Monday, 16 January 2017

Flat Track Bullies

"It's a batsman's game" so the old saying goes but having a look around the world, it really is starting to look that way. 400 is the new 300 in One Day Cricket, scores of 200 aren't safe in T20 cricket and we even saw a 223 chased down recently in the Big Bash. But is it all becoming a bit boring? Is cricket in danger of killing the goose that is laying the golden egg? Bigger bats, tracks as flat as the lager served up at Lord's and boundaries that make the KwikCricket kids ones look big at times are all part of the reason. But are we getting a bit bored of it all?

The Big Bash and all that razzamatazz
Virat Kohli's knock yesterday was outstanding and even as a one eyed Englishman, I had to acknowledge an innings of a genius. India were 63-4, chasing 350 and walked it. There was an inevitability about it. 350 is not safe these days even in those circumstances, especially when you have the likes of Virat at the crease. The thoughts of many here in the UK though, is can he do it on a green top at Headingley?

For me though, something needs to be done. Like anything in life that is good - a decent chicken jalfrezi, a well poured Guinness or the Mrs being in a rampant mode after watching Tom Hardy on TV - it can all get a bit boring after a while. OK, OK...the first two might never get dull! The same goes for six hitting these days. I don't get particularly excited when someone whacks one into the crowd these days. The monster hit last week that did the rounds on social media by Chris Lynn in the Big Bash, made me watch a few times but even then, you just shrug your shoulders and think, well the bats are bigger these days.

Kohli...can bat with his eyes closed

Talking of the Big Bash, I saw that a boundary was 55 to 60 yards in it the other day. What in the name of Jumping Jehosaphat is that all about? That to me, is manufacturing the game. You need a pair of binoculars just to see the boundary fielders. Mishits sail for six and umpires are getting RSI from raising both of their arms above their head.

Third man has now become a catching position.

Grounds around the world have become too similar also. Not many wickets have the carry of Johannesburg, so batsmen can go onto the front foot without fear of getting one in the chops. Where is the competition between bat and ball? With the white ball, once the shine (or lacquer) has gone the ball does nothing. I reckon Alastair Cook's annual tax return has more deviance, as the ball is straighter than one of his press conferences. Where have the wickets with bounce gone? The West Indies no longer has them, Perth by all accounts isn't as quick and here in the UK, wicket keepers are spending more time around first slip's toes than your average foot fetishist. It is a surprise that more perverts haven't decided to don the gloves.

The game needs to do something. There should be uniformity in boundary sizes with 70 metres minimum. There needs to be a bigger seam on the white ball to make the game fairer to all parties and I am sure that ball manufacturers can do something that makes the white ball swing or seam a little after four or five overs.

"Oh look, another 6"

Finally whilst on my soap box about this soap opera... Why fireworks at the end of every game? Why bloody fireworks? It's a game of cricket where one side wins and loses, not always may I hasten to add, by having more skill in the shorter format. So why do we go through this rigmarole of setting off enough gunpowder to keep Colonel Gaddafi in a palace? That is one thing that can Guy Fawkes off. Or does KFC who sponsor the event not really stand for Kentucky Fried Chicken but really the Koala Firework Company and there is a massive back hander going on somewhere?

T20 has brought many good things to the game and in turn, Test cricket is getting stronger because of it. You can't knock the crowds it brings in to the game either, although I am not sure that the focus is entirely on the pitch by all who attend. However, the more people who watch is surely better for the game? T20 cricket around the world is good fun but we need to have a balance. For me the best games of cricket are when the bowling side has just the edge over the batsman. Just.

Let's not kill the game by manufacturing it.


  1. As you said, soap opera, not cricket. Chill. It will only work in guaranteed climate countries anyway. If it fails the losers will soon start returning to the brassroots. At least we can say we lived through the fad! Some of it quite entertaining!

  2. Sunil Narine is swinging off spinners. As for excitement, sure the 6 isn't as rare, but what about the dot ball? When does a dot ball get you cheering in a test? In a T20 game they're great from the get go. If you're finding short form cricket boring, I suggest the problem is with how you watch and what you expect, not the game. Attendances and tv ratings would agree.

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