Thursday, May 24, 2018

Why I don't care about the over rate in test matches

It began with Simon Mann, but now the whole Test Match Special team is obsessed with the over rate.

If a day's play does not include the regulation number of overs, they are up in arms on behalf of the paying public.

I just don't get it. When I have been to the cricket I have no idea what the over rate has been and I don't much care.

What you remember are individual shots and catches, and brief, intense passages of play. If the day contains none of those you will probably have left before the end anyway.

If you care about the over rate above all else then you might do better to go and watch public schools cricket, where the boys are scurrying about to please the games master.

I don't want to see the players hurrying through test matches. Isn't seeing the fielding captain hold up play to move a fielder or have a word in the bowler's ear part of what make the game enticing?

Besides, as Tony Cozier used to say, you would rather watch a dozen overs of Holding and Roberts than 18 overs of medium pace.

The demand that the public should get  value for the large sums now charged for test match tickets is an honourable one, but you do not measure entertainment just in terms of the number of overs bowled.*

This attitude reminds me of the great actor in the Monty Python sketch who measures the difficulty of a Shakespeare role purely by the number of words they contain.

I have added that sketch above. It contains the word "coon", which surprises me even though it is from the 1970s.

Let's be charitable and say they are mocking the way old actors then talked.

* There is a joke to be made somewhere around here about "a lot of balls".

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