When cricketers are just happy to be there

Overnight, Aussie opener Ed Cowan defended himself and his fellow batsmen by saying that scores in the West Indies are pretty hard to come by, and that the scores they’ve posted would, in different conditions, be worth a whole lot more. He specifically cited the prolific turn and bounce some of the Windies spinners are extracting from the decks over there, and that from ball one having to deal with spitting, turning, and generally abusive deliveries is hard. Yes, it is hard Ed. And my God all the batsmen over there have made damn sure it’s looked hard.

I wrote an article last week for online sports opinion site The Roar (link below) about the state of the wickets in the West Indies, and how they’ve made the cricket being played over there just so… boring. I said in this piece that it looks like, to me, someone who has attempted to be an owl for the past few weeks, Ed might be right. It is damn hard to score runs over in the Windies.

I refer you to this: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/561855.html, the basic thrust of which is that run rates in the West Indies over the past twenty years have been deteriorating, from an average of over 3 runs per over in the 1980’s to this series which has cantered along at a lively 2.61. Since 2000, the West Indies also has the lowest average run rates of all Test playing nations, coming in at 2.98 runs per over. Remember too that run rates in the 1980’s were lower across the board than they are now (thank you Twenty20 and Kerry Packer).

I suppose I’m not giving you much reason to stay up and watch the game, am I? Well, too be fair, that’s not really my job. The cricketers are the ones that are supposed to be scoring the runs and taking the wickets. And they are. It’s just taking them a few more deliveries than usual to do both.

The conditions are making it hard for batsmen to score runs. The flat decks make it hard for quicks to extract venom from their deliveries, despite the effort they put in. It’s a different brand of cricket folks. I find it enjoyable. Others may not.

So don’t think Ed Cowan’s spitting the dummy or being a bit precious when he says that his battling half century may be worth a century back home. The guy faced 123 balls to get there. Shivnarine Chanderpaul faced 164 balls for his 68 in the first innings, which I can tell you was worth close to a century anywhere else in the world. Runs have pretty much been a byproduct of surviving for this entire tour.

End cricket piece without a laboured simile.

Check out my piece in The Roar: http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/04/21/lifeless-pitches-will-be-the-death-of-test-cricket/


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by sphynxxxx on May 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    From the cricinfo article, it is interesting to note that, outside of Zimbabwee and Bangledesh… who don’t really count due to their lack of competitiveness, matches in Australia have the highest “result rate” of all of the countries.


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