Sunday 21 March 2010

Unhappy medium

Although he probably hasn't seen it himself, Dirk Nannes is being captioned as 'fast-medium' on the IPL TV coverage, which for a bloke who has been up around 145kph and is acknowledged as nastily sharp when he's in the mood, is a kick in the teeth. And Dirk has good teeth.

The point at which fast-medium becomes fast has never been clear. Before everyone was on the speedgun, it seemed an arbitrary bit of knowledge, bestowed quite often by the descriptions in the Playfair Cricket Annual, where RGD Willis would be 'right arm fast' and IT Botham 'RFM' , a verdict that would usually extend onto the TV captioning and outwards into the great pool of common knowledge.

But now everyone is on the gun. In an excellent Guardian piece this week, Duncan Fletcher illuminated the difference between facing bowling of 130kph and 140kph. 'In Zimbabwe,' he writes, 'we actually recruited two South African baseball pitchers to come and throw at us as hard as they could from 19 yards. At first we could hardly get a bat on the ball...'

So in deference to technology, to avoid argument and to stop kicking ballsy Dirty Dirk in the teeth, we should probably pick a figure, maybe around 138-140kph, and award the unambiguous title 'fast' to anyone who can sustain that average over a few overs. 


Tim Newman said...

I think I saw Dirk Nannes in an IPL game I caught in a bar last weekend, and he looked pretty handy. Although I did mistake him for Chris Cairns at first.

Suhas said...

Nannes certainly works up good speeds. It would be interesting if commentators would air their thoughts on this sometime.

I often notice similar discrepancies on Cricinfo. Steve Harmison has been classified 'fast medium'; perhaps he slowed down a bit in the last couple of years, but for most part I remember him being seriously, even frighteningly quick, certainly in the mid 140s. I also remember noting that Mitchell Johnson was 'fast-medium' initally, and this has recently been changed to 'fast'.

Brit said...

There's also a strange phenomenon whereby some bowlers are quicker (or slower) than they look. Often to do with body shape, I think. Tim Bresnan looks like a medium-fast but I was suprised to see he's up around 90mph (sorry I don't understand kilometres).

Mark said...

Good baseball pitchers will generally get up over 90mph regularly, so if Fletcher had them throwing AT the batsman (full pitch presumably) that must have made for a lively session!

Anonymous said...

wonder if they were pitching with the seam up?