Posts tagged ‘batsman’

No To Big Boy’s Toys. Is There Another Option?

” A big boy needs a big bat” says West Indies opener Chris Gayle in response to the International Cricket Council’s proposed crackdown on the size of bats ahead of the World Cup.

He has received strong support from former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, “I think that if players like Gayle and Warner are strong enough to lift a bat that heavy at that speed, then good for them, it makes the game a hell of a lot more exciting.” He is quoted as saying.

However not everyone agrees. After all the modern game of cricket, especially in Australia has become a game totally dominated by batsman as the wickets already give the bowlers little help. Many remember how tennis has changed dramatically and become all about power rather than finesse since wooden racquets became a thing of the past. Has the power really made Tennis a better game to watch?

Former Australian Test Captain Ian Chappell is one man who backs the ICC in this move. He has said that the increase in the thickness of the willow put the umpires and bowlers at risk of injuries. Not a reason many expected. Chappell however saved his main criticism of the ICC claiming that they had woken up too late and being behind on so many issues affecting the game, including the size of bats.

“At long last the ICC has decided there’s a problem with the bats. They are being hailed as too good and disturbing the balance between bat and ball. This combined with the fact that the ICC also recently decreed that shorter boundaries are contributing to the problem, is a classic case of being way behind the game.” He said.

One has to agree, and if the ICC does not soon start monitoring the state of the wickets prepared and ensuring that there is something in them for the bowlers we are likely to see the standard of bowling dip even further than it already has at international level in the past ten years. What incentive is there for a bowler to toil so hard when the odds are stacked so heavily against them.

Another change we have discussed on the show on many occasions is that the ICC should take away the restriction on the number of overs bowled. Batsmen do not have to retire at 50, so why should a bowler have to stop after 10 overs. People want to see a battle between bat and ball, and if a team has a bowler like Glenn McGrath who is hard to get away, or a Shane Warne pinning down one end why should they be prevented from using them? If the game is going to become more of an even contest then something has to start going in favour of the bowler.

As for the size of the bat, it has impacted the game. Has it had a positive impact? Some will say yes, as has been shown, but for everyone who says yes, there will be another who says no.

February 10, 2015 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

Another Innings Declared too Soon.

There is no doubt that the passing of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes at a time when he looked certain to return to the Test match arena has rocked this sports mad country. The way in which he lost his life seems unbelievable.

There have been shouts for helmets to be revised, as on this occasion the ball evaded the helmet when it struck the fatal blow. There has been talk of no longer bowling bouncers, or short rising balls aimed at the batsman’s body. These are all natural reactions, but over reactions.

One thing that cricket should remember is that this was a very rare occurrence. If it wants to act responsibly it should ensure that all playing the game learn to play as those of yesteryear learned, by keeping your eye on the ball at all times. Too many young players turn their head away when a short ball is bowled at them and expect a chest pad or helmet to protect them. The best way to protect yourself is to learn the basics properly, and that includes evading rising balls; the plethora of padding available these days and T20 style cricket, where technique is often left in the pavilion has meant the basic rules have been forgotten.

In fact the past few days have highlighted the fact that other cricketers too have lost their lives playing the game in recent years.

Just last year South African Darryn Randall aged 32 who played for Border was hit on the side of the head when attempting a pull shot in a South African domestic match. The wicketkeeper-batsman collapsed and was rushed to hospital, but he died from the blow.

Also in 2013  up and coming player Pakistani player Zulfiqar Bhatti aged 22 was struck in the chest by the ball while batting during a domestic game and fell to the ground. He was too was sadly pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Former Indian one day international Raman Lamba in 1998 was hit on the head while fielding during a club match in Dhaka. He went into a coma three days later, before being pronounced dead.

Former England opening bat Wilf Slack also passed away while playing, but of a heart problem.  Slack collapsed and died during a domestic match in Banjul, Gambia. It was later revealed he had suffered four blackouts in previous matches, but despite carrying out tests, doctors were unable to diagnose the cause of his death.

Then there have been players who have been lost to the game too soon off of the field of play and Ben Hollioake’s name is one that jumps out. Another that many cricket fans in Australia will recall is the name Archie Jackson, who passed away during the “Bodyline Tour” of 1933 aged just 23. He wrote for the Brisbane Mail and insisted that Bodyline was legitimate, held no threat to the game, and that it could be combated which was a minority view in Australia at that time.

Jackson was destined for great things and he left the world far too young aged just 23 and having played 8 test matches and having scored 474 runs at an average of 47.40. He suffered a severe pulmonary haemorrhage. Members of the English and Australian teams visited him in hospital during his last days. On 16 February 1933, Jackson became the youngest Test cricketer to die until Bangladeshi Manjural Rana in 2007; who died in a motorcycle accident in the West Indies. The nation mourned his passing as one.

Philip Hughes is another who has left us far too young and his passing will witness a similar outpouring of emotion in Australia, to a level not seen since probably the passing of Jackson.

The Test Match continued in 1933 and one feels that if the players feel they can play that the Test Match next week should also go ahead. It has been suggested that as Hughes was about to make his return to the side he should be named twelfth man in tribute. This would be a wonderful and fitting gesture, although he would obviously much rather have been playing.


November 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

Magnificent Sangakkara

Congratulations to Kumar Sangakkara on what has been a memorable week for the Sri Lankan batsman.

First up he made is maiden test triple century, and innings that was his ninth double century and one that now leaves him second only to the great Sir Donald Bradman who had 12 scores of 200 or more.

Sangakkara also became the ninth and fastest test batsman to reach 11,000 test runs in a list headed by India’s Sachin Tendulkar with 15,921.

Not happy with becoming the third Sri Lankan batsman to register a triple century in a test match (Jayawardene 374 and Jayasriya 340  being the others) Sangakkara went out and notched a century in the second innings against Bangladesh. This achievement makes him only the second cricketer to score a triple century and a century in the same test match. Graham Gooch having been the first to achieve this in 1990 at Lords. HIs tally of 424 runs in the match fell short of Gooch’s record of 456 aggregate score.

Many will try and diminish Sangakkara’s achievement, but to as the much used cliche says you cannot determine your opposition. He also had to still apply himself. If it were that easy how come few have achieved the feat previously.

Whatever way you look at it, he has had a remarkable week, although it did all end rather ignominiously. He had hit a six to bring up his century in the second innings and notch a 144 ball hundred, but was bowled the very next ball trying to sweep Sohag Gazi.

February 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

The Tail of Runs

Last Summer in England there were many who said the Ashes series was closer than the 3-0 victory to the hosts reflected. The first test in Australia which saw Australia worthy winners by 381 runs proved that this may well have been the case.

In the series in England, Australia’s bowlers did their job and also propped up the batting chipping in with crucial scores that gave the team some respectability, where the team failed was the top order specialist batsmen. England by comparison, also bowled well, but their top order managed to score more runs, mainly thanks to the fine form of Ian Bell, and scored more than their Australian counterparts. Bell was the only batsman to average over 50 in that series. The roles may well be reversed this summer in Australia.

Prior to that when Australia was in possession of the Ashes even when both top orders were scoring runs it was the middle order or tail for Australia that helped steer them to victory, often compiling an extra 100-150 runs whilst England’s lower order struggled to add 50. With conditions being very different in Australia to England this may well be the factor that decides the series.

In England incredibly England failed to pass 400 in any test in the series, while Australia failed to pass 300 in the three matches that weren’t affected by rain. Ian Bell became the man of the moment scoring hundreds at crucial times.

In this first test match, Australia owes its victory to the first innings efforts of Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson. It was their batting that swung the game Australia’s way. Then Johnson was lethal with the ball, finally being used to best effect as a bowler, and he lead the way for Clarke  and Warner to take the game out of Australia’s reach. Haddin’s innings though should not be underplayed, he may not have achieved the hundred that Bell managed in England, but had he not stayed at the crease the game could well have taken a very different turn.

England need to sort out their batting order if they are to challenge Australia. The different conditions in Australia and the manner in which Jonathan Trott was dismissed would tend to say that he is not up to batting at first wicket down in this environment. It may be wiser to have Joe Root, who has opened the batting to go in at three. Bell again should bat higher than he currently is, and it may benefit England to have Trott and Peterson come in at five and six.

Australia were worthy winners of that there can be no doubt, England will look to fight back, but let us hope the ugly scenes and verbal slanging that was part of the game are tempered or this series could well be remembered for those actions or words rather than the cricket played. Also, with Australia having been starved of sporting success for a while could spill over into the crowd and the game does not need to witness that.


November 25, 2013 at 9:19 am 1 comment

No Need to Get the Ump.

It has been interesting to read the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) assessment of the umpires, as well as the Decision Review System (DRS) analysis, from the fantastic Trent Bridge cricket Test match between England and Australia that took place last week

It has been revealed that the umpires made a total of 72 decisions, which is apparently well above the average,- which is 49 – for a DRS Test match. The umpiring team was assessed to have made seven errors during the match; three of which were uncorrected decisions and four were corrected using the DRS.

According to the ICC the correct decision percentage before reviews stood at 90.3 per cent but rose to 95.8 per cent as a result of using of the DRS. This increase of 5.5 per cent in correct decisions, matches the average increase from DRS in Test matches during 2012-13.

The three decisions that were adjudged as ‘uncorrected errors’ were an LBW against Jonathan Trott, where a correct LBW decision was overturned. The others involved, not surprisingly Stuart Broad. One was what was a blatant catch at slip that was given ‘not out’ and the other an LBW when he did not offer a shot. These decisions could not however be corrected as Australia had no reviews available.

Not surprisingly the ICC are happy with the performance of the umpires and when you read those statistics their performance over five days of intense cricket was in the main extremely good.

“The umpires did a good job under difficult conditions. This reflects the caliber of umpires Dar, Dharmasena and Erasmus who have consistently performed at a high level. However, like the players, umpires can also have good and bad days but we all know that the umpire’s decision, right or wrong, is final and must be accepted.” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson is reported to have said.

The trouble is with technology available there is the opportunity to eradicate all umpiring errors, but then the element that has been so crucial to cricket being a game, where some decisions go against you and some go for you, will vanish. If there is doubt the decision must err in favour of the batsman. Yet with technology and massive amounts of money at stake for the players, as one bad decision can end a career or lose a series, it is understandable that people want every decision to be right. Yet if they were all 100% correct what would fans have to talk about?

One of the great conversations post game in any sport are the decisions made by referees and umpires. Yet just as a wicketkeeper may drop a catch, a batsman plays an horrendous shot due to a lack of concentration, so too do umpires make mistakes. That too is part of the game, that they make so few should be applauded.

It is time to recognise what a good job most of them do, and remember that at the end of the day it is just a game, it is entertainment.


July 17, 2013 at 9:18 am 2 comments

Time to Reverse?

On last night’s show following our revealing interview on the state of the game in England with Doug Steward from Hip Cricket, John Lee made an interesting observation on the development of players.

His view was that cricket has things back to front when it comes to bringing players through, and the more you think about it he could well be right.

Rather than introducing players to the game via T20 and the one day game, wouldn’t the game be better served making players play the longer version of the game first where they can establish a good technique and learn to build an innings? Then introduce them to the shorter versions of the game, where with a good technique they will be able to hit through the line of the ball effectively, and improvise occasionally.

Another point that was raised was how children are being restricted in the number of overs they are allowed to bowl. We are then surprised when they step up a level and suffer injuries. If you ensure that a young bowler’s technique is good, then the more he bowls the stronger he will become and the less likely he is to break down.

It would appear that the cotton-wool approach is in fact proving detrimental to the game and maybe some of the ways things were done in the past were not all bad.

November 8, 2012 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

One Day Series – Ridiculous!

Australia has won the One day series against England and to be honest, most people really couldn’t care. The Ashes were the big one and this is little consolation. Michael Clarke will however be pleased that he could finally score some runs, although whether this will quell the booing that greeted the Australian Captain only time will tell. IF he lifts the World Cup that should silence his critics.

This one day series each summer has definitely lost its appeal and England Batsman Kevin Pietersen’s criticism criticised of the format of the six-week long tournament, saying the gaps between matches were too long may be on the money.

He is quoted as saying “How can the England team play once and then in six days’ time play again, and then in six days’ time play again, it’s ridiculous but there’s nothing we can do about the schedules.” No doubt many will dismiss his valid point as simply whingeing, Cricket Australia are bound to.

Whether this will hamper England’s World Cup bid only time will tell. England have never won the ICC World Cup and have been losing finalists on three occasions and are the only team to have made it to the final never to have lifted the trophy.

England will leave for the World Cup in the subcontinent just three days after their ongoing tour of Australia, which began in October last year.

February 1, 2011 at 11:44 am 2 comments

Bowling The Fans Over – Saving One Day Cricket

Another poor crowd yesterday at the MCG for the One Day International between Australia and The West Indies, is this a concern for One day Cricket as a whole and a bigger concern for next year’s World Cup?

Australia are the best team in the world yet the punters still did not come even to say that they had watched the best exponents of this form of the game. Chris Gayle one of the most exciting batsmen in the world since compatriot Sir Vivian Richards was also not a big enough draw card to get people rushing through the turnstiles.

Yet people seem surprised at the waning crowds and put it down to the birth of twenty20 cricket, even though the writing had been on the wall for a long time, as the last World Cup indicated. The trouble was no one wanted to see the signs.

Leading up to the last World Cup the statistics were telling the story, in something like 80% of all one day games the team batting first won the game. So the battle the fans had paid good money to see rarely eventuated. The introduction of Powerplays and bumpers has not helped re-invigorate the game, and let’s be honest there are too many games.

Peter Roebuck, has suggested bringing the boundaries in and awarding eight runs for a shot that clears the boundary. He also has suggested an earlier start, which may be feasible in Australia, but probably not in the UK, where the ball will seam a lot more, and you will see the team batting first disadvantaged.

Rather than making radical charges to the fabric of the game, why not go back to making it more like the game it was when the Gillette Cup started in England in 1963?

In those days there were no field placement restrictions. Why not remove the restrictions completely and make it a battle of wits and wills, as cricket was always intended to be?

However the one rule that we would like to see removed is the one restricting the number of overs a bowler is allowed to bowl in a match. Batsmen do not have to retire at 50 or 100, so why should a bowler be forced out of the attack when he has bowled his allotted overs?

Cricket is supposed to be a battle between bat and ball, but with wickets favouring the batsman, and bowlers limited to how many overs they can bowl, the batsman will always hold sway.

Imagine Shane Warne still in the game, bamboozling batsman at one end and having the stamina to reel off twenty five consecutive overs, as the batsmen still try to amass as many runs as possible. Suddenly you have a spectacle that is far more worthwhile viewing.

If a bowler is on top and has the stamina to keep bowling, why should he be forced out of the attack?
Rather than introducing new gimmicks to the game, we suggest that the administrators go back to basics, and take the game back to what it was traditionally, a battle between a bowler and a batsman, and may the best man win.

We believe that this type of contest would appeal to the fans as well as the players. But don’t over due the amount of games played, as we have witnessed in recent years!

February 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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