Among the worst non declarations (not to it was well too late anyway) has a new nominee today in First Class cricket anyway. WA batting through most of the last day and setting Tassie more 500 to win in bugger all time when Tassie have been crap in the Pura Cup all year stinks of weakness.
Hansie Cronje and English Captain (Hussain maybe) in a Test Match in South Africa where both teams declared the first innings without batting was a very good declaration IMO.
It was kinda controversal but was good for the game.
- As featured in The Independent.
"Predictably, the ending of his international career did not end the argument about Pietersen's merits, as an army of informed commentators and Piers Morgan weighed in to defend or attack him."
- The Guardian's Andrew Anthony
It's interesting that that game was never fixed in the classic manner. The person responsible, Marlon Aronstram, planned to beat the bookmakers. Normally, it's the bookmakers who get involved to try and beat the punters.
Cronje, in short, was interested not in breathing life into the game, but getting a result. Which meant that a South African victory was the best outcome for him, an England victory the second. And to ensure against the draw, he, er, cunningly brought himself on just when it looked like England were going to shut-up shop.
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What is undeniable is that it created an exciting finish to a test match, which is usually a good thing. Unfortunately the circumstances are such that no two captains are likely to come to a similar arrangement any time soon because the finger of suspicion would inevitably point in their directions. Which is maybe a pity.
Hussain's reaction when he heard the suggestion (Alec Stewart walked past him on the fourth evening and said "have you spoken to Hansie? He wants to make a game of it.") was "nah, no way, this isn't Essex v Hampshire at Colchester, this is a Test, you don't mess around with Tests". Exactly as you say - the idea was unthinkable.
The point is, though - why? I think it was a downright odd thought. The Test was a dead one, and there was a large crowd of English spectators. Why not make a game of it? There was no good reason not to. Sure, the victory wouldn't have meant much to anyone - Atherton recalls how (long before anyone suspected gambling-related intervention) he felt "completely hollow" as he watched the fans celebrate. It wasn't a true Test-match victory. I felt exactly the same as you and Atherton did. Even now, I think of that series as a 2-0 victory for SA.
But it would, had the idea been raised by, let's say, Graeme Ford or Duncan Fletcher and not the aforementioned Aronstram, have been a wonderful thing for cricket. It turned what would otherwise have been a meaningless day into a thrilling one. And that, really, is all that would have mattered had Aronstram not been involved.
Would probably agree with your first idea though, if they're close to a very big milestone and you as a captain are close to a declaration it would be a great idea to inform them.
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