May 22, 2007

English cricket

Harmison not happy as the Hulk

Will Luke
A frustrated Steve Harmison trudges back to his mark after another poor over, England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, May 19, 2007
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Simon Barnes in today’s Times thinks he knows the reason behind Steve Harmison inability to perform at the highest level. It’s all about comic book heroes you see.

Sometimes he seems to resent his power, like a tormented superhero in a Marvel comic. He has been given great powers – the power to hurry the greatest and terrify the rest, the power to force an error from any batsman who ever took guard, the power to blast out an entire team with the force of his nature.

He can work sporting miracles, but, like Bruce Banner, he is not happy about what the process does to himself. It is not always comfortable to turn into the Incredible Hulk: “Hulk is sick of words! Hulk will smash!” Sometimes it would be nicer to be the nice guy.

Meanwhile, in the same paper, Giles Smith dismisses Sky’s latest technological gimmick: Hot Spot.

In the absence of big controversies, Hot Spot was used mostly to demonstrate that Kevin Pietersen had again found “the meat of the bat” – a conclusion that most of us were able to reach in advance using nothing more high-tech than the evidence of our eyes as the ball once more headed for the boundary.

More significantly, though, Pietersen also appeared to become involved in an extended and highly colourful conversation – about cricket and other related matters, we feel sure – with Chris Gayle at slip.

And here again, the technology let us down. The microphones in the middle were turned down and we were left with the frustratingly incomplete account of the exchanges supplied by our lip-reading.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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