Sunday 3 May 2009

How great thou art

The oft-postponed first game of the season yesterday. Well, it was almost a game. It was a practice match, a kind of single-wicket affair in which each batsman got five or so overs before swapping around. If you were out you stayed in, albeit with pride dented. 

What became clear once again is where the genius of cricket lies: one chance. Each batsman gets one chance. That rule, stretching back to the origins of the game, allows it to function across centuries, and across formats from T20 to Test cricket. 

More than that, it creates the psychology of the game; it balances it, it provides the key dynamic. 

It was obvious yesterday by its absence. Out of the nine or ten who batted, no-one was out just once. They either batted through without getting out, or they were dismissed twice or more. The reason for that was subconscious, I think. Once they'd lost their wicket and carried on batting, their mindset changed. In a part of the brain, it was already over, so they just slogged and got out again [and again in several cases].

The ground we played at was glorious, a line of tall trees along the near side, a meadow full of yellow flowers opposite, three giant dray-horses grazing in the field at one end, a thatched pavilion at the other. It was like standing in a Constable painting. I didn't even mind all the fielding.


Rob said...

It is an interesting point the 'out once' principle. Maybe it also explains why some people can look fantastic in the nets and poor in the middle; they freeze when confronted with only one chance.

The Old Batsman said...

Yeah, I hadn't considered the nets thing, but that's true, i think, esp in club cricket