Almanac Cricket: Blind, Deaf and Clueless and Cricketless

This blog is becoming a ‘bog’; another weekend washed out. I was supposed to umpire the second day of Burnley v South Yarra. The association makes the two captains go to the ground at 9 o’clock in the morning and decided if play is to be abandoned. It poured rain in South Yarra from about 10 o’clock which was just after the captains had left the area. The rain gods are angry.


I spent the most of the day at the Botanic Gardens plant sale, taking money and ferrying plants to people’s cars. My wife is most lenient, allowing me to dedicate the summer to cricket, so whenever I can, I try to earn some husband brownie points by being a helper at these biannual sales.


I know nothing of botany and despise gardening of any sort, but I have developed a set of lies I tell to the plant buyers at these sales. Cricketers tell lies also. ‘The ball that bowled me moved in sharply’ means the ball was dead straight. ‘The one I edged to the keeper swung late’ means the ball was dead straight. ‘It was my call’ generally means I was not backing up and am too fat and slow. ‘That umpire has always hated me’ means, well, this may be true. There are two former Kiwis, ex- mercantile players (one a captain) that I would like to send on their way. No love lost there.


The cheerful band of Botanic volunteers (The Growing Friends) have not all realised my propensity to gild the lily when encouraging punters to buy up big at these sales.  My favourite is, ‘Of course this is easy to grow. It is classified as a weed in some countries.’ Hard to prove this is a lie and it serves the noble purpose of raising money for a good cause. The Botanic Gardens do a lot of worthwhile research. I saw something in a cricket match on the weekend that is along the same lines; generally not to be encouraged but a good idea and done for the right reasons.


On Sunday I walked past a cricket game being played with only one official umpire. They had a player (member of the batting side, of course) doing the square leg duties. He was kitted out in pads, batting gloves and a bat. They were 8 wickets down. He was the number 11 and they reckoned the number 10 wouldn’t last long so to save time, why not have the next batsman to bat out there umpiring?


There are Laws that cover who can act as a runner. It has to be someone who has batted already if possible. The Law makers think that allowing a player to act as a runner before he has batted is somehow an advantage to this player. There are many, many Laws that have been introduced over the last 150 years to stop players getting an unfair advantage. The Wide Law, most of the no ball infringements and large amounts of Law 42 (Fair and Unfair Play) have all been introduced to stop, basically, unfair play. They will come up during the season.


Making it mandatory for the next batsman in, to be square leg umpire, dressed for the part (to bat of course) is a bloody good idea that the MCC should look at including in the next rewrite of the Laws. The real problem with DRS is that it slows the game down. This square leg umpire idea could bring Beer O’clock forward 15 minutes over an average day and that would be a great outcome!!!!!





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