Now I’m no efficiency expert, but it strikes me that the great game of cricket is saddled with an unacceptable degree of wastefulness. Indeed, I venture it’s so inefficient, it’s a wonder us peoples of the former British empire haven’t given it the sack!
For instance: changing ends after each over.
Why do we need to change ends after each over? Shouldn’t we do so after every 15 overs or so? That way you could do it at the breaks for drinks, lunch and tea. You’d still have 45 overs from each end in this model and most of the fielders wouldn’t have to dart from one end to the other 90 times a day. The batsmen would just change ends after each over and apart for some tweaks, most fielders would stay put. In short, you’d reduce the burden of playing on both sides of the pitch from 11 to 4 (4, of course, being the two batsmen plus the two bowlers in rotation). That’s a saving of up to 7 players crisscrossing each other 90 times a day. Moreover, that’s a saving that would probably translate to lengthening careers? (well at least, indolent types like Inzamam-ul-Haq’s!)
Further, wouldn’t changing ends at the breaks minimize sideboard movements and all its associated malfunctions to a fraction of what we now experience?
Like, how many times has play grinded to a halt because the KFC ad on the panels haven’t swiveled to white?
Wasteful, cricket: wasteful.
And it doesn’t stop there; DRS also needs a blowtorch on it.
Why do we go through all the rigmarole on fielding team referrals for LB’s when Hawkeye went on to show the ball wasn’t hitting the stumps?
As it stands, we first check that the bowler’s front foot fell behind the line and then if hotspot and snicko haven’t detected contact with the bat, and only then do we move to ball tracking
But shouldn’t it work the other way around?
If Hawkeye showed that the ball struck outside off, or pitched outside leg, or indeed, was not hitting the stumps, why do we need to check if the delivery was legitimate or whether there was bat?
By checking Hawkeye first, we would get 4 down to 1 on hare-brained LB referrals from fielding teams, and let’s face it, most LB referrals from fielding teams are hare-brained (and if not that, pitiful, pitiful acts of desperation).
Again, wasteful, cricket: wasteful.
And now to get a little left field.
Overs 15 to 40 in ODI’s are cricket at its most tedious. Batsmen play it safe by nurdling the ball around for singles, while bowlers are blissfully content for them to do so. It’s a toxic chemistry of both teams shying from brinkmanship to play the percentages.
Why not remove this from ODI’s by taking a Duckworth-Lewis approach? I mean, we now have a big enough sample size of 15-40’s tedium to factor how many runs will be made and how many wickets will be lost, don’t we?
The way I see it working is that at the 15th over you’d crunch the numbers, add those runs to the score, negotiate which batsmen are deemed dismissed, and move forward.
For example, say a team was 2 for 75, an algorithm would say that a team on average goes on from there to be 4 for 180 at the 40th, so we’d pick up at that score.
Better still, we could just reduce ODI’s to say 25 overs and save cricket all the associated D-Lewis consultancy changes?
But hang on, we’ve already done that, haven’t we? It’s called the superior limited over model T20 (you know, the game where dibbly dobbly part timers aren’t bowling in 10 over stretches?).
Either way, if you go D-Lewis, or just gut those overs, ODI’s start looking a whole lot more efficient; and if not that, not so tedious.
As it stands, though, they’re the game at its most slothful.
And to now finish up on something of a coda: the bizarre.
Fidgeting batsmen like Steve Smith and Dave Warner must burn through a tremendous amount of calories adjusting themselves after each ball. I mean, if they’re not fidgeting with their gloves and wristbands, they’re tugging at their pads and boxes with equal vigor.
Now my thinking is this is costing Cricket Australia a helluva lot in cucumber sandwiches at the breaks. Like to fuel all that fidgeting, they’d be loading up with more food than the average non-hyperactive player, right?
If, however, CA had the good sense to provide players with psychiatric support for their OCD’s, maybe they could get the fidgeting down to a manageable level and keep the party-pie costs to a minimum?
I mean, there’s gotta be a cross-over point where the psychiatry costs less than the pies, yeah? Just thinking.
Finally, Shane Warne.
Warnie is pretty much working his way towards completing a bad boys bucket list of cricketing transgressions. He’s been in strife for banned substances, inappropriate dealings with bookies and then there’s all the tawdry stuff from his personal life.
Now what I’m thinking is there’s always a controversy around the corner with Warnie, so the next time we have one, let’s consolidate all the stuff he’ll undoubtedly do in the future in one grab. That way it’ll save cricket from wasting resources damage controlling headache after headache (after headache!).
To do my bit for the game, I drafted up a little something which Reuters could use the next time he transgresses:
‘Shane Warne was caught on air using the C-bomb in yesterday’s ODI against Pakistan and was suspended by the Nine network for the remainder of the summer.
‘No stranger to controversy, Warne will go on to make headlines for associating with known criminals, overseeing an injection program at the Melbourne Stars and for unwittingly leaking intelligence to the BCCI which enabled it to hack DRS.
‘Warne was approached on the set of “I’m a celebrity, get me another can of baked beans” but refused to comment. He did, however, let the beans do the talking for him later in the day.’