Tuesday 10 March 2009

Fielding: the lies... the shocking truth

'Anyone who doesn't enjoy fielding doesn't enjoy the game,' said one of the commentators on the Australia-South Africa match the other other day. Oh yeah? Really? 

Here's KP on the matter. He has a way of leaving things unvarnished:

'The hardest part [of not being captain] I found was fielding, where I go out and I stand in the field and I'm not telling anyone where to go and I'm not having to think. I'm just standing there going [exhales] 'Pheeew... When's lunch?' Or counting down the overs, '10 overs to tea... One over to tea... End of play... Right, what restaurant am I going to tonight?' That's the kind of stuff I think about now, which is a huge difference from India, where, honestly, you think your head is going to explode. 'Is the ball spinning or not spinning? Tendulkar is batting like God! Here comes Dhoni!' But now it's, 'Oh, I'll watch Chris Gayle for 10 minutes... That's interesting... What time is lunch?'.'

So, there you have it. What time is lunch? What time is tea? Here lies the truth about fielding if you're not a bowler and you don't hang out at first slip all afternoon. Anyone who's ever played can relate to it. It may not be PC  to say it around the coach - in front of that lot, you must affect some kind of demented love for standing at mid-on - but there it is, right from the top. 

You've always known it though, haven't you?


Brit said...

Wickie and slip are the only fun fielding positions, everywhere else is a chore, and the deeper the worse. Especially if it's cold.

Third man is where the captain puts his enemies as punishment.

I was usually at square leg one over, point/covers the next. God it can be dull, hoping for the ball to come to you over after over, then praying that when it does it isn't a steepling catch.

The most fun you have is clapping. That and tossing the ball back from keeper to bowler between balls.

Anonymous said...

As long as the player is not in the slips, there isn't any motivation to watch the match closely.

When my team used to bowl first, I would always be wondering what I have to do when i open the innings for my team, where the scoring opportunities are, which bowlers to target etc.

Its easy being a non-captain, all you need to worry in such a case is your own batting and about your personal life while fielding.

The Old Batsman said...

Hi Brit - yes, that appalling mix of boredom and fear...

Right on 12th, fielding is always bearable if you've got a bat coming up. The nightmare scenario is fielding second having got out early. I recommend striving for club cricket perfection: bat first, open, stay in for the entire innings if possible, begin to suggest some kind of injury or sickness towards the end, carefully laying the groundwork for sitting out the remainder of the match post-tea.

Anonymous said...

Fielding second after getting out early is an absolute nightmare like you point out.

It is equally difficult to wait in the dressing room for your team's batting to end after being dismissed cheaply.

It is still worse to see the other members of the team failing to score off a part timer and you could do nothing about it from the pavilion.