Friday, 4 May 2012

Early Season Cricket

The county cricket season has been going almost a month now, after its earliest start in modern times. Yorkshire haven’t exactly romped home to victories in that time, with the rain contributing to draws in their first couple of matches, but we have learned a few things:

1. Batsmen like to whine when things aren’t going their way. Just because it has been monumentally wet and the ball has consequently been going sideways off damp pitches, batsmen like Mark Ramprakash have complained about it being unfair and damaging their averages. I note that he makes no apologies for the damage he’s done to bowlers’ averages on those occasions when he’s played on small grounds or flat pitches.
2. Despite that, it has been a bit wet. Quite a few games have been washed out, and there have been some low totals as wet pitches tend to offer more for the bowlers than dry ones. The season started early for a variety of reasons, but for me at least one of them has to be…
3. The powers that be remain interested in the bottom line before all else. Twenty twenty started life as a knock about way of adding some extra interest. Now it has a huge position in the middle of the season and four day first class cricket has to start earlier as a result. I accept that I can’t exactly bemoan the professionalization of professional cricket, but which of these versions of the game really pushes players more?
4. Yorkshire loves an argument. Yorkshire seamer Ajmal Shazad has just been released from his contract, and Yorkshire have got in an Australian in the form of Mitchell Starc instead. Apparently, this is because he is ‘unhappy’ at the club, though that might have something to do with the part where the management seem to think he is not a team player.
5. The West Indies might be in with a chance. Their strength at the moment is in their bowling, because they can put a couple of properly fast bowlers on the park in Kemar Roach and Fidel Edwards. I was thinking that they might have a problem with the back up bowling, because captain Darren Sammy takes up the third seamer spot while not really being quick enough to be that third seamer, but the early season conditions seem to be favouring those slightly slower seamers. As such, it might all work out. Even if Chris Gayle isn’t going to be there for the tests.

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