Puzzlers and posers
A few questions this week.
What’s the reason for the modern trend in cricket of fieldsmen pointing to where the ball is going?
Are outfielders watching their team-mates for directions, rather than following the ball? Wouldn’t they chase it if it wasn’t pointed to?
It makes you wonder how the great outfieldsmen of the past ever managed to stop the ball without guidance from a team-mate.
On a related subject, why do cricketers these days shout ‘‘Catch it’’ when a ball is hit in the air? Would a fieldsman not make an effort to catch the ball otherwise?
I am waiting for the day when the fielding team shouts ‘‘ Bowl it’’ as a bowler turns at the top of his mark.
Moving to football, why is there so much spitting these days?
Is it a male thing? I didn’t notice our champion women’s rugby players spitting nearly as much during their World Cup run last year. But if it’s a male thing, why don’t male tennis players spit throughout their matches?
Someone has suggested footballers spit because of the build-up of saliva brought about by all their running. In that case, why don’t referees feel similarly compelled to spit? Now to tennis. Why is there so much of the incredible shrieking among top players, especially women, these days?
It used to be called grunting, but it’s too loud and prolonged for that description to be accurate.
Defenders of the tennis screamers say it helps players hit with more power.
But that’s not really correct. Often the same women make no noise while practising.
Their ear-splitting screaming is confined to matches.
If players need to scream to hit the ball hard, why didn’t big hitters of the past, such as Margaret Court, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini, scream too? Weren’t they trying to hit the ball hard?
Coaches these days encourage their players to scream. The practice is growing more widespread. Tennis officials should be moving to curb it.
Moving on, in doubles, why do partners have to touch each other after every rally? Wouldn’t they feel they were getting their mate’s support otherwise?
Finally, why don’t women play best of five matches at Grand Slam tournaments, which are supposed to be the ultimate tennis test?
After all, they are paid the same as the men, who play the longer matches. And they are certainly fit and strong enough to do so.