Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Least-worst Number 11s

Letter to The Wisden Cricketer - September 2007 - Vol 4 Number 12: pp 8-9.

Since he is always batting with someone better, the primary role of a number 11 is not to score runs but to 'hang around' as long as possible.

A convenient way of measuring this is to measure balls-faced per dismissal - dividing batting average by strike rate.

On this basis Peter Such was probably the best-of-the-worst recent England number 11s; since he faced about 31 deliveries per out.

Alan Mullally and Devon Malcolm are the worst: out after just 13 balls.

Tufnell was not so bad, managing to survive 23 balls, and giving his partner 10 more scoring opportunities.

PS. I've just noticed that England's recent first-pick nightwatchman, Matthew Hoggard, has a test match balls-faced-per-out statistic of 33: only slightly better than the legendarily-inept Peter Such.

(TWC published version is slightly edited from this).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Beamers require immediate, severe punishment

Letter to Sunday Telegraph

Re article: Beamers must be punished with ban, By Mike Atherton, Sunday Telegraph 4 August 2007.

Well said, Mike Atherton.

A deliberate beamer from a fast bowler is not really a cricketing offence, it is a crime of violence which is potentially lethal - death or permanent brain injury being a quite likely outcome.

With TV technology it is not difficult to establish the bowler's probable intention from the context of the game, facial expressions, video analysis of the delivery - and sometimes from the bowler's previous 'form'.

At present probably deliberate beamers - especially from the world's fastest bowlers such as Sreesanth, Brett Lee, or Waquar Younis - are not being punished severely enough. Indeed Sreesanth was not punished at all.

I saw Younis removed from the attack in an ODI by David Shepherd after bowling two beamers in a row to (I think) Andrew Symons. But even that was a mild punishment for an appalling offence.

in 2005, Peter Roebuck wrote a piece about beamers in relation to Brett Lee, pointing out that it does nobody any favours to tolerate fast beamers, and to fail to punish them at all (or to punish them mildly). After all, a massive claim for damages or even a long stretch of gaol is the bowler's probable outcome if the beamer achieves its intended effect.

Fast bowlers who have lost their temper need to know that if they bowl a probably intentional beamer they will immediately be removed from the attack for the rest of the game, and suffer total loss of match fee, followed by a suspension.

This knowledge of swift and severe punishment may help keep aggression in check and prevent a terrible accident leading to permanent brain damage or death for the batter, and years of prison for the bowler.