The rules of cricket…in French

This landed in my inbox this evening: the French rules of cricket, including the modes of dismissal. Or rather, “les suivants d’eliminations” (I think):

The French rules of cricket

I like lbw (obstruction) and hit-wicket (autodestruction). Download the PDF for more.

Duckworth Lewis “rules”

If you’re interested, and I doubt you will be, read this for info on how the Duckworth Lewis method is calculated. Only cricket could come up with something this complicated…

Umpires to be wired up to eachother

From the ICC:

The ICC has decided to link cricket umpires through wire to enable them to communicate with each other during a match.

Announcing this in London, ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said that trials of connecting the umpires would be held at the Johnnie Walker Super Series in Australia in October.

The two umpires on the field will be linked to each other, the third umpire, and microphones in the ground near the stumps, he said.

“Let’s get umpires used to this form of technology before we give them the added pressure,” The News quoted Speed as saying.

Meanwhile, the ICC Board also approved changes to one-day cricket likely to be trialed in the three-match series between England and Australia starting next month.

Under the changes, the teams will be allowed to a substitute to strengthen their batting or bowling. If, for example, a batsman is not used during an innings, he can be substituted to add an extra bowler. And, the field restrictions currently in force for the first 15 overs of a 50-over match will be extended for longer.

“We’ll trial these changes for 10 months and, if they make the game more interesting, then we’ll keep them,” said Speed.

No great change in the communications Umpires already have with eachother (they use walky-talkies at the moment to talk to the 3rd umpire: this “change” allows the two on-field umpires to chat to eachother, perhaps share a joke or laugh at a tail-ender). The significant change is – unless I’ve mis-interpreted the wording – they’ll have “access,” or will be able to listen to, the stump mic.

Like the other changes the ICC have recently made, which have caused a storm here at The COU, I’m equally confused about these. On occasion, umpires do have trouble hearing nicks and edges. Yesterday, and I can’t remember who the players were, an Australian nicked the ball behind – and no one, apart from the ‘keeper Jones, heard the edge. David Shepherd shrugged his shoulders, and it wasn’t until we saw (or heard) on TV there was a definate edge.

How distracting, how helpful will this technology be for umpires? There are now more aids for them than ever, with the option of referring dodgy decisions to the bloke upstairs (which they are obviously more inclined to do for fear of public retribution/humiliation). And I guess the percentage of correct decisions made for edges off the bat will increase – but at what cost? The game, and its changes, are moving so quickly – and the addition of technology has certainly been a boon for the couch-potatoes (raise your hand) – however, perhaps it’s my fear that increased use of technology removes umpires’ control of a match situation, and also has the effect of “de-romancing” the great game.

Ultimately, if it helps the umpires – and if the umpires want it – we should just accept it. The game’s rules, regulations and changes are moving along at a frightening pace though.

Substitutes in Cricket

This was mentioned a month ago, but I never thought it would be agreed so quickly. It’s ridiculous, dumbs down Cricket and is merely pandering to the TV companies to make cricket “appear” more entertaining.

From the ICC:

The CEC also approved the introduction of soccer-style replacements which will permit sides to replace a player at any stage of a match. The replaced player will be ruled out of the rest of the match while the replacement will be entitled to assume any remaining batting or bowling duties. Both players will receive a cap.

So, let’s see. England win the toss and bat. It’s likely to swing a bit under lights, with dew in the air, so they reckon on getting a big total first up – so they bear that in mind. They initially choose 4 bowlers, plus their all-rounder – but stumble to 180 all out. They then realise they could do with some extra pace so, when they field, they drop their weakest fielder with Darren Gough who, whilst not a “strong” fielder, can bowl some pace. Is this roughly the idea? If so, then it’s crazy.

As Jonathan Agnew remarks “I really do not believe that we want to see a situation in which you have an Americanisation of international cricket with a ‘bowling team’ and a ‘batting team’.” And this is exactly what could happen. Part of Cricket’s appeal, or rather skill for the captains, is selection issues before a game. Do we go with the extra bowler this time? Do we stick with 5 batsmen? Our all-rounder has emptied the local Thresher’s and is singing “Is this the way to Amarillo?” from the balcony – who should we call in instead? All of this is, and should be, decided before the game starts.

I also disagree that any player who is substituted, or acts as a sub, should receive a cap. This happens in Rugby and, I’m sure, Football – players come on for 10 minutes and are awarded a cap for only performing for a much smaller percentage of the game than their team-mates.

No, sorry – don’t like it. It might – might – make it slightly more interesting as to who or when a player should be substituted for/with – but the public are being treated like cretins here. We’re quite happy with it as it is, thanks very much. We pay to watch 22 players play cricket (22, not 24) – to bat, bowl, field and sledge. We like yorkers, stumps flying, boundaries and beamers. We like Cricket because it’s not Football – the game doesn’t need any more fancy frills than it already has. 20/20 has proved a great success because, I think, the format (and change) is simple: shorten it. But adding this new dimension is change for change’s sake, and is pandering to TV giants’ thirsty wallets and short attention spans.

They’ll be playing in pajamas next, you know…

Catches win matches: but be honest

Ponting’s called on Michael Vaughan and England to take fielders’ words on dubious catches this summer. This topic comes up in most Test series, especially major ones like The Ashes (which I’ve decided is worthy of capitalising the “The”), and the article makes mention of an incident involving Vaughan in the last Ashes (which I can’t remember…)

Vaughan angered the Australians during the second Test of the 2002-03 series, when he stood his ground despite assurances from Justin Langer at point he had taken a catch off the bowling of Andy Bichel.

Vaughan, who was on 19 at the time, refused to go and was given not out when the umpires referred the decision to the third umpire. He went on to make 177.

I’m in favour of such decision, but only if it’s enforced. It would only take one batsman to think “No way did he catch that – unless he has a third arm” and stand his ground, for all-out-war to take place. If Ponting is serious about it, Vaughan must be too and the umpires involved in the series should be consulted now. Ashes series, in the past decade – whilst dominated by Australia – have generally been very good natured, and no one wants to see on-field spats (well, apart from me – it adds some spice!).

Meanwhile, Ponting was ultra keen to show just how ready Australia are for this series:

“We probably had the best training session we ever had this morning,” Ponting said.

Hardly likely to say anything else, is he?

Ponting’s bat gets the ok

Ricky Ponting can use his metal-blade-of-a-bat which caused a bit of a hoo-har a few weeks back.

Are we seeing the end of the traditional noise of leather on willow, to be replaced by the rather less poetic sounding “Leather on Graphite”? Somehow lacks the romance conjured by the words leather and willow!

Police replacing umpires – ICC takes tough stance



DSC05403

Photo taken by Ric James @ Flickr.com.


Wonderful photo on Flickr – are Policemen replacing Umpires on the village green…? It’d cut down on ball tampering, that’s for sure!

Ball tampering allegations

Following Surrey’s alledged ball-tampering escapades, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire[1] are in the ball-tampering news today too. Somewhat depressing that I should celebrate my 500th post here with the evils of ball tampering, but it’s noteworthy and important to write about nonetheless.

Glamorgan – who like Surrey are having a pathetic season so far – coach Derrick alledged Gloucester bowler Steve Kirby “pursued a boundary into the car park at Sophia Gardens and scraped the ball on the hard surface, altering its condition to suit swing bowling.”

So, I guess, Derrick must have seen Kirby do this. Usual story – everyone’s backing eachother’s coach and captain and player, but it’s worrying that it’s happening at all. The Surrey incident is more pressing, if only because fingernails have been used – although I’d have thought concrete could do more hard than grubby old fingernails.

So the ECB are under pressure to fine Surrey – and I hope they do. It might even kick their season into touch, if it’s not already – disasterous season, isn’t it brilliant?

Despite all this, Derek Pringle aims to shed a warmer glow on the devilish occupations of ball tampering, arguing:

What they are actually about is another spat in cricket’s oldest rivalry – that between bowler and batsman.

And it’s a bloody good read. Hell – why am I so against ball tampering? I hate batsmen and their lazy, fashionista, always-fielding-at-slip ways. Bowlers around the world – pick your seams and gel your hair!

Jesting aside, and taking into consideration that Pringle is himself a bowler, he makes valid points – some of which nicely link back to our batting v bowling argument:

According to Smith, one bowler used an emery board strapped to a plaster on his non-bowling hand. Certainly, objects such as bottle-tops, nail files and penknives have been used in the past. Law 42.2, which deals with the match ball and changing its condition, should be more laissez faire, though only fingers rather than tools should be allowed to roughen and pick at the ball.

If that sounds too liberal, remember that batsmen have long been the recipients of every advantage going. Covered pitches, lightweight helmets and body armour, big bats that pick up like feathers, shrinking boundaries, have all been brought in to keep bowlers from planting their flag at the top of the hill.

Even as a bowler, I don’t think I can cross over to Pringle’s liberal stance. I know “ball doctoring” is as old as the hills, but there’s something clandestine about affecting the ball’s shape. Could it be said, though, that we are entering an era of bat-tampering, too? :)

Thoughts, disagreements etc all welcome. Have you ever picked the seam or “bottle-topped”?

[1] Some Americans pronounce this: “Glue Cester Shire” – which always makes me smile when I write it. You can imagine what happens with poor old Worcestershire (“Warrr cessterrr shire”)

“Put the pipe away, Piper!” Warwickshire keeper in drugs SHOCKER!

Pipe

Warwickshire ‘keeper Keith Piper has been summoned to an ECB disciplinary panel for testing positive on a “recreational drug.” Unfortunate surname to have, “Piper,” but not as a bad as Mr Bong, Mrs Roach, or “James Ecstasy Tablet”[1] I suppose. Most newspapers are calling Piper Mr Anonymous, apart from the Daily Telegraph who obviously don’t think much of him

[1] NB: I don’t know anyone called James Ecstasy-Tablet

“Our behaviour is improving.” What?

I just don’t know what the hell to make of this piece. Ponting says Australia’s (cricket team’s) behaviour is improving and the “public perception” is changing. Well, call me naive, but who said otherwise? Is this all about the whole Warne/Adams sledging debate and, if so, is this an indication that sledging is going to become more and more of an issue in cricket?

I remember in 2001, or around that time, Rahul Dravid and Michael Slater having problems. And I remember Ambrose and Steve Waugh in a bit of a tussle a few years before that (although in fairness, Richie Richardson had to drag Ambrose away…well, he could hardly have dragged Waugh [batting] away). What else has caused the Australian cricket team to have this apparent perception that their behaviour isn’t up to scratch? Sledging has gone on for so long, it’s part of a cricket’s amoury.

How long before match referees monitor sledging and set guidelines for what’s proper or improper?