Crimes Against Bowlers – Batsmen on 99 – Cricket

4 December, 2009 at 23:48 2 comments

Two amazing humour paragraphs from Andy Zaltzman in his latest blog post, “Crimes Against Bowling Humanity” over at Confectionary Stall Blog on Cricinfo Page-2 Gazzette describing the inhuman grotesqueties against cricket bowlers by India opener Virender Sehwag and the putty-like human condition of a batsman on 99 as evidenced by a statistical analysis of run-out mode of dismissals…

Virender Sehwag, not for first time in his extravagant career, stands on cusp of history. To break Brian Lara’s Test innings record, the Delhi Devastator needs another 117 runs – equating to approximately 23 minutes’ batting at his standard scoring rate. Suffice it to say that, if this innings continues long into day 3, the International Court of Human Rights may become involved, and the phenomenal Indian opener may find himself charged with crimes against bowling humanity. For all the splendour Sehwag has once again given to the cricket-watching world, all record of this cruel innings must be surreptitiously destroyed. What if impressionable young bowlers were to stumble upon evidence of the kind of abuse they may endure? What right-thinking parent would want their precious little baby bowler to grow up in such a heartless universe? Even bowling machines might refuse to bowl. How cricket has changed. As a schoolboy, I was an opening batsman. Not a good opening batsman, but an opening batsman nonetheless. And, more importantly, an excruciatingly tedious one. I saw it as specific responsibility not to score runs, and to not score them over as long a period as possible. Steve Waugh used to talk of the “mental disintegration” of opponents. My approach to this task was to block full tosses, leave wide half-volleys and pad up to long-hops until the opposition bowlers and fielders were on the verge of either tears or retirement. Sehwag embodies everything I could not even have imagined being possible as an opener. In fact, cricketing orthodoxy at the time was such that a boy was expelled from my school for scoring a run-a-ball 50, bringing disgrace to the school’s proud cricketing tradition with his morally wanton strokeplay. That story is not true, but it might as well have been, so it’s staying in the blog. No arguments. End of story.

Angelo Matthews has already claimed his place in the record books, with the narrowest failure to score a century in Test history. Matthews was run-out by approximately half a millimetre, after an agonising delay as the third umpire subjected the video footage to more intensive scrutiny than any piece of film since the JFK assassination. Being out for 99 is a strange form of sporting failure − you have basically succeeded, but the moment of disappointment is all the greater than if you had in fact properly failed. And being run-out for 99 adds a piquant element of avoidable silliness. Matthews’ dismissal was the 67th time a batsman has been out for 99 in Test cricket, and the 14th time one has missed out on three-figure glory by virtue of being run out. 14 out of 67 – this is an extraordinary ratio which illustrates the madness that can envelop the human soul when the tastily steaming baguette of personal triumph is within nibbling distance. This 20.9% ratio can only be put into perspective of the 59,237 Test dismissals that had occurred as of 5pm GMT on December 3, 2009, only 3.5% have been run-outs. Batsmen on 99 are thus six times more likely to run themselves out (or, perhaps, have a sadistic team-mate run them out), than batsmen who aren’t already mentally picturing charging around with their arms in the air, kissing their helmets, waving their bats at any available camera, and cuddling the non-striking batsman. There are statistics and there are statistics. And this statistic reveals the inherent nature of the human condition, and the potentially fatal pitfalls of personal ambition, as much as any play by Shakespeare. Arguably. Expect it to be on all school curriculums around the cricket-speaking world.

Quite funny, satirical and whimsy which struck a chord with me because I too was an opening batsman (and spin bowler) in the past when I played cricket as part of a neighbourhood gang. I am pretty sure I would not be as bad as Andy though.

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Entry filed under: India, Life-Theories, Silly-Point, Sports, WebXP.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Katharyn Gianandrea  |  28 December, 2010 at 00:52

    I mistyped this website and luckily I found it again. presently am at my university I added this to favorites so that I can re-read it later regards


  • 2. Viag Rakaufen  |  28 December, 2010 at 12:18

    Man, talk about a fantastic post! I’ve stumbled across your blog a few times within the past, but I usually forgot to bookmark it. But not again! Thanks for posting the way you do, I genuinely appreciate seeing someone who actually has a viewpoint and isn’t really just bringing back up crap like nearly all other writers today. Keep it up!



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