At last, I could stop feel­ing like Mr Cre­osote ...

The ed­i­tor of Cricket Statis­ti­cian analy­ses re­cent events


Af­ter two ODIs be­tween Eng­land and In­dia had pro­duced 1,453 runs (and 42 sixes), I be­gan to feel a bit like Monty Python’s glut­ton Mr Cre­osote. Just an­other wafer­thin mint, per­haps, just one more six from Vi­rat Kohli…and to think there was a time when 250 looked like a de­cent score.

So the new ODI sys­tem is to swing from the hip like it’s T20 and on a to­tally bat­ting-friendly pitch pick a team with at least nine ca­pa­ble bats­men (since it hardly mat­ters who does the bowl­ing any­way, they are all go­ing to suf­fer).You can lose early wick­ets – as In­dia did ev­ery time – and still post a huge score. What In­dia might score if they could get off to a de­cent start is unimag­in­able.

But then we got to the third game. The scores were not much lower but the bat got beaten a few times and I have to say I would have loved to be in that crowd at Eden Gar­dens. And, of course, there was a tight fin­ish. But all the same, we end up with a record run to­tal for a three-match se­ries, and ev­ery team in­nings over 300.

To a TV viewer, one big dif­fer­ence at Eden Gar­dens was the length of the bound­aries. Ked­har Jad­hav’s last heave over ex­tra cover would have been an­other six on a smaller field and the re­sult would have been dif­fer­ent.

Now, of course, you could leg­is­late for min­i­mum bound­aries, though this would mean that many smaller grounds were ruled out from hold­ing ODIs, which in In­dia in par­tic­u­lar would be dif­fi­cult as the prac­tice is to pass ODIs out to lesser cen­tres rather than hold them all at the main Test grounds. And to in­crease the length of the bound­aries would sub­stan­tially in­crease the area that field­ers have to cover.

To state the ob­vi­ous, field­ing stan­dards are very dif­fer­ent from what they were and a larger play­ing area would make sense.

This (once again) is some­thing that has hap­pened in foot­ball. The size of the pitch is very vari­able and as play­ers have got fit­ter and faster, clubs can shrink their pitches to suit their style.

The ICC is look­ing at bats and in par­tic­u­lar their thick­ness as a way of lim­it­ing mas­sive hit­ting, re­gard­ing mishit sixes as a par­tic­u­larly unlovely fea­ture of mod­ern cricket. The prob­lem is that what looks unlovely in a ODI may look won­der­ful in the hyped-up at­mos­phere of the IPL or the BBL. It may be that the laws for the spon­sored T20 tour­na­ments may di­verge fur­ther from those for the real game.

It could be seen as rather like the pre-War prob­lem of su­per­flat pitches in Aus­tralia, South Africa and the rest, lead­ing to mas­sive scores ex­ac­er­bated by “time­less” Tests run­ning for six, seven or eight days (though some­times the run rate was very slow by mod­ern stan­dards).

In this case the War got in the way of pitch prepa­ra­tion.

An­other six sails away: Vi­rat Kohli hits out

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