When the hell did it become a maximum?
It seems that the common and traditionally accepted description to designate a six has gone from a jokey piece of comment by one or two TV presenters to being a reasonably accepted piece of cricket definition in reputable journals and match summaries.
And just this week, in the Q&A part of Cricinfo (Ask Steven), his article’s title includes the words “Morgan’s Maximums”
Did I miss a meeting, a memo or a press release? (Do they still write memos? Maybe I missed a tweet)
There are two forms of boundaries, 4s and 6s. One goes to the boundary, one over it. That’s not too hard is it?
And yes, T20 is changing the way we look at cricket, and we have to move with the times. I get that, and see ramp shot, sweeper and other similar phrases becoming part of the norm in cricket, which is perfectly understandable as they are innovations for which the 100 year plus game didn’t have names for.
Just as football is evolving away from traditional field positions and we are coming up with new names both descriptive (tagger, loose man, small forward) to ridiculous (third tall, lead-up forward, slingshot), cricket has developed too.
However, a hit over the boundary, (despite encroaching boundary lengths and ropes, don’t start me on that) is still the same as it has been since scoring changed to reward a player 6 runs for going out of the field of play, not out of the entire ground, which you once had to do to score 6.
So, if a six is still a six, why is a six now a maximum? If this was a sneaky plan to label something with a branded name, like a new ice cream, (“and Dunk launches that high over mid-wicket for another Streets Maximum!”) I could understand it. Deplore it, but understand it.
But why have we started to move towards this name? Is a nurdled single off the hip now going to become a minimum? An on drive at the WACA that gets you three going to be called a half or a 50 percenter?
So again, what the hell happened to the 6?
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rant* where I bemoan everything invented after the debut of Neil Harvey as being terrible. I am not saying the old stuff is best, we should never change and this T20 stuff is the death of cricket. T20 is in fact a marketing, entertainment and financial windfall that is having a flow on impact to Test Cricket and should be seen as a supplement to the main product, like Fanta is to Coke.
T20 is also changing the way we look at stats. There have been some excellent pieces published recently on the need for a review of what we use as measurements of performance in this new form of cricket, including one fine article from Ed Cowan. We see player milestones as being scores of 30 plus, dot balls replacing maidens and the measure of strike rate plus average gives a far better impression of value to a team. I like all those.
I am not immune to change. I can move with the times. Just last night, I downloaded my first app. So, clearly, I am what you call an early adopter.
But maximum? Give me a cotton pickin’, fair go, what the flamin’ heck, where did that come from, you’re kidding, I weep for the future and blame the internet, break.
A 4 is a 4, a 6 is a 6. Tennis scores are strange when you really consider them; a super goal makes no sense and basketball improved dramatically as a spectator sport when it moved to awarding three points for long shots (and a shot clock it must be said) decades ago.
But a maximum? Stop trying to be cool Mark Nicholas, stop trying to be the blokey best mate to everyone in the box because you use their nicknames and know their golf games James Brayshaw, and stop telling Sir Viv you got 5 tons for Marcellin, Andy ‘Buckets’ Maher!
Call a spade a spade. Call a six a six.
*Ok, maybe it is a bit of a rant