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Thread: Entertaining cricket vs Good cricket

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Entertaining cricket vs Good cricket

    The line between the two is very blurry in a lot of cricket-watchers' minds. The consensus among fans, pundits and commentators is that almost all modern field settings are too defensive, all declarations occur at least an hour later than necessary, and every batsman isn't playing enough shots.

    This applies to almost every criticism you hear on Sky's commentary these days. Some criticisms are completely illogical, like keeping the field in for a batsman that isn't taking singles. But they're defended with vague clichés like "sending a message" and "applying pressure". As an aside, the concept of pressure in cricket needs scrapped. If it can usually be used to defend both sides of an argument, it's not a useful concept.

    Anyway, I bring this up now because Cribb cornered it in the NZ tour thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince EWS View Post
    What I find interesting is that some of the people who have been very critical of Cook's declaration timing here are the same people who would've applauded Smith's declaration here under the logic of "there's no difference between 2-0 and 1-0." The overall series result is either infinitely more important than the scoreline or it's not; it's not a theory that should change depending on whether it backs up what you want to see as a spectator or not. If there was no difference between 2-0 and 1-0 there then the same logic applies here.
    But I think it's even more widespread than that. I reckon it probably applies to the majority of disagreements between the guys playing and the guys watching.
    Quote Originally Posted by zaremba View Post
    The Filth have comfortably the better bowling. But the Gash have the batting. Might be quite good to watch.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    It really depends on the situation.

    Cook got away with his declaration, but criticism at the time it was made was completely justified for reasons I outlined in the tour thread just now. England lost time and gained no further advantage.

    Field in vs field spread also depends on how many runs you have to play with, what the match situation is and the batsman in question. Putting a man on the cover boundary to someone like Rutherford or a similar player and giving him the single makes the risk:reward ratio worse for Rutherford in theory since he is getting less runs for his attacking stroke, but he's also getting off strike and escaping a working over. He also puts a new man on strike that the bowler will have to adjust his plan to, especially if they're a right hander or a very different batsman, so the bowler has to be able to adjust ball after ball rather than settle into an examination of Rutherford.

    Rutherford is also not going to go as hard at the ball when he can see a sweeper as opposed to if the boundary is right there. He will be happy to knock it into the gap rather than smash it, which decreases the risk of the shot a bit (Rutherford is probably a bad example, so feel free to substitute in Michael Hussey).
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Yeah I'm not really commenting on the strategies themselves. My point is just that defensive tactics attract such a disproportionate level of criticism. Third man has been criminally under-used for years, but you don't get Botham's "I just don't understand it" rant about that. But you do get rants about the lack of a third slip on pitches where there's almost no chance at all of the ball carrying to one.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Stuff like a declaration is so match-dependent, though. Depends too heavily on who your oppo is and how they're travelling for binary comparisons like this, tbh.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    If it can usually be used to defend both sides of an argument, it's not a useful concept.
    Only at the fan level. We're making so many guesses about who's under the gun in a match, the vast majority of them could be wrong.

    Acknowledging both sides are under pressure even in a prima facie one-sided situation is just an acknowledgement that even when things are in your favour, against good players, you still have to do the job and momentum can swing back to them fairly easily. On a green deck, against guys who can bat, you still have to be quite a talented bowler or they'll make it look easy and you'll have comms saying **** like "Hmm, looks like there was less in the deck than we thought."
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 28-05-2013 at 05:03 PM.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Only at the fan level. We're making so many guesses about who's under the gun in a match, the vast majority of them could be wrong.

    Acknowledging both sides are under pressure even in a prima facie one-sided situation is just an acknowledgement that even when things are in your favour, against good players, you still have to do the job and momentum can swing back to them fairly easily. On a green deck, against guys who can bat, you still have to be quite a talented bowler or they'll make it look easy and you'll have comms saying **** like "Hmm, looks like there was less in the deck than we thought."
    My problem is that it can be used to advocate opposite positions. One captain might cut off the point boundary to keep the pressure on, another might keep a man at point stopping the single to keep the pressure on. So what's the point of even saying the bit about pressure? Might as well not provide any reasoning at all.

    It seems to me to be a proxy for an underlying argument about how you expect the opposing team to react mentally to a particular situation. But it's now used for so many of those arguments that it doesn't actually add anything of value. At best it's vague and obscures the point you're trying to make, but most of the time it's just waffle.

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    International Coach Pothas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    The line between the two is very blurry in a lot of cricket-watchers' minds. The consensus among fans, pundits and commentators is that almost all modern field settings are too defensive, all declarations occur at least an hour later than necessary, and every batsman isn't playing enough shots.

    This applies to almost every criticism you hear on Sky's commentary these days. Some criticisms are completely illogical, like keeping the field in for a batsman that isn't taking singles. But they're defended with vague clichés like "sending a message" and "applying pressure". As an aside, the concept of pressure in cricket needs scrapped. If it can usually be used to defend both sides of an argument, it's not a useful concept.
    I think this is something that the better commentators, such as Hussain, are aware of. It will be interesting to see what Strauss says on these sorts of issues later this summer. I rather fear that at first he will be rather too diplomatic but hope as he grows into it that we will hear a somewhat different opinion than what we are used to.

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    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    At least this thread should have no mention of Tendulkar.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    It's often the blokes who were conservative themselves who sit in the commentary box and say things are too negative now. FMD Bill Lawry will often say players need to get on with things, or a captain should take a risk - he once set the WI 700 to win a test ffs.
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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Fair enough the follow on debate may apply in this entertainment vs. good cricket discussion, but the declaration debate with Cook most certainly does not. It has very little to do with entertainment or wanting Cook to play the game as the fans want it. Its just simple - he batted on far longer than was required. England had already made a total that NZ were not chasing. The series was won. Yet they batted on another hour.

    PEWS' theory that once England had chosen not to enforce the follow on it made sense to then play for the draw is fine up until England had a lead of 400. It was then impossible for England to lose.

    This isn't about entertainment. This is about poor tactics. It doesn't mean it was the end of the world. But because I think Cook should have declared before he did doesn't mean I think Trott should have gone at 5rpo or England should have declared setting a chase of 300.
    Last edited by Jono; 28-05-2013 at 06:18 PM.

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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    Yeah I'm not really commenting on the strategies themselves. My point is just that defensive tactics attract such a disproportionate level of criticism. Third man has been criminally under-used for years, but you don't get Botham's "I just don't understand it" rant about that. But you do get rants about the lack of a third slip on pitches where there's almost no chance at all of the ball carrying to one.
    I could have sworn the whole 2005 Ashes was people going on about Ponting not having a third man

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    My problem is that it can be used to advocate opposite positions. One captain might cut off the point boundary to keep the pressure on, another might keep a man at point stopping the single to keep the pressure on. So what's the point of even saying the bit about pressure? Might as well not provide any reasoning at all.
    Depends who's batting and how they're travelling at the time. To use the point example on a specific player, Brian Lara, putting a bloke on the point fence when he wasn't batting so well is pressure building because he often needed a boundary to feel the pulse of the game. Putting a bloke at point when he was smashing them is pressure-building (or homicidal for the poor **** who has to cope with the blazing cut shot coming their way) because it's a pet shot he'd sweating on.

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    International Coach Pothas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    Fair enough the follow on debate may apply in this entertainment vs. good cricket discussion, but the declaration debate with Cook most certainly does not. It has very little to do with entertainment or wanting Cook to play the game as the fans want it. Its just simple - he batted on far longer than was required. England had already made a total that NZ were not chasing. The series was won. Yet they batted on another hour.

    PEWS' theory that once England had chosen not to enforce the follow on it made sense to then play for the draw is fine up until England had a lead of 400. It was then impossible for England to win.

    This isn't about entertainment. This is about poor tactics. It doesn't mean it was the end of the world. But because I think Cook should have declared before he did doesn't mean I think Trott should have gone at 5rpo or England should have declared setting a chase of 300.
    Yeah I found the whole debate rather tiresome but I wolud certainly not describe what England did after lunch as 'good cricket.'

    The wider debate is an interesting one though.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat View Post
    Depends who's batting and how they're travelling at the time. To use the point example on a specific player, Brian Lara, putting a bloke on the point fence when he wasn't batting so well is pressure building because he often needed a boundary to feel the pulse of the game. Putting a bloke at point when he was smashing them is pressure-building (or homicidal for the poor **** who has to cope with the blazing cut shot coming their way) because it's a pet shot he'd sweating on.
    Yeah definitely, those are the underlying arguments I was referring to. It adds something when you say "we should have a deep point because I don't think Lara responds well to not scoring any boundaries when he's in this form"- it's very easy to follow and form an opinion on whether it's a sound idea or not. Whereas saying "we should have a deep point to build pressure" could mean all kinds of things.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Yeah. Commentators are generally ex-players and as such used to dealing with ex-players where stuff like that doesn't need to be made so explicit. At that standard, there's a lot of implicit knowledge borne from playing at such a high level. In fact, trying to be explicit can land you in trouble in some teams because it's stating what should be obvious so you're a 'weird unit'. That's why the best comms are those who can bridge the gap between top player and audience member and explain why stuff is happening in a detailed, meaningful way.

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