different point! Getting off to the side (unless she cares to run an extra 2 yards or so, and turn through a right angle) is far, far more difficult. Indeed if she has advanced to strike the ball (and I do hope she will continue to be allowed to, or T20 cricket may become very bland indeed) she is already on that area - rule/law already infringed - an obvious nonsense.
My feeling is that the danger area, as defined from a bowlers' perspective, cannot be the same as that for a batsman. Some sensible allowance has to be made!
The other problem I have with this controversy refers directly to the current situation, rather than the future application of this principle. If umpires suddenly, very suddenly in fact, change their stance on how they intend apply this law, I trust the teams were informed well beforehand. It would seem to be unfair beyond measure to the first few teams out on the park if they were not.  I cannot state definitively they were or they weren't. Indeed I'd love to know. If they were then the batsmen have only themselves to blame. If not the blame must fall elsewhere!
If teams at club, county and junior levels were encouraged to stick to the Law then none of the angst in the WI needed to have happened.
I do feel however, that just using the current "bowlers'" danger area is not sufficient and some more definite ruling needs to be made. I'm sure all sides, umpires, players of all nations and players at all levels would just welcome a little more clarity and sensible application of the Laws. Is this a job for the MCC?

Bangladesh at Last

I have followed this sport for quite a number of years to the longevity of this web site will testify. However I have never watched players from quite a few counties indeed actually relatively few when you consider women's cricket is played all the way from Nepal to South America and I'd love to be able to add more of them to my photo archive. I intend springing a few of these on you around Christmas time, and seeing if you can guess the nationality of the players in question. But to this point I have never seen Bangladesh. Well I have had some minor success although the light was not great and the images would not stand very close examination. Nonetheless it was good to see a time, knowing they were almost certainly on the wrong end of a hiding, doing their best to stick to their guns. One player in particular impressed me with her "I am not going to be intimidated" stance.

Ayasha Rahman

This lady showed some real aggression! Scoring more than half her teams runs she just soldiered on when others found it especially difficult. The rain soaking the pitch earlier and weather conditions generally did not make for an easy time for anyone, bowlers, batsmen or fielders. Hats off t Ayasha!
I should add a footnote that you should be wary of names on shirts. They frequently did not correspond to names on the lists issued in the Press Box. I suspect that these players have a few they can chose from, so why shouldn't they chose what name they wish to play under?

Next Page : The 'Have's and Have Not's