ICC World Twenty20 May 5, 2010

Stiff upper lip, old boy

We’ll have none of that whingeing, you hear Mr Collingwood?
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Douglas Jardine: not the sort to complain about rain rules © Getty Images
 

There’s nothing we Brits like better than a good old moan. Our current general election (which I am assured will mercifully reach a conclusion this Thursday) has once again turned out to be nothing more than a licence for us to indulge ourselves in our favourite national pastime. Everything is awful, the country is in a mess, there’s nothing on telly, we’re all going to hell in a handcart and so on.

It was not all that surprising, therefore, that on Monday evening one of England’s several cricket captains was seen on our television screens complaining in the rain, thus bringing together the two salient features of British life.* It did not matter that his chaps had batted in an impressive and entirely un-British manner or that they still only had to be beat Ireland to go through. He had a chance to moan and he seized it.

Now, I do have a smidgen more sympathy for Collingwood, P this time around than I did last summer. If you recall, back in June, England won the toss against the West Indies on a day on which rain was as inevitable as a Ray Price sledge. But rather than batting second, the reluctant skipper chose instead to bat first and moan later. At least this time he could argue that it was not his fault that he ended up in the field trying to defend a modest total against a team with all their wickets intact.

But hey, them’s the rules. Of all the methods that human ingenuity has thus far been able to invent, the jolly old Duckworth-Lewis is to the fore. There may be a case for a little tinkering with it here or there. But it is unfortunate that we only hear these impassioned pleas for mathematical recalibration of the D and L just minutes after defeat has arrived via that very method. If, Mr Collingwood, you have any suggestions for improvement, I’m sure the ICC will be delighted to read your proposals. Meanwhile, belt up and get on with it.

This also serves as a timely reminder of what the game would be like if the players were in control: one long, tedious squabble punctuated by whingeing. Nobody likes to lose, of course. I don’t like losing. I didn’t like losing when I was five years old and I made good and sure that everyone around me knew about it. But you get used to it. It is odd, then, when so many of the general public can adapt themselves to such an inevitable phenomenon, that sportsmen, who after all spend a good proportion of their lives losing, remain as five-year-olds where defeat is concerned.

The England captain would do well to remember another British tradition - not, perhaps as enduring as our predilection for moaning nor as dangerous as our cooking, but important nonetheless. It is the tradition of the stiff upper lip, a tradition preserved to this day in an annex of the British Museum wherein are displayed the pickled upper lips of Wellington, Marlborough, Churchill and many other notables. So play up and play the game, Collingwood, and in the meantime, I have sent you a parcel containing a can of easy-spray facial starch and a biography of Douglas Jardine.

* (It is also a little known fact that the song “Singing in the Rain” was originally an English folk dirge, sung by bitter old men as they trudged along the banks of the River Tees. It was known locally as “Complainin’ in the Rain”. Sadly the American version, for all its many qualities, does not accurately convey the misery and pessimism of the original).

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rut on November 10, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    Whatever gave you the idea that cricketers are paid more than folboatl players? Quite the opposite in fact,as many folboatl players get tens of millions in contracts, which leaves the cricketers way behind. Added to this their sponsors money you have some seriously rich young men! Look at David Beckham how much he gets?

  • Shaen on May 9, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    It's not the fault of the D/L system in 20 over games....it;s because it is being applied to 5 overs......a situation d/l was not designed for. AS Nashdwaj said, too little data for decisions to be made that make sence.

  • sree on May 8, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    What Collingwood said was right.No team can afford to lose like this after scoring close to 200, that too in a big stage like the World cup. Instead of castigating him why not take a critical look at D/L algorithms.There is a definite need for fair and equitable system.

  • Lou on May 8, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    TD_160, if Punter is exactly the same why did Mr Duckworth or was it Mr Lewis come out and say that the only time D/L had been publicly complained about by a captain, it had been Colly both times?

    Get a grip.

    Mind you, playing a already slightly silly format over 6 overs really is a pile of nonsense. That has nothing to do with D/L though.

  • Itchy on May 7, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    TD_160: Ponting exactly the same! Don't know what games you have been watching mate but Ponting never makes excuses for failure based on the rules of the game being wrong.

    Would like to see how many T20 games have been affected by the weather and decided by D/L. I suspect too many and that the games should be played out to their intended length or abandoned - TV will never allow this, of course.

  • Chat on May 7, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Stiff upper lip syndrome is the biggest load of bull I have ever heard of. I cannot understand how the English, the perrinial whingers can at the same time have 'stiffies' up their lips.

  • andymack on May 7, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    anything less than 20 overs each is a farce, its not cricket in my mind. might as well play baseball.

    how can you bat for less than 6 overs and win a cricket match!!?? its a "no-result" and move on.

  • Raja on May 7, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Ha ha...good one, Andrew. I especially liked the part about "complaining in the rain", the two salient features of British life. :-) Btw, this is Raja from CF - but you probably already knew that. :-)

  • aug on May 7, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    collingwood is a cry baby

  • Dinesh on May 7, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Life's a cycle Mr.Collingwood, didnt England get thru to the 1992 World Cup final because of the D/L method. Anything which goes round comes back ! So stop complaining & get on with it

  • Rut on November 10, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    Whatever gave you the idea that cricketers are paid more than folboatl players? Quite the opposite in fact,as many folboatl players get tens of millions in contracts, which leaves the cricketers way behind. Added to this their sponsors money you have some seriously rich young men! Look at David Beckham how much he gets?

  • Shaen on May 9, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    It's not the fault of the D/L system in 20 over games....it;s because it is being applied to 5 overs......a situation d/l was not designed for. AS Nashdwaj said, too little data for decisions to be made that make sence.

  • sree on May 8, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    What Collingwood said was right.No team can afford to lose like this after scoring close to 200, that too in a big stage like the World cup. Instead of castigating him why not take a critical look at D/L algorithms.There is a definite need for fair and equitable system.

  • Lou on May 8, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    TD_160, if Punter is exactly the same why did Mr Duckworth or was it Mr Lewis come out and say that the only time D/L had been publicly complained about by a captain, it had been Colly both times?

    Get a grip.

    Mind you, playing a already slightly silly format over 6 overs really is a pile of nonsense. That has nothing to do with D/L though.

  • Itchy on May 7, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    TD_160: Ponting exactly the same! Don't know what games you have been watching mate but Ponting never makes excuses for failure based on the rules of the game being wrong.

    Would like to see how many T20 games have been affected by the weather and decided by D/L. I suspect too many and that the games should be played out to their intended length or abandoned - TV will never allow this, of course.

  • Chat on May 7, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Stiff upper lip syndrome is the biggest load of bull I have ever heard of. I cannot understand how the English, the perrinial whingers can at the same time have 'stiffies' up their lips.

  • andymack on May 7, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    anything less than 20 overs each is a farce, its not cricket in my mind. might as well play baseball.

    how can you bat for less than 6 overs and win a cricket match!!?? its a "no-result" and move on.

  • Raja on May 7, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Ha ha...good one, Andrew. I especially liked the part about "complaining in the rain", the two salient features of British life. :-) Btw, this is Raja from CF - but you probably already knew that. :-)

  • aug on May 7, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    collingwood is a cry baby

  • Dinesh on May 7, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Life's a cycle Mr.Collingwood, didnt England get thru to the 1992 World Cup final because of the D/L method. Anything which goes round comes back ! So stop complaining & get on with it

  • nashdwaj on May 6, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    D/L is a statistical tool. It is pretty decent for involved for longer periods of time. So it is worthless as a predictor when it has no data, i.e when rain interrupts in the 2nd or 3rd overs of a T20. So I think a rule need to be made that the game has to be played for atleast 10 overs in order to have a result. If not the points will be split. This only can be fair. If rain interrupts for good after 10 overs then DL can be used. This is the only fair method.

  • srinivas on May 6, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    lol!! u can never let go an article without the mention of Ray price....haha

  • Andrew on May 6, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    I think it's refreshing to witness England not being saved by the rain for a change. Two things are certain in cricket: Australia must be lucky and England get saved by the rain. And we all know about it if these certainties fail.

  • Louis on May 6, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    Collingwood probably thought nobody would disagree, so thats not complaining, merely focussing attention to a problem. I dont think there is a single straight-thinking person on the planet [that doesn't have a vested interest in it] who thinks the D/L system works for 20/20s.

  • Anonymous on May 5, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    alright

  • umairn on May 5, 2010, 15:02 GMT

    Brilliant!!!!!!!!

  • Kkulaputra on May 5, 2010, 14:43 GMT

    Why was this author not advising Graham Gooch when he complained after losing a test in Kolkatta that the pollution was kinder to Indian players rather than Engish

    I would request ths author to display the stiff upper lip, keep off Paul Collingwood and other cricketers. We know that the English players whinge. We believe that this a part of English cricket. Do they expect this to change?

  • s_shukla on May 5, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Good article......although I find it disturbing that people only complain about this rule when they lose, but I still feel that D/L method needs to b revised to suite T20. I mean even after Gayle's initial onslaught England were still favourites to win the match having scored 191 as we know how wickets can fall at any moments in such a big chase. So, in that case they should still have been favourites after D/L was applied. Teams should be outplayed by the opposition, they should not have reasons to complain about the rule (with some valid justification)

  • TD_160 on May 5, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    Nice article, Hughesie! Well done! Completely agree about Collingwood. Australia's Ponting's exactly the same.

  • Manas on May 5, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    Well done mate.

  • vs on May 5, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    I think the issue is not in the D/L method but rather the threshold that constitutes a legitimate match. T20 cricket came (I think) out of the idea that 20 overs was the minimum number to constitute a legitimate cricket match from a 50 over game. I think anything less than a 15 over a side game is an absolute farce.

    If they know there's going to be rain coming, why don't they shorten the first innings to make it a fairer game?

  • Shankar on May 5, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    Nice article bro :)... keep em coming

  • Arthur Evans on May 5, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    So agree with your article....Stop winging Mr Collinwood and get on with it.

    It certainly didnt help Englands cause that they had conceded 30 runs in 2.2 overs!!! Not DL fault, but Englands fault. Would Collinwood have complained if WI had to get 40 or 50 off the 3.4 overs that were left..I think not!!!

    You play with the rules you are given and adjust accordingly!!!!!

  • Shankar on May 5, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Nice article bro :)... keep em coming

  • Abhi on May 5, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    Good one Andrew. A word for the Indian 'fans' who waste no time in crying hoarse over their national 'pride' getting hurt, after any satirical article . . . recall the vitriol poured over poor Andrew after he took a shot at Dada during the IPL . . . See guys he's roasted their very own old Colly here. I am sure there won't be any howls of protest by Brit 'fans'. They'll just present a stiff upper lip!

  • Udara Ranasinghe on May 5, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    I also think its a big excuse by England. Yes, they batted brilliantly to score 194. However, we cannot forget that they had also conceded 30 runs without getting a wicket. As far as I'm concerned D/L is a prediction / estimation tool. when you do that you have to take the current situation in to consideration. The situation was, WI needed 194 runs in 20 overs with a run rate of 9.7. When the rain stopped play WI had scored 30 runs in 2 overs with all the wickets in hand. so they were 11 runs ahead of the need run rate. I'm sure Paul Collingwood’s logic was, had the match continued they would ahve taken more more wickets slowed the run rate and win the match by putting a lot of pressure on Windies.

    On the other hand one could argue, had it continued Windies would have gone to make about 70 runs in the first six overs and would have won the match without many problems.

  • joe shah on May 5, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Simple, the DL method must have been presented to and agreed by all countries prior to the competition. If subsequently it affects you later(negetively) then there should be no whinging. Kapish?

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  • joe shah on May 5, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Simple, the DL method must have been presented to and agreed by all countries prior to the competition. If subsequently it affects you later(negetively) then there should be no whinging. Kapish?

  • Udara Ranasinghe on May 5, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    I also think its a big excuse by England. Yes, they batted brilliantly to score 194. However, we cannot forget that they had also conceded 30 runs without getting a wicket. As far as I'm concerned D/L is a prediction / estimation tool. when you do that you have to take the current situation in to consideration. The situation was, WI needed 194 runs in 20 overs with a run rate of 9.7. When the rain stopped play WI had scored 30 runs in 2 overs with all the wickets in hand. so they were 11 runs ahead of the need run rate. I'm sure Paul Collingwood’s logic was, had the match continued they would ahve taken more more wickets slowed the run rate and win the match by putting a lot of pressure on Windies.

    On the other hand one could argue, had it continued Windies would have gone to make about 70 runs in the first six overs and would have won the match without many problems.

  • Abhi on May 5, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    Good one Andrew. A word for the Indian 'fans' who waste no time in crying hoarse over their national 'pride' getting hurt, after any satirical article . . . recall the vitriol poured over poor Andrew after he took a shot at Dada during the IPL . . . See guys he's roasted their very own old Colly here. I am sure there won't be any howls of protest by Brit 'fans'. They'll just present a stiff upper lip!

  • Shankar on May 5, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Nice article bro :)... keep em coming

  • Arthur Evans on May 5, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    So agree with your article....Stop winging Mr Collinwood and get on with it.

    It certainly didnt help Englands cause that they had conceded 30 runs in 2.2 overs!!! Not DL fault, but Englands fault. Would Collinwood have complained if WI had to get 40 or 50 off the 3.4 overs that were left..I think not!!!

    You play with the rules you are given and adjust accordingly!!!!!

  • Shankar on May 5, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    Nice article bro :)... keep em coming

  • vs on May 5, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    I think the issue is not in the D/L method but rather the threshold that constitutes a legitimate match. T20 cricket came (I think) out of the idea that 20 overs was the minimum number to constitute a legitimate cricket match from a 50 over game. I think anything less than a 15 over a side game is an absolute farce.

    If they know there's going to be rain coming, why don't they shorten the first innings to make it a fairer game?

  • Manas on May 5, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    Well done mate.

  • TD_160 on May 5, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    Nice article, Hughesie! Well done! Completely agree about Collingwood. Australia's Ponting's exactly the same.

  • s_shukla on May 5, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Good article......although I find it disturbing that people only complain about this rule when they lose, but I still feel that D/L method needs to b revised to suite T20. I mean even after Gayle's initial onslaught England were still favourites to win the match having scored 191 as we know how wickets can fall at any moments in such a big chase. So, in that case they should still have been favourites after D/L was applied. Teams should be outplayed by the opposition, they should not have reasons to complain about the rule (with some valid justification)