Sorry, but that ain’t cricket . . .

Don’t get me wrong, Jofra’s a talented young man and I’m sure every ball he bowls is compliant with the current laws of the game.

But I’m not happy with the current rules because so many players – and the odd umpire or two – are getting seriously injured by fast bowling.   Poor old Phil Hughes comes to mind, but his death is not the only one to have happened over the past two or three years.   Jofra has already hurt more batsmen per ball bowled then anyone else – that’s not because he’s bad, but because he’s faster and trickier than anyone else – yet.

Cricket is not supposed to be a game based on maiming your opponents – unlike boxing – but a game firmly based on skill.   Of recent years however, speed of bowling has apparently become the one and only worthwhile goal to be pursued, whilst clever spin – Warnie or Lyon or Swann for example – has been relegated to an also-ran technique, only to be used when the quickies get tired.

I don’t like the outcome and I’d love to see the rules changed, but I can’t think of a sensible and practical way to change them.   Any ideas?

Author: Bearsy

A Queensland Bear with attitude

18 thoughts on “Sorry, but that ain’t cricket . . .”

  1. G’day Bearsy. I dunno, but I don’t think Jofra is deliberately going out to hurt people. Body line, it ain’t and batsmen are much better protected than before. I watched “Botham’s Ashes” on the box recently and he had nothing but a beard to protect his head.

    Tragic accidents will happen – an 80 year old umpire died in the UK only last week after being hit by an errant ball and I suspect the batsman was as mortified as the poor man’s family. I know a chap who was rendered tetraplegic when a scrum collapsed on him. Ostensibly fit young footballers have dropped dead on the pitch, victims of a heart attack.

    Nobody wants these outcomes, but life is dangerous and nobody gets out if it alive in the end.

    É vida”, as the fatalistic Portuguese say.


  2. Blimin’ whingeing Aussies……
    Of course it’s cricket, always has been and always will be. Look at the great West Indies bowlers from the 70’s and 80’s (Holder, Marshall, Garner, Ambrose to name but 4), as well as your own Thompson & Lilley. They were the pure definition of intimidation and were not subtle about it. If you’re not good enough to deal with fast bowling then don’t go out to bat.
    To be fair, I thought your Smith substitute, he of the unpronounceable Frenchy name, batted superbly and should cost the scared Kawaja his spot in the team come Thursday.
    You’ll retain the ashes anyway so don’t go worrying! 😂

  3. Oh dear, toughen up Bearsy! C’est la vie; que sera, sera; shit happens – if ya can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    Sorry guys, that’s so last century it’s almost medieval. The past is another country. Women have the vote now, remember? And they play excellent cricket, too – without trying to kill each other.

    Batsmen never used to wear helmets, either. Nowadays they’re virtually wearing full armour and we have “concussion substitutes”. Methinks the times are more than a little out of joint.

    A year’s ban for using a tiny piece of sandpaper to cheat by artificially inducing reverse swing, OK -but then to encourage young lads to bowl bouncers at 150 kph in order to intimidate the less macho souls amongst us? No thanks, I outgrew that one years ago. 😎

  4. Hi Cuprum. Labuschagne. A French Huguenot name, that is fairly common in South Africa. There it is pronounced something like La-boo-scaggh-nie. But when the bearers of that name emigrate and try to go up-market, they tend to call themselves La-boo-shane , or that it what extractors of piss call them. Though, I think it makes them sound like rappers from the Bronx.
    I have SA friends in Oz called Wessels, as in Keppler Wessels who played cricket for that country. In SA, the W is pronounced ‘V’, but in Oz, they have to pronounce the W.

    As for the rest of the debate, I was minded to side with Bearsy until he said that women played excellent cricket.

  5. Haw Bearsy!

    Is it possible to posit the possibility that any Ozzie assumption of the moral high ground would be slightly more elevated had your entire Nation not taken such great delight in the destruction of the English batsmen in the last series Down Under by super-aggressive fast bowling? The fact that ‘we’ now have a similar weapon in the boy Archer
    does not, I would suggest, give you the right to start complaining that the current rules are ‘all wrong’.

    Whatever. Steve Smith has proved himself to be one of the Ashes Greats and I trust that he will recover completely to inflict more future grief on his opponents, from wheresoever they hail.

    It’s now an intriguing series. I still fancy Oz to win ( better bowlers overall). I also believe that Bancroft and Warner have, like SS, served their time and no longer need to be booed – just so long as they get out cheaply again, of course.

    Onwards and uppards for the rest of the Series.

    And, in my opinion, despite your title, it really is Cricket.

  6. G’day Mr Mackie, Sir –

    There was nothing in my post that suggested parochialism or an adoption of the moral high ground. I suggest strongly than you read it again without the red haze getting in the way.

    I could have posted a picture of (Aussie) Sean Abbott instead of (West Indian) Jofra Archer, but I decided that many Charioteers – including you – would not recognise him as the unfortunate lad who bowled the ball that deprived Phil Hughes of life, whereas Jofra is currently uppermost in people’s minds.

    I did, however, refer directly to Phil, a talented NewSouthWelshman, who departed this mortal coil two days after being struck by a Sean Abbott bouncer.

    My dislike of the current laws has nothing to do with the country of origin of the team or the bowler and has all to do with talented young men (of any ethnic origin) being – far too frequently – maimed or worse in the name of macho, childish intimidation in an effort to win a game by that means rather than by skill. Bullying is wrong whichever team uses it.

    All international cricket teams have done something bad over the years, some more than others, but that is no excuse for perpetuating immature, unsporting behaviour anywhere, by anyone.

  7. I am sure that nobody, participant nor spectator wants to see anyone hurt or worse, but I also think it’s going a bit too far to talk of “bullying” and “immature sporting behaviour”. Arthur has a natural talent which he should be allowed to exploit as long as he does not intend to cause deliberate harm, which I am equally sure he doesn’t.

  8. I’m going to add my pennyworth here and quote one Englishman’s comment on this subject: ‘Bowlers are supposed to aim at the wicket – and not at the man’.

    As for those who decry women cricketers – you clearly have never watched a Women’s cricket match. I suggest you do before you repeat your comments… smiley

  9. I think intimidation and aggression, are an integral part of most of the more physical spectator sports, though in some the consequences can be more dangerous than in others. Formula 1 and rugby being two cases in point. Judging by the comments of various pundits, it would appear that Formula 1 has certainly lost a great deal of its appeal in recent years as the authorities have tried to reduce risks to the drivers. Clearly there is always going to be a compromise between keeping a sport safe while maintaining appeal for the spectators. But the fact is that spectators are thrilled by confrontation and danger, that is the nature of physical contests. Who is stronger, braver, faster, more aggressive, strategic etc. What risks will they take and what tactics will they employ. It is not only about skill. If it were, then one may just as well go to a circus or exhibition games, as practised by teams like the Harlem Globe Trotters. Spectators want to see a contest and they want to see their side to win. If that means employing tactics that help achieve that, so be it.

    Without wishing to dwell on the ball tampering issue, that was a tactic that was supposed to have remained hidden from the spectators and as a result all supporters from both sides doubtlessly felt cheated by it.

    I believe that it is very relevant that people still talk about the Bodyline series as well as other duels that have taken place between various batsmen and bowlers over the years. It demonstrates the appeal of those contests. To say it is medieval is to deny human nature. We may be more sophisticated than we were a thousand years ago, but we are still as human and tribal as we were, and we are still enthralled by danger. Personally, I think society is doing itself no favours by eliminating risk form the lives of people, especially children. It is boys in particular who suffer the consequences of being forced to live molly-coddled lives.

    As a matter of interest, I wonder whether those who oppose these aggressive bowling tactics would also oppose the use of sledging, which has even less to do with the game of cricket and in the vast majority of cases is not intended to be heard by the spectators. But it would be sad to see sledging disappear even though it is unlikely we will ever hear anything quite so sweet as that famous response from a certain Zimbabwean chicken farmer.

    Paceman Glenn McGrath, “Why are you so fat?”
    No 11 batsman, Eddo Brandes, “Because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit.”

    It was not cricket, but it was a thing of beauty and probably better remembered than any other aspect of that match.

  10. Good day Boa. Smiley thing gratefully received.

    You surmise correctly, I have never watched women play cricket, but my inference is based on the hype that was attached to the recent Women’s Football World Cup a competition that was won by the USA. In 2017 they had been beaten 5-2 by a Dallas Boys’ U15 team. The tournament may have been enjoyable for those who enjoy women’s football, but I think it unlikely that any team would have qualified for English League Division 4, let alone the Premiership.

    I believe something similar could be true of cricket. I suspect Brisbane Boys College could beat the Australian Women’s XI, though I could of course be wrong.

    Perhaps one needs to agree on a definition of excellence.

    Personally, my interest in sport has declined significantly in recent years as teams at national and club level opt for imported players who have little or no connection to the sides’ traditional fan base. It becomes very difficult to identify with a team made up of players that have little in common with oneself. Back in the day, Rhodesia and then Zimbabwe produced players who were home grown and to a large extent, ‘people like us’. Zim is finished so I look to England which has a polyglot of foreign players in rugby, cricket and football. Why should I care that Mo Farrah wins a gold medal at running or Dylan Hartley captains the Engalnd rugby team or Eoin Morgan the cricket team. Yup, they are good at what they do, but what does it matter to me whether they win or lose? I cannot identify with them. They play for themselves and the money, not for the club or the country. Sport is a civilised extension of war, Bearsy’s misgivings notwithstanding. I fight for my tribe/country, I play for my tribe/country and I support my tribe/country. At least that is how I see it.

  11. An interesting article in today’s dead tree version of DT by James Corrigan. He tells the story of Ray “Slim” Caldwell, pitcher for Cleveland Indians, who in 1919 was struck by lightning while preparing to pitch. He was knocked unconscious and his team mates feared he was dead. When he opened his eyes, however, he asked for the ball and to be pointed in the right direction and then proceeded to strike out the opposing batsman. No elf and safety there, though how one would apply such rules to elements of nature, I don’t know. Caldwell went on to lead the Indians to their first World Series and also continued his career as a heavy drinker, having had it written into his contract that he was allowed to get drunk after every game. He died at the age of 79 – not bad going.

  12. Sipu: Australian Women’s XI v. Brisbane Boys College? The women would eat them alive! May I suggest that some time you do actually look at a game!

  13. Very good Boadicea. I will try and watch a ladies’ match, though between you and me, I am not really qualified to comment on the excellence of players other than in a comparative sense. I was dropped as 12th man from the U13 C team. So watching England ladies v Australia ladies would be pretty meaningless. Watching England ladies v Australia gentlemen would be far more indicative of their relative abilities and levels of excellence.

    Anyway, we can leave my prejudices to stew in their own juices. Have a good weekend and enjoy the test cricket. It is good to see that Labuschagne has been able to go some way to mitigating the loss of Steve Smith.

  14. Sipu: one last comment on the subject!

    There has been more than one occasion that both Bearsy and I have wished that our Women’s Cricket Team had been facing the male opposition …

    … they may not be as good as our male cricketers at ‘sledging’, but they can certainly bowl, bat and field with excellence – and, dare I say, with more of the spirit of what was, once, a Gentleman’s Game’.

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