Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Idle as Arlott

For a modern example of a good result apparently justifying no end of foolishness, I refer you to two dogged but somewhat unimaginative cricket professionals, Coach Flower and Captain Cook.

'The result completely vindicates the tactics' they waffled. 'We've won by over 200 runs, what is there to complain about?'

Let me tell you, then. First, one of the rules of professional sport is to press home your advantage. Did you do so? No.

Second, there is such a thing as the Met Office and they are not always numpties. Short-term forecasting is better now than it has ever been. 'A good chance of persistent rain tomorrow' is, er, a good chance.

Always enforce a follow on when you have bowled out a side in less than 50 overs; you will not be draining your bowlers of energy for the rest of the summer, particularly if you have a spinner to operate from one end enabling you to rotate the quicks. If you HAVE to bat again, see off the new ball and then get stuck in. Don't play for your average or for a century when quick runs are needed. And when you bowl at a team needing a world record score to win, don't be defensive in the field. Only one slip and sweepers on the boundary? Give me strength!

Flower and Cook's strategy was wrong from the moment that England bowled out NZ in the first innings. Cook's initial quick runs in the second innings were rendered far less valuable when he and Trott batted like Barnacle Bill Bailey trying to save a test match in the 1960s. It is hard to recall so stark an instance of giving up the upper hand, given the poor weather forecast.

Australia are already here in this country and they would have been watching. They might have been given a reminder of our toughness, as well as our talent. Instead, they saw a weakness. 'Mate' (they would have said to one another) 'these guys are pussies when it comes to knocking the opponent out'.

Get a grip, England management. And then don't let go. Simple.


Elby the Beserk said...

Agreed. And it's odd - Flower is Zimbabwean yes? And colonials are usually more up at at 'em than us Brits. Strauss a defensive captain as well, and I suspect Cook is rather following in his footsteps.

Regardless - playing not to lose against the Aussies, even at the relatively low ebb that they are currently in, is not advisable.

Batty in the attic said...

That is what happens when you get silly mid ons or offs with square legs in your team.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Never understood the game. I'm with Lord Melbourne; the English, not being a religious people, need cricket to give them an idea of what eternity means.

Elby the Beserk said...

Sebastian. Cricket is Civilisation. That is all you need to know.

idle said...

Elby is wise.

Cricket is comfortably the greatest game created by man. What imagination!

It is also an excellent proxy for war.

Thud said...

My last house backed onto a cricket club and whilst I found the sight and sounds comforting I had no idea what was going on, I'll try harder.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Well "civilisation" isn't a spectator sport, so to that extent I can agree with you.

Elby the Beserk said...

They used to teach kids how to play cricket at school. I started at 5. I was never that good at it - over 6 foot from an early age, I could swing the ball like buggery but never knew which way it would swing. I also had a prodigious fast leg cutter - but again, never knew when it would turn up. So 5 for 11 as I got in one school match could just as easily be 0 for 111.

Regardless, a day at the cricket is one of the great pleasures of life, and one of the few things I miss from being Bristol based, where I was 20 minutes walk from the County Ground.