Almanac Cricket: The Catch

Scorecards sometimes disguise the truth.

 

Lillee c Willey b Dilley is among cricket’s most famous scorebook entries yet it’s a wholly unremarkable wicket, a mere 1970’s transaction at the WACA.

 

In the same group as the Indian spelling bee-worthy Chamundeshwarnath c Balasubramaniam b Ananthapadmanabhan at Visakhapatnam, perhaps.

 

Match 35 of BBL07 was likely to be remembered, if at all, for the Strikers’ import Colin Ingram swatting a handful of crisp sixes at the Docklands stadium in front of a languid Monday night crowd, the spectator numbers down like a late season MBL assignment with the Arizona Diamondbacks hosting the San Diego Padres on an airless August evening.

 

This scorecard is essentially innocuous:

 

Bravo c Weatherald b Khan

 

Cricket might be a team game played by individuals but Bravo’s dismissal was a masterpiece of collaboration, a triumph of imagination that reminds us of sport’s capacity to thrill and surprise.

 

Among the Bucketheads and the Bruno Mars song grabs and the confected entertainment this catch, although probably insignificant in the broader context of the night’s result and the lengthened summer, was a moment to rival John Dyson on the SCG boundary and Glen McGrath at horizontal stretch in front of the members at Adelaide Oval.

 

Dwayne Bravo, the Trinidadian cricketer, lofted a Khan delivery high towards the Docklands’ angular roofing architecture and it began its descent at extra cover with journeyman carpenter Ben Laughlin cleverly netting the ball close to the rope, too close as is often the way, and as cruel momentum pulled him like iron filings at a magnet he somehow saw the blue flash of a team mate.

 

Jake Weatherald was inboard, but at a full pitch distance from the immediacy of the heroics. With Laughlin airborne and scorching at the line he flicked the Kookaburra towards his bluish colleague with the authority of a Federer backhand before diving into the turf, the first act of this drama complete.

 

Weatherald has had a modest campaign which has threatened, but not fired. He now became the Jagger to Laughlin’s Keef, producing an equally athletic manoeuvre to take the catch with a diving effort that, in this often-singular enterprise, demanded cooperation of balletic beauty as well as Zen-presence and advanced physical literacy.

 

It was a remarkable relay catch that even the most visionary fans of the last century could have scarcely conceived.

 

Football and cricket continue to evolve, and watching old grand final and Ashes footage are sometimes acts of almost ridiculous nostalgia so as to make these games often seem beyond the child-like in their structure and execution.

 

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

About Mickey Randall

Late afternoon beer, Exile on Main St playing. Sport like cricket, most types of football, golf, squash, horse racing. Travel, with Vancouver my favourite city, but there’s nowhere I’ve not happily been. Except Luton. Reading. Writing about family, sport, music, the stuff that amuses me. Conversation. Wit. Irony. McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon, Barossa shiraz, Coopers Sparkling Ale. Jazz and especially Miles Davis. Lots and lots of music. I live in Adelaide with my wife Kerry-ann and our boys Alex and Max.

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    Mickey, the replays don’t quite do it justice, live on TV, when you had no idea what was about to happen, it was absolutely brilliant. Like you, love the evolution of skills, of which T20 has brought plenty.

    Your second line reminded me of a song by the great band TISM, “Lillee Caught Dilley Bowled Milli Vanilli”. Aren’t all TISM song titles fantastic?!

  2. Luke- TISM is a magnificent part of Australian popular culture and Greg! The Stop Sign!! a highlight. I especially love the intro featuring Kimba’s own Shane Wakelin on a bike in the St Kilda training facility beneath the iconic, “Your (sic) a professional. ‘Keep it simple’ “.

    Forget Snoop Doggy Dogg
    Forget old Ice T
    The true word out on the streets
    Is produced by the TAC

    Among their great song titles (those reproducible here) is “The Parable of Glenn McGrath’s Haircut”, given our cricketing theme.

    Thanks fella.

  3. Cricket should change the protocol for these catches so the player who’s done the extraordinary hard part gets credit too.

    i.e. Bravo c Laughlin/Weatherald b Khan

  4. JD- agree that the first fielder in the catch should be rewarded, in the same way that many sports acknowledge an assist. Hard to argue that Laughlin didn’t deserve a credit as it was an astonishing effort in the outfield, especially for a 35yo.

    Thanks for this.

  5. Thanks for pointing this out, otherwise I would not have known abs searched for the video on line

  6. …and searched…

  7. Mickey, it was an excellent catch.
    But the frustrating thing for the tv viewer is that, in real time, the cameras did not capture the essence of the catch. It was the replays from different angles that told the whole story.

    Without knowing the stats or without wanting to sound critical, I reckon there have been a lot more catches dropped in this season of BBL.

  8. DBalassone says:

    I agree with everything you say. Stunning. And Smokie is right too, in real time, Channel 10 missed the completion of the catch by Weatherald (camera work was Ch 7/AFL like).

    But I have to say, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the interview with Weatherald afterwards was strange – did he insinuate that Laughlin nearly stuffed it up by running to close to the boundary? I was flabbergasted by this comment. Laughlin did his bit perfectly and I would argue that what Laughlin did was 100 times harder than what Weatherald had to do (it was a good dive by Weatherald yes, but Laughlin had to walk the tight rate at full pace and flick it back at full stretch to a bloke 30 metres away).

  9. 6%- thanks for that. I imagine it’s clocked over one million views already.

    Agree Smokie that there seem to have been gallons of dropped catches this summer. And not only in the BBL. I’m reminded again of the handwritten note that Blighty apparently had in his pocket when coaching- “Never forget how hard it is to play this game”

    DBalassone- I think the most remarkable part of the catch was Laughlin’s flick to Weatherald- done horizontally and in mid-air. I’m sure they practise these too.

    Thanks.

  10. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Bring back the picket fences I say.

  11. Swish- curiously enough a mate mentioned the death of the picket fence yesterday when we discussed this catch. Who’d have thought that this simple change would’ve opened up a new skill in the game?

    I’d like golf holes to double in size. Surely, this would be easy.

  12. Simly incredible best team catch in cricket history thinking of the whole difficulty aspect
    catching it being aware where the boundary line the flick and awareness yes arguably the greatest catch in cricket history and yep should be c Laughlin-Weatherald b Khan
    ( DBallassone just,Jakes sense of humour )

  13. Rulebook- with team catches becoming more frequent I think both fielders should be acknowledged via the method of recording you’ve used. I reckon SK Warne and IM Chappell would be on board.

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