Happy New Year to Everyone!
With Apologies to (W)BBL|03
Firstly my apologies for (you must think) ignoring (W)BBB|03. Personal
circumstances have made it difficult to keep track of events so far.
However, browsing Twitter brings some rewards (as well as a load of junk)
and I came across this...
I thought I took stats reasonably seriously - see
this page - but I hadn't more than a glimpse at the surface until I
started following this individual on Twitter. If you use that service, then
follow them @_hypocaust - and don't miss out the underscore.
I don't think this increasing predominance of batsmen over bowlers is
anything in particular to do with T20 cricket. More likely it's part of the
general trend in all forms of the game and very well illustrated here. Am I
going to try to emulate theses stats - for the recent World Cup perhaps -
well the answer is 'no'. I simply wouldn't have the patience - and probably
the skill either.
Everyone seems to greet this trend as an improvement in the game, except, I
would suggest, some of the bowling fraternity, and so far as it goes, I'd be
inclined to agree. I wouldn't wish to see all pitches tailored to the needs
just of the batsman though. They have enough help from modern bats. Nor do I
like Mickey Mouse boundaries which mean no batsman ever gets a 3 without
some huge fumbling mix-up, and always makes the new spectator think "women
can't hit a cricket ball" which we all know is far from the truth. Fitness
is said to be a great feature of the modern game at the top level. In that
case running 3s shouldn't be a problem! I am part way through re-watching
the India v Australia semi-final 2nd innings for about the 3rd time. I was
interested to note that to this point I can't recall a 4 that wouldn't have
made the men's boundary. In fact, since the boundary rope for the men had
been left in place I could be certain when they managed that. Did I miss
one? I'll keep watching.
A Retirement and a New Job
Pakistan have just announced a new coach and selection Board for their
women's team. One name caught my eye immediately and that, not surprisingly,
Asmavia Iqbal, especially as she had only just announced her retirement
Asmavia Iqbal in action, taker of perhaps the oddest
hat-trick in cricket history
Perhaps the first thing to say is that her experience in the middle will be
missed by the team; she has huge experience having played 82 ODIs for her
country and 68 T20s. However, could that experience be put to good use in
her new role as part of the triumvirate selecting the squad in the future?
I would suggest it would indeed be very valuable. In fact, it strikes me
that selection is often done by people who have, to paraphrase a familiar
saying "Never been there, and Never done that!" Now I not saying that male
coaches and other support staff can give valuable input into squad
selection, but there seems, in many countries a notable lack of inclusion
for those who have "been there and done that". It's my feeling that should
be remedied. New Zealand's White Ferns perhaps led the way when giving Haidee Tiffen the job of coach for the women's team, but in recent eras
other examples are thin on the ground. Thus, as far as I'm concerned, hats
off to Pakistan and Asmavia Iqbal. If I was the Chairman of that group I'd be
paying great attention to everything she has to say!
Current NZ Coach Haidee Tiffen in 2004 and celebrating
having beaten England
in the NatWest Series in 2007
While Sushma Verma and Shikha Pandey
Grace the Cover of Wisden India
I wonder how many thought a couple of decades ago that they'd live to see
this. I know I didn't. Women feature on the cover of the two most valued
publications in the cricket world - and both appear for the first time in
the same year! Perhaps the least surprising is the appearance of Anya
Shrubsole. Her 6-46 deprived India of a World Cup Final they looked, for a
major part of the day, like winning. It also set a new ground record (man or
woman) for Lord's, snatching that from her team mate Katherine Brunt who
took 5-25 against South Africa back in 2008. Brunt's record has stood for
some time and had not been overtaken by man or women until Anya's amazing
Sadly I was unable to get to Lord's to the Final
due to poor health or the scoreboard would have been in my camera sights again!
Less likely was the inclusion of women on the cover of Wisden India. India
after all lost that match when they should probably have won it, but it has
been hugely encouraging to see the reception that the public and press have
given their team back home. You could almost have come to the false
impression they'd walked away with the Cup. I think this shows a huge leap
forward for the sport around the world. India is, of course, the largest
nation that follows cricket and they do with a fervour that is probably only
matched by an Ashes series. In a country where gender equality (currently a
hot topic in the west) is not well developed, it's great to see things
improving and if sport can help that process then it can only benefit the
India women's team and indeed half the population of that teeming country.
So I say "hat's off" to the Indian team - well played!!
Is the Standard of T20 Improving?
That would seem to depend on your view point. Here's the one held by most...
and one I am forced to agree with. However...
I'm not sure the bowlers would feel quite so favourably as the batsmen or
the public about this. However, T20 is probably supposed to be all about
runs I guess, so everything is obviously proceeding in the right direction.
And as you'll be bored with me typing, heavy bats, tiny boundaries, and a
few other factors have ensured it could really go only one way.
But could you put all the recent increase in batting rates down to those
factors? I think I would contend that improved batting has certainly made a
difference but you can't (or shouldn't) ignore the others. Let's not give
batsmen all the credit - the authorities have ensured they have the downhill
slope while the bowlers have... well the opposite.
I'm not necessarily saying it's a 'bad thing' - simply that it's important
to understand why things are happening, not just that they are.
If I have a particular 'beef' about T20 cricket it is that it has encouraged
the powers that be to feel they need Mickey Mouse boundaries for the proper
game which is, of course, 50-over or Test cricket. Just don't look at Jan
Brittin's stats and any of the current international players and make
comparisons. She didn't have access to heavy bats, and certainly not, in the
main, to small (I'm being polite here) boundaries. I would loved to have
seen her play with today's kit, on today's grounds. Now that would have
terrified every international bowler out there.
21 Years and still Going
Back in my day - oh, dear - now that's put most of you off to start with -
you needed to be 21 before a key to the door traditionally arrived on your
key ring. That was the age at which you had finally matured. Now more recent
research has shown, contrary to public custom and opinion, that it is
actually later than that!
Anyway to stay with the conditions of my age (i.e. the attitudes in the
years of my teens) this site is now mature. Actually I'm not sure about
that. I've picked up the modern habit of making it a little too much about
me, but then I pay my £3/week to keep it going so I feel I'm entitled. I
watched my first women's match, as possibly a number of you will know, in
1993 and started this site only 4 years later. It's been fun to do most of
the time, although a struggle once or twice.
I've also seen, as you might imagine, a lot of changes on the 'Net in that
time. Web sites have become flashier and advertising has tended to take
over, especially from those telling us we should 'bet responsibly' - when
perhaps they just mean 'bet'! Cricket Archive, for many years one of the
finest resources on the scene, has disappeared behind a paywall, a sad loss
to much of the cricketing community, and even sites like Cricinfo have
reduced their coverage and made the navigation around their site a nightmare
in recent times.
So - to make a 'management statement' - this site will carry only adverts to
suppliers I have used myself and who have gone well beyond the call of duty
in their service to me. They will be free and tucked away on one page only -
have you found them yet? I find advertising and false news (or misleading
news) everywhere on the 'Net and it irks me. Only today I fell upon an
article on earthquakes in the UK (yes - we've just had a very minor one)
when it said that the site, which was in South Wales, was close to a
previous more violent one on the Dogger Bank. It's a simple matter to check
if you're not sure but the two places, east to west, could hardly be further
apart. North to south they could, but east to west... This sort of
journalism is sloppy rather than deliberate fake news. If you think I am
ever guilty of that PLEASE email me
I will also continue to make this site primarily about images. Sites like
CRICKETher and others do a far better reporting job than I could do having
two excellent journalists at their disposal, and a very knowledgeable
Comment is a different 'kettle of fish' however. Having played and/or
watched cricket at all levels (well watched at all levels anyway) for over
60 years I think I have learned a lot but am still aware of how much I don't
know about this most subtle of games.
In response to the 21st anniversary of this site, one of my visitors to this
site has urged me to 'keep going'. I fully intend to.