Cricket: saddled with inefficiencies

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.’

About Punxsutawney Pete

Punxsutawney Pete see's a shadow: twelve more months of winter


  1. I totally agree re changing ends and the method re DRS

  2. Agree re Ball-tracker. Let’s see if the ball is actually hitting the stumps before going through all the other bs

  3. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Yeah fellas, the ball-tracker would cut down all the bs you’d reckon. The changing ends, I’d be sad to see it go. Can’t articulate exactly why, but I would. The rest? The rest I thought of while on the can, so that says everything about them.

  4. Laughs aplenty! You have highlighted just why T20 is killing off ODIs (with the exception of the World Cup) – ODIs have managed to make scoring at six an over tedious. Reckon they should completely flip the format by playing them exclusively on green monsters. If a team can bat out 50 overs they’d be considered to have done well.

    As for DRS, front foot is always checked because of its potential to affect the score as well as the decision, particularly with moves to review every ball for no balls. Always assumed that the tiresome snicko / hot spot stuff (“rock and roll it. rock and roll it again thanks”) was to give time to get the hawkeye analysis completed/ready. If they can get it done quickly enough, then absolutely, seek to negate the hypothesis first!

  5. ‘Seek to negate the hypothesis first’ is now my fave new motto.

    I reckon it’s gotta be that they’re buying time for Hawkeye to collate/ whatever it is it does. But it also adds to the drama, I guess? Legit delivery, no snick, struck in line, didn’t pitch outside leg, hitting the stumps flush has a 1st 2nd and 3rd act to it. Working backwards from hitting flush, meeting the criteria, no bat, but then the front foot overstepping is not gonna win em at the box office. Like, geez that’d be deflating if it was Kohli’s wicket in Mumbai. You’d wanna chuck it in thinking you had him through all them steps only to find it was a no ball.

    To go off topic Dave and other Almanackers, I just found out that Radio National’s ‘The Inside Sleeve’ was decommissioned as of last Friday. I’ve found the ‘The Inside Sleeve’ the perfect fit for a ‘forty something, goin on fifty’ bloke to discover new music. Its bent for Indie, folky stuff was right up my alley and I can’t tell you how horrified I am that it will no longer be a part of my life. Here’s some of the wonderful artists it introduced me to: Arcade fire, Asgeir, King Creosote, The National, Foals, Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, Teleman and dozens more. They would also have new stuff from staples like Radiohead and It’s where I first heard their spectacular new track, ‘Burn the Witch.”

    Paul Gough, the presenter and a man of my vintage, did a superb job hosting the show. His mix of interviews and background stuff on the artists complimenting everything perfectly. I also loved how he came across as a connoisseur. You don’t get that elsewhere. They’re all vacuous DJ types more interested in talk back and riffing with co-hosts. I’ll be contacting RN and complaining vehemently about this troubling development. I encourage other ‘Inside sleeve’ fans to do the same.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    I reckon SK Warne would be a very happy man if those are his only future transgressions!

    Drinks breaks are the big one for me. Surely we can have water boys run out after every over like the AFL to keep everyone hydrated.

    The traditionalist in me still likes the change of end after each over.

  7. Yeah Luke, Warnie would settle for them right now if fate could offer em. But you’d think fate would feel that it was only getting 10 cents in the dollar, so I don’t see the deal making it to the table.

    Would miss the change of ends after each over too. Even if the logic is flawed for this method, it’s become a intrinsic part of the game’s rhythm.

    And just on how it came to be? I was talking with a mate about it the other day, and our thinking was it probably has to do with England’s mild weather. We deduced that players gravitated to the changing ends every over because it kept them on the move. Like can you imagine being marooned at first slip on a freezing April morning for a whole hour or two? You’d welcome any opportunity to work up a sweat; even if was just making it up to the other end every 6 balls. Be interesting to find out how it actually evolved, if it aint something like that.

  8. Did you know that some Grade cricket in Melbourne only changes ends every five overs?

    My understanding of DRS is that it is based on multiple cameras positioned around the ground to track the ball. The algorithm that produces the ball track is the combination of multiple footage of the ball as at moves down the wicket. The delay is almost certainly due to the fact that they only run the algorithm on the computer when there is a request; even when there is not a referral there is still a delay before the commentary displays the track. You could run it faster or for every ball, but that would require a more expensive computer, and I assume that they have struck a balance between actual use and cost.

    Re: fidgeting batsmen; I’d have thought that Cricket Australia would also have a heavy expense in uniforms, particularly trousers, as that thin polyester stuff the have probably wears away in the crotch region pretty quick. Given that the argument for using DRS technology is for the benefit of television viewers, maybe we should introduce some ‘electric shock’ technology to change the habit of the fidgets. Would be equally entertaining.

    Nice piece of writing and thanks for the entertainment.


  9. Didn’t know about the 5 over change in grade cricket in Melbourne. How about that? I’m dead against the electric shot suggestion just in case you weren’t being jocular. My instincts, however, were you were.

    Nice photos on your website. I love the jumpers of the green team with Carlton type emblems, whoever they were.

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