Monday, February 04, 2019

Suspending Jason Holder is the latest move in the authorities' war on test cricket

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On Saturday the West Indie beat England in little more than two days.

On Sunday it was announced that their captain Jason Holder would be suspended for the third and final test in the series because of the team's slow over rate.

This is not a joke.

Holder and his rejuvenation of the West Indies team is about the best news in cricket at the moment, so I take this ban as the latest move in the authorities' campaign to destroy test cricket.

In the words of the saintly Vic Marks:
In grim confirmation that the world is indeed prey to nitpicking jobsworths capable only of reading the manual rather than delivering commonsense West Indies’ captain, Jason Holder, has been suspended from the last Test in St Lucia because of his side’s slow over rate in the Antigua Test, which finished with more than two days to spare. This is a cruel and ridiculous corollary to a famous victory, which provokes a mixture of sympathy and disbelief.
The obsession with the over rate has infected Test Match Special to such an extent that the programme sometimes becomes intolerable. Too many of its team give the impression that they share Dave Podmore's view that the less time you spend hanging round cricket grounds the better.

Sure, they would like knock off a six sharp, but there are worse ways of earning a living,

When I tweeted an observation along this replies as a reply to Jonathan Agnew, he quote tweeted me t his followers with an incredulous "Really??"

Cricket fans are nice people and I have only had to block one person as a result. And I have received support for my views.

There are plenty who do care about the over rate, but I get the impression that their real complaint is that it is now so expensive to go to a test match in England.

I would support moves to limit the number of minor interruptions to play, but (as Vic Marks once pointed out) days in which all the overs are bowled by six generally seem to involve 240 runs being scored for the loss of three wickets and be instantly forgettable.

The most important point is that made by Tony Crozier back in the 1980s: you would rather watch 15 overs an hour of Holding and Marshall than 18 overs of medium pace.

I doubt there were many West Indies fans in Antigua who cared what the over rate was.


Frank Little said...

I would rather watch 20 overs of great spin bowling than either.

Jonathan Calder said...

I used to go to Northampton to watch Bishan Bedi. It was sad that Mushtaq hardly bowled. Leg spin was deeply out of fashion in those days.