Suave's Republique Cricket


WTF? Where has the technique gone.

Recently I was moaning about 20/20, and the fact that it can make ordinary players look good.

My reasonining, is that the pitches have all been made flat as pancakes, and thre is little to offer for the bowlers.  No real spin, swing or seam.  This allows bludgeoners to look good, as they can just smash through the line of the ball.  They had one pitch that turned square and seamed, and all of the players called it a joke.  Wankers.  Can you honestly imagine someone like “The Bearlike, Orphan Eating, Fuckhead“, playing Jim Laker on an uncovered Old Trafford or The Oval?  THat fucker wouldn’t average any where near as much as he does now.

In county cricket yesterday, five matches were played, and 64 wickets were taken.

It was a glorious day, all over The ENgland.  The sun was shining, the weather was sweet, boy, makes me want to move, those dancing feet, to the rescue, here I am!

What the batsman failed to take into account, was that most pitches had enough juice in them, to make it very difficult.   Too many players were undone, by seam and swing.  On pitches like ours in The England, you need to expect it to move off the pitch and through the air!

Unfortunately, it seems that batsman have missed out on this playing straight, or playing late lark, and are being constantly exposed.

In Lancashire’s innings yesterday, they were all out for 143, on a pitch that wasn’t that bad.  All 10 wickets were catches.  You’d think that the Durham players would have had a look at the way the Lancs batsman played, and adjusted accordingly.  Alas no, they were fuckwits too, being bowled out for a miserable 114.

Somerset were similarly shit yesterday.

If the ball swings, seams or spins, most international players look ordinary.  Bring back juicy pitches, and make the fuckers learn to play properly!


22 Comments so far
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We have a problem mate. T20 has affected test cricket to such an extent that they laid out a T20 pitch during the chennai test (India vs Aus). The result – A tame draw where both team amassed 500+ runs.
The same sehwag who made 300+ couldn’t get his feet moving in the second test on a greenish turf, as India were bundled out for 76.
Its the nature of the pitches that allow batsmen with faulty technique to prosper.

Comment by 12th Man

Exactly!! The ICC & the individual boards have a team that inspect the quality of the pitches, to ensure that at least four days play takes play. Revenue is what it’s all about.

I do despair for the state of batting.

Comment by Suave

I have seen England and Aussies prepare sportive wickets for test matches where there is a little bit in it for bowlers and batters. Else India couldn’t have won in Nottingham and Perth. The pitches in the sub continent are always tailor-made for the home side (dust bowls in case of India). It just does not only take away the fairness in sport, it also shows the team in bad light. Winning at all costs? I don’t subscribe to that idea. “Fairness” is the word.

Comment by 12th Man

Did teams never collapse in days of yore on seaming and spitting pitches?

Where is the double blind cross-over study to prove that the stodgy old bastards of yesteryear would cope any better on the pitches dished up today?

Comment by Park

A very valid point Park! I am naturally assuming that would be the case, as the pitches have got much better. I feel that a good batsman in an uncovered era, would make hay on current pitches.
That doesn’t mean it would happen.

Comment by Suave

Park, I can’t be bothered clicking on the relevant Statsguru buttons again, but I remember looking at a related question a couple of months ago. Batsmen today are scoring faster than they used to, but they’re also getting out faster. Overall, the former tends to be the dominant factor (averages are going up), but when you have to bat out a draw on the last day, the important thing is time. And in Tests where teams have to bat more than a day to save the match, batsmen are doing worse now than they have for a long time.

Comment by David Barry

So the answer to my question is yes, the study has been done.

Or are bowlers doing better, David? Have reverse swing and timing of new ball changes also had an effect?

Comment by Park

I’m more inclined to blame the batsmen than say that the bowlers are doing better. The scoring rate in long fourth innings in the 2000’s has been 2.88 runs per over – that’s the highest of any decade ever. But wickets are coming, on average, at just over one per 13 overs – the fastest rate of wickets since World War I. (As we can see, I’ve gone back to Statsguru….)

Now while it’s possible that bowlers are mixing up more bad balls with more good balls, it’s more likely to simply be that batsmen aren’t used to stonewalling and can’t help taking risks.

I don’t know how you’d look for effects of reverse swing – not all teams have good reverse swing bowlers.

Differences of when the new ball is taken might be an interesting one to study (it’d take a bit of leg-work – I don’t know all the history of it), though I’m not sure if you could disentangle it from the changing players.

Comment by David Barry

Nice questions Park, and one that I hope David can answer for us.

I don’t think reverse swing will play too much of a part. I also find it difficult to believe that you couldn’t achieve reverse swing in the “olden days”.

Comment by Suave

I agree with your point about reverse swing, Suave. One of the posters on a cricket forum I frequent is the son of a former Australian cricketer, and he reckons that the Pakistan tour of 1956/7 against Khan Mohammad and Fazal Mahmood was the first time that the Aussies had seen the vicious late swing “going the wrong way”.

Comment by David Barry

David,

In general, I tend to be cautious with regard to claims like “batsmen’s techniques have deteriorated.” As Park and others have noted, such an analysis is not easy because a part of what you observe (batsmen getting out quicker) may be due to the fact that bowlers are now perhaps better (see above remarks about reverse swing) or even because the rules of the game have changed in a manner which prevents batsmen from stone-walling in the same manner as before. For instance, umpires are no longer that hesitant about giving an LBW decision even if the ball strikes the pad outside the line of off-stump if they are convinced that the batsman did not intend playing a stroke.

Isolating the effect of “flawed techniques” from all the other things that could also have contributed to batsmen getting out quicker, is in effect, an econometric type of exercise. I am not entirely sure what is the proper way of doing this – if you or anyone else knows, perhaps you/they could share it with us? But these issues do need to be addressed if one is to trust a claim like the one put forward.

This part of what you say is intriguing:

And in Tests where teams have to bat more than a day to save the match, batsmen are doing worse now than they have for a long time.

Could you say a bit more about the analysis and your results?

Comment by suresh

Thanks for that Suresh, a very interesting point!

Comment by Suave

Suresh, I didn’t do anything econometrical. I just took fourth innings (excl. Zim and Bdesh matches) that lasted at least 540 balls (ie, 90 six-ball overs) and looked at run rate and wicket rate.

decade: average, run rate, overs per wicket
1950’s: 33.6, 2.1, 15.9
1960’s: 31.2, 2.2, 13.9
1970’s: 37.6, 2.4, 15.8
1980’s: 36.0, 2.6, 13.8
1990’s: 35.1, 2.5, 13.9
2000’s: 36.9, 2.9, 12.8

The 2000’s show two striking features – a very high run rate, and a high wicket rate. If you score faster, you increase the risk of getting out. Scoring at a high run rate is in large part chosen by the batsmen – if they want to block, they block.

As I said earlier, it’s possible that bowlers are serving up more bad balls and more wicket balls, but I really don’t think that that’s a likely explanation.

Comment by David Barry

David, thanks for that. Very interesting figures.

I’m inclined to agree with your suggestion re: bowlers, I can’t believe that bowlers are any worse.
There are bigger bats, flatter decks and shorted boundaries. I can’t imagine someone like Wally Hammond or the 3W’s wouldn’t have averaged much higher in today’s pitches.

Suresh, this is a non-scientific/statistical belief, but I’m fairly confident in my assertion

Comment by Suave

Well I would put in the suggestion that yesterday we had a lot of high quality bowlers on display especially in the Lancs/Durham game. It was Good to see Davies get a game for Durham as he can be absolutely deadly on pitches which offer assistance. Meanwhile when Durham came to Bat Anderson seemed to have one of those “on” days when hes unplayable and Flintoff seems to be doing everything possible for a recall apart from not batting like a retard.

Comment by Narkins

Thanks for your response, David. Let me play the Devil’s advocate. The figures still don’t indicate to me deterioration in batting techniques. It looks to me (and as you yourself say in one of your comments above) as if batsmen in the 2000s have “traded off” a higher run rate against the higher likelihood of getting out. Since the batting averages have increased, this tradeoff on average leaves the batsmen better off. Put another way, what might be happening is that the techniques have not changed, it’s just that batsmen nowadays are willing to take risks which an earlier generation of batsmen would not have taken. You could call this willingness to take more risks a “deterioration in technique.” I would disagree but at this point, we run the risk of the debate descending into semantics about what is really meant by deteriorating techniques, so let me turn to another point.

Sure, batsmen these days, whether due to bad technique or batting riskily, lose matches which might have been saved by a more cautious earlier generation. In that respect, the current generation fares worse. However, you ignore the fact that by batting cautiously, the previous generation perhaps drew or even lost matches that the current generation might have won. Surely, in comparing two generations of batsmen, you have to take both aspects into consideration. Merely berating the current generation for failing to bat out an entire day as effectively as a previous generation is to neglect the other part of this tradeoff.

Let us not forget incidentally that it was the cautious strategy taken to extremes that gave us gems like Boycott’s memorable(?) 264 not out after which he was dropped for slow scoring! There were limits even then, I guess.

Just some random thoughts. Apologies for the length of the comment.

Comment by suresh

No worries on the length of comment Suresh. I’m sure Suave doesn’t mind either. 🙂

You’ll note that I haven’t mentioned the word ‘technique’ once in my comments. Your interpretation that batsmen are taking more risks in scoring faster is exactly the same as mine, and I agree that they are probably winning more matches (as well as losing more) as a result.

I happen to agree with Suave and those who say that batsmen with poor techniques against good bowling are able to do much better than they should these days, but that’s not something I can argue with statistics – they don’t say how much the ball’s swinging in scorecards.

Comment by David Barry

But now I just checked the win/loss/draw figures, and they go like this:
1950’s: 6/12/4
1960’s: 5/17/13 (12 draws + 1 tie)
1970’s: 6/14/19
1980’s: 3/8/8 (7 draws + 1 tie)
1990’s: 8/19/16
2000’s: 5/23/17

So the win/loss is not particularly good this decade.

Comment by David Barry

Suresh, I love your responses, and I’m happy to see a nice intelligent debate going on.

Trust me, it doesn’t happen that often here 😉

And David, thanks for the effort today!

I’d suggest that the draw ratio has stayed high, because the pitches are better now, and that in the golden days, it was because of stoic batting.
No clear winner there.

As David says, there’s no way to use statistics to show whether, swinging, seaming wickets make any difference.

Comment by Suave

David, could you explain the win/loss/draw figures? Are they for all teams? Looks unlikely. If it is for one team, which one is it?

Comment by suresh

Another factor to consider is perhaps increased fitness of bowlers. Improved training techniques and more scientific training for bowlers may mean that they are placing more pressure on batsmen by maintaining a line better into a fifth day(obviously not Harmy, but real bowlers).

When looking at the improvement in all sports due to more targeted training I can’t think that bowlers are not benefiting from that. Batsmen too are doing weight training that never occurred in days past.

I think you and Suave are right that batsmen’s mindset and technique play a part, but I think there are other factors other than “they were better in the old days”. I would be surprised if pitches and bats are better that some aspects of players’ performance aren’t going the same way.

Comment by Park

Suresh, the win/loss/draws are across all Tests, considering the team that bats 540+ balls in the fourth innings.

Comment by David Barry




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