17 July 2007

Walking...and various other things

Christopher Martin-Jenkins has written a piece for The Times that is very far-reaching in it's approach to varius problems with the game of cricket, and it makes for a short interesting read.

I've got a few issues/comments with what he says:

He suggests that everyone should walk. I would argue that if only we used technology to give caught behind decisions or bat pad catches, this would happen by default. Just like a batsman who knows he is out after a run out appeal is referred to the 3rd umpire walks to the pavilion without waiting for the decision, so a batsman waiting for the decision when he has nicked it would to. It's more of a stick rather than a carrot approach, granted, but it would work.

He also argues that a catch near the boundary edge should be a catch as long as the ball stays in the field of play, irrespective of whethere the fielder's body touches the rope, but this would need a lot of technology to sort out. You have to be able to draw a virtual line upwards vertically from the rope to the height of the catch to understand if the ball is over the line or not and surely that isn't practical. Achievable yes, but practical now, no.

4 days test matches made up of four 100 over days are also on CMJ's agenda - surely something too far reaching to have any realistic chance of being taken up (and forgetting how many days are cut short due to bad light anyway)? But I do agree with one of the reasons that he wants to condense games to 4 days - he would like to have a spare day that can be used to make up time lost earlier in the match....this is something I agree with.

Having found a point I agree with I'll leave you to read the piece for yourselves.

1 comment:

Em said...

I very much agree that everyone should walk when they know they're out, it certainly shouldn't be a case of whether everyone else knows you're out yet or not. The sane way to play is not to beat players in to submission over the fact that they can't get away with it, though. In general, you know when you're out and you know the ultimate concequence of that is that you have to walk: It looks like technology necessary to force people to accept that situation is the only feasable solution for the moment but it's a rather sorry state of affairs.

I've long been, to some extent, in awe of the brilliance of the rule regarding catches on the boundary, it is perfect formulated to make things perfectly clear-cut as far as whether the batsman is out or not and doesn't (again, as long as people are honest) require any special technology to adjudicate. The rule was written that way for a reason, there is absolutely no disputing a catch was a catch if it satisfies that rule, it's based almost entirely on the idea that a catch is only a catch if you can hold it. If you catch a ball inside the boundary and go over it,you obviously weren't able to hold it and by the proposed new rule, you'd be in the ridiculous situation where people may catch a ball and dive feet-first over the boundary, arm outstretched behind them to cancel their momentum and keep the ball inside and by no means is that catch under any kind of control, but it would still be out. Regardless whether the technology to enforce a particular rule is practical, you've got to first acknowledge that some rules are simply too anorak-driven to be taken seriously, there is a great deal of power in simplicity.

As far as four day matches, I agree wholeheartedly. I hadn't noticed it, but games running progressively slower is not a good thing and he's perfectly right that you could condense a five day game in to four days if people were ready to deliver and face balls at a rate befitting that level of the game. I don't particularly like the idea of run penalties for bowling slowly, artificially altering score seems inherantly counter to the ideal of sportsmanship, but I can't suggest an alternative.