15 August 2010

Clever tactics from Paul Best?

England Under 19s won their ODI game against Sri Lanka on Friday easily in the end, even after rain had interrupted the match and meant that Duckworth Lewis had to come into play. But there was an interesting incident when in persistent rain England's skipper, Paul Best, caught one of the Sri Lankan's a few balls before 20 overs had been completed and - realising that England were ahead on D/L but that 20 overs needed to be completed for it to come into play - immediately dropped it again. His thinking was that a wicket would have increased the chances of the umpires taking the players off for rain before the 20 overs were up, robbing England of certain victory.

As the bowler, I imagine Luke Wells would have had mixed feelings, but it also calls into question whether a deliberate drop is within the spirit of the game. In the end the players were able to come back out after a rain break and complete the match, all be it with Sri Lanka's overs reduced, so it didn't matter. But either way, I think it was a very sensible tactic to ensure that England won the game and I don't see why it's been suggested that it was outside the spirit of the game. Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

seems sensible to me.

Dhiraj said...

My initial thought would be that the anti-match-fixing police would be interested in deliberate drop catches. Opening up an unnecessary can of worms there.

In this instance, I think the captain Paul Best makes a rational decision on an irrational feeling that at a fall of the wicket the umpires would take them off. Why would the umpires wait until a fall of a wicket to take the players off if the rain was that bad? Better dialogue between captain and umpires would have avoided such an incident.

The spirit of the game is a phrase used a lot to question certain behaviour,mainly negative. It has recently resurfaced with Stuart Broad. Certain behaviours are seen as not being within the spirit of the game as by and large most people wouldn't adopt that approach, for example, throwing a ball at an opposing obdurate batsman (we've all faced those but haven't had the urge to throw the ball at them). Would we deliberately drop the ball if the risk of losing the match increased if we took the catch?

In similar circumstances when you know a big hitter is still to come in, would you be (a) optimistic and try and get all the wickets possible, or (b) be negative (pragmatic?) in making sure batsmen higher up but slower are still at the crease?

I would say the majority would be (a) (and then regret the decision to take the catch when the big hitter unfurls his vast variety of slogs!).

So (b) would be viewed by the majority as something they wouldn't do and quite possibly view it as against the spirit of the game.

Ed said...

When a wicket falls it normally takes 2 or 3 minutes for the game to resume, and in that time the few balls needed to get to 20 overs would have been completed. And there's also the thought that when a wicket falls it gives the umpires more of an opportunity to have a chat about the state of the weather.

Anonymous said...

Another reason you might, in theory, deliberately drop a catch would be if there was a near certainty of running out the better batsman.

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