Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Livening up those dull middle overs

I enjoyed my day at the Oval last Friday, and I enjoyed listening to the second game from Lord's on Sunday. But I didn't enjoy them because the cricket was great. I enjoyed the first because a kind man from Natwest insisted on buying me a beer every twenty minutes. I enjoyed the second because how can you not when Henry Blofeld is commentating with Angus Fraser?

Stephen Brenkley got it spot on in yesterday's Independent - 'between roughly the 20th over and the 40th in most innings of one-day internationals the game is put in a kind of suspended animation in which the bowlers bowl and the batsmen bat ... as if by unspoken agreement.'

I have come up with a plan to liven up these middle overs. First, leave one slip (at least) in place for the entire innings. Surely a 50-over match has yet to be played without a catchable edge flying through the vacant slip cordon. Retaining a slip would also persuade batsmen out of the 'run down to third man', forcing them into something less comfortable.

Secondly, something must be done about those mind-numbing singles to longs-on and -off. 96.5% of all runs scored in the middle 20 overs (roughly) are scored in singles straight down the ground. The bowler is happy to concede them, the batsmen happy to score them. That's not what sport should be about. Why not retain a mid-on and a mid-off, but also have a long-on and long-off to save the boundary?

All we need is an adventurous captain to take the lead and maybe, just maybe, we will have a revolution on our hands. Oh yeah, and get rid of the ridiculous 'power play' (a misnomer if ever there was one - shouldn't the word power conjure up images of excitement and ... well, power?).


  1. You picked a good one The Allrounder, but most of these one dayers are indeed hard to get enthusiastic about. how about banning them altogether and focus our domestic game on producing a side that is capable of beating the Aussies at test cricket on their own turf, as opposed to a range of mediocre teams who, on their day, can beat anyone, but sadly, for the most part, a day that very seldom comes around. I am not convinced about the 1st slip option. I am sure they would just find somewhere else to play the ball for their easy single. On that point, I cant understand why test cricketers are so happy to give batsmen 4 runs for an edge down through 3rd man? Final point of a more topical nature - can anyone remember a worse judged run by a top order batsmen in any international than that attempted the other day by Messers Shah & Collingwood.

  2. Thanks for the comment lazandkateirvine.

    I completely agree about the current craze of dispensing with third mans (should that be 'third men'?) in Test cricket. I feel like smashing my head against a brick wall everytime the ball is flukily thick-edged to the boundary (unless England are batting, of course). Presumably, captains think the third man is better employed in an attacking position, but surely by cutting off such an easy supply of runs, pressure builds on the batting side and wickets come anyway?