Aberdeenshire cricket August 25, 2010

Scored runs, will rain

Painful tales that will resonate with every batsman who has been cheated by silly league rules
23

The scorecard that won't be
The scorecard that won't be © Rene van Oorschot

Faithful readers may have noticed that I have thus far avoided talking about the lesser of the two of cricket’s great skills (Yes, two. Fielding is a little like the Zimbabwe cricket team. We all know it is there, but we do our best to avoid it). The more cynical among you probably suspect that this is because my batting achievements have not exactly set the world alight. Well, that is just not true. While my 52, scored for Mannofield’s 4th XI against Inn at the Park 3rd IX (not a typo), probably isn’t quite up there with Sachin’s ODI double-ton or Lara’s 400, their third-change bowler got some decent bounce for an 11-year-old, and their “spinner” was probably olde... I mean more experienced than our entire team put together.

I will put the trumpet to rest now, I promise. This week I will highlight the plight of repressed batsmen. They may be sadistic sods with an attitude to fair play that would disgust even John McEnroe, but believe it or not, they have feelings too. Batsmen, more than anyone else in cricket, are nerds at heart. In fact, had Bill Gates been born in India or in Australia, he would probably be opening the batting for them in Test matches. The reason that every true batsman has an inner Hermione Granger bursting to get out is that he is consumed by statistics. Ask any batsman worth his salt how his season is going and he will reel off his aggregate, average, strike rate, proportion of runs in boundaries, how he got out and various umpiring grievances for not just the current season but the five preceding. Ask a bowler the same question and he will grunt, shrug his shoulders and mutter something like “a’right” before shoving aside some batsman’s vodka tonic and grabbing his pint of lager.

So you will see that, because statistics determine the very soul of every batsman, the story I am about to unfold is a tragedy of Grecian proportions. Picture the scene: A young batsman strolls off the field to a ripple of applause, raises his bat and acknowledges his team-mates (and mother), who have just witnessed his first century of the season. Feeling immensely satisfied with a job well done, he loosens his pads in the changing room and does what every self-respecting batsman would do in the same situation, i.e. calculate the impact on his season and career averages. Just as he decides to discount the duck scored in the early April friendly - as, a) a clearly terrible decision, b) not a league match anyway, and c) discounted so it would push his average over 41.33 recurring - he hears a faint tinkle against the window. “Oh well, if it rains at least I won’t have to indulge in that tiresome fielding routine that we batsmen seem to be unable to ban from the game”. The game is subsequently called off, as the light shower becomes a monsoon, the likes of which have rarely been seen in Aberdeen grade cricket. The batsman shrugs his shoulders and goes home. The next morning he wakes up and immediately checks the online record of the match to check whether his calculations were indeed correct. To his horror, there is no score recorded against his name and, worse still, his average remains unchanged. Thinking this must be some kind of horrible mistake, he calls the scorer, who bravely masks his disgust at being woken up at 5.33am on a Sunday morning to say: “Sorry Jacques, but stats from abandoned games do not count towards the averages.”

The batsman desperately refers to the league rules, but there is no avoiding the awful truth: to all intents and purposes, his hundred did not happen. Even if his now increasingly desperate crusade to get the rules changed pays off, there are at least single digits of batsmen out there who have suffered the same fate. Hamish Manks, for example, whose gallant hundred against Phoenix Park does not count towards either his average or the Player of the Season standings. Or take young Harry Stafford, who cracked 142 against Ashford only for Ashford to pull out of the league and thus invalidate all records achieved against them. These young men need somebody to stand up for them and make a stand. They deserve to regain their self-worth, their appeal to the opposite sex and the recognition of their peers.

Will I do it for them? No way, my 0 for 60 off eight overs in the pouring rain never happened and I have the non-existent stats to back it up. Who cares about batsmen anyway?

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vinay on September 16, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    is that the same Jacques van Oorschot who won the Grampian Squash Player of the Month in Dec 2004? Pretty talented (so must not be related to Rene :) ).

  • rubys on September 4, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Atleast you have a scoresheet as evidence what more do you want. thank you for funniest writing about cricket. ie previous blogs

  • ahmed on September 1, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    @ Rene thanks man.

  • vimaxmpeg on September 1, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Thanks big!

  • Rene on August 30, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    @ Ahmed

    There is a large cricketing contingent at the University of Aberdeen, simply search for it online and you will be presented with contact details. As for kit in my experience cricketing kit bought from the subcontinent is generally a lot cheaper than equipment of equivalent quality available in the UK. I would advise you at the very least to bring your own bat. All the best in the Granite City buddy.

  • AP Rick on August 29, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    I am very impressed..

    Good article again ren dog although not a situation i can really say i am familiar with!

  • waterbuffalo on August 28, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    @ AB, please, I opened the bowling and batting for my state, I was anchor, the other guy normally attacked, and I gave him the strike, this is basic knowledge, obviously you have none of it. I toured India, did you ever tour India? I played cricket for 16 years, how many years have you played for? And why would I lie to Rene? Only a shallow person like you would call me out like that. I have been contributing to cricinfo for years, and everything I say is true, my question is, who are you? Ha Ha.

  • Akky on August 28, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Brilliant Article!!! Sadly, it is true, the majority of bowlers dont take pride in 'meticulously' analysing their season figures :(

  • Runout_Victim on August 27, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    The feeling is worse when you are a victim of a cruel run out, thanks to your partners indecisiveness......he calls "YESSSS YES YESSSSS", you start sprinting towards the other end like your life depended on it, he says "no" (notice the lower-case, it reflects the meek inaudibility), the sight of his bat retrieving back to the crease, the sound of your boots screeching...as you turn back you see the ball in the hands of the fielder dislodging bails. To make it even worse this was the first ball you faced........THAT IS THE MOST HELPLESS FEELING A BATSMEN CAN EVER FEEL !!!

  • Ravinder Singh on August 27, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    Hahaha, sooo many memories. Waking up and heading straight to the computer to check the updated stats, the number of wks, number of runs. I remembered all of my scores, all of my wkts, and ofcourse all of the bad decision I got while batting or bowling. Fun times.

    After look and re-looking at my own stats for several hours and if I had nothing else to do, I would look at the number of wins my team has compaired to other teams playing in the league.

    One word for Watterbuffalo: LIAR

  • vinay on September 16, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    is that the same Jacques van Oorschot who won the Grampian Squash Player of the Month in Dec 2004? Pretty talented (so must not be related to Rene :) ).

  • rubys on September 4, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Atleast you have a scoresheet as evidence what more do you want. thank you for funniest writing about cricket. ie previous blogs

  • ahmed on September 1, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    @ Rene thanks man.

  • vimaxmpeg on September 1, 2010, 5:39 GMT

    Thanks big!

  • Rene on August 30, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    @ Ahmed

    There is a large cricketing contingent at the University of Aberdeen, simply search for it online and you will be presented with contact details. As for kit in my experience cricketing kit bought from the subcontinent is generally a lot cheaper than equipment of equivalent quality available in the UK. I would advise you at the very least to bring your own bat. All the best in the Granite City buddy.

  • AP Rick on August 29, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    I am very impressed..

    Good article again ren dog although not a situation i can really say i am familiar with!

  • waterbuffalo on August 28, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    @ AB, please, I opened the bowling and batting for my state, I was anchor, the other guy normally attacked, and I gave him the strike, this is basic knowledge, obviously you have none of it. I toured India, did you ever tour India? I played cricket for 16 years, how many years have you played for? And why would I lie to Rene? Only a shallow person like you would call me out like that. I have been contributing to cricinfo for years, and everything I say is true, my question is, who are you? Ha Ha.

  • Akky on August 28, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Brilliant Article!!! Sadly, it is true, the majority of bowlers dont take pride in 'meticulously' analysing their season figures :(

  • Runout_Victim on August 27, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    The feeling is worse when you are a victim of a cruel run out, thanks to your partners indecisiveness......he calls "YESSSS YES YESSSSS", you start sprinting towards the other end like your life depended on it, he says "no" (notice the lower-case, it reflects the meek inaudibility), the sight of his bat retrieving back to the crease, the sound of your boots screeching...as you turn back you see the ball in the hands of the fielder dislodging bails. To make it even worse this was the first ball you faced........THAT IS THE MOST HELPLESS FEELING A BATSMEN CAN EVER FEEL !!!

  • Ravinder Singh on August 27, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    Hahaha, sooo many memories. Waking up and heading straight to the computer to check the updated stats, the number of wks, number of runs. I remembered all of my scores, all of my wkts, and ofcourse all of the bad decision I got while batting or bowling. Fun times.

    After look and re-looking at my own stats for several hours and if I had nothing else to do, I would look at the number of wins my team has compaired to other teams playing in the league.

    One word for Watterbuffalo: LIAR

  • ahmed on August 27, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    hey rene. im coming to university in aberdeen next month. any advice on how to get involved in the cricket scene ? and i'll be travelling by air so should i bring my cricket kit or is good reasonably priced equipment available there ? thanks.

  • Radha Krishnan on August 27, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    I was not aware of that - something new to learn.

    I have always been an avid cricket follower, but as a player, not much. In fact, the most well known fact about me in my circles is that I was once the 3rd victim of a hat-trick, when our student body played the professors at college :-(!

    That said, I feel any player would feel cheated if their performance was obliterated by vagaries of nature (of course, how I wish I could forget mine!). Even a well played 50, or a haul of 3 crucial wickets would be worth remembering and I can empathize with the players who are cheated out of it. All but human, and nothing to ridicule anybody about.

  • Unmesh on August 27, 2010, 15:52 GMT

    Nice article once again! Being a club cricketer, I sympathize with that poor batsman... I hope this never happens to me...chances are very less anyway since I have never scored a century in my life :-))

  • Avinash on August 27, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha..... Luv from India.

  • no11batsman on August 27, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Confronted with a new-ball bowler with an uncanny resemblance to a stampeding buffulo, my captain (and usual top order batsmen) elected to offer me up as cannon fodder ... I think the plan was for my helmet to take the shine off the new ball. So out I went to open the batting for the first time. In between collecting bruises on bruises, I nudged and nicked my way to an unprecedented score of 39 ... and then it rained. I don't care what the stats book says ... I scored those runs, and the edge of my bat has the scares to prove it.

  • RVP on August 27, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    @waterbuffalo spoken like a true arm chair cricketer. :) Anyone who has stepped on to the ground to face a ball or bowl one will know this feeling. Even Sehwag is not immune to the lure of statistics.

  • paddy on August 27, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    i agree - pseudo-clever based on a false premise

  • cabinet96 on August 27, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    the worst thing that can happen to a cricketer

  • Foxswoop on August 27, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    oh Rene, if only that happened in country Australia, my average would be so much higher than the 7.86 it currently is. I blame a stream of bad umpiring decisions for that (not to mention that I can't bat when ther is a cloud in the sky anyway).

  • Rain-denied on August 27, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    Your best blog yet!

  • Disgruntled centurion on August 27, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    To those who are unable to decipher the scorecard above, I would just like to clarify that a certain Jacques van Oorschot scored 112 in that match. Some anoraks might say it rained and thus it doesn't count but the evidence above is a permanent record of the occasion.

  • AB on August 27, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    waterbuffalo... 2 words for you ha ha. I bet you 5 bucks not a single person reading this column believes what you say!!

  • waterbuffalo on August 27, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    I have played with many attacking opening batsmen, they never cared about averages, they just wanted to blast the cover off the ball, and if I took 5 wickets, and the records did not show it, I wouldn't care, in my mind I'd still have a 5-fer. In the end, it's whether the team wins, not individual records.

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  • waterbuffalo on August 27, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    I have played with many attacking opening batsmen, they never cared about averages, they just wanted to blast the cover off the ball, and if I took 5 wickets, and the records did not show it, I wouldn't care, in my mind I'd still have a 5-fer. In the end, it's whether the team wins, not individual records.

  • AB on August 27, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    waterbuffalo... 2 words for you ha ha. I bet you 5 bucks not a single person reading this column believes what you say!!

  • Disgruntled centurion on August 27, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    To those who are unable to decipher the scorecard above, I would just like to clarify that a certain Jacques van Oorschot scored 112 in that match. Some anoraks might say it rained and thus it doesn't count but the evidence above is a permanent record of the occasion.

  • Rain-denied on August 27, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    Your best blog yet!

  • Foxswoop on August 27, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    oh Rene, if only that happened in country Australia, my average would be so much higher than the 7.86 it currently is. I blame a stream of bad umpiring decisions for that (not to mention that I can't bat when ther is a cloud in the sky anyway).

  • cabinet96 on August 27, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    the worst thing that can happen to a cricketer

  • paddy on August 27, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    i agree - pseudo-clever based on a false premise

  • RVP on August 27, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    @waterbuffalo spoken like a true arm chair cricketer. :) Anyone who has stepped on to the ground to face a ball or bowl one will know this feeling. Even Sehwag is not immune to the lure of statistics.

  • no11batsman on August 27, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Confronted with a new-ball bowler with an uncanny resemblance to a stampeding buffulo, my captain (and usual top order batsmen) elected to offer me up as cannon fodder ... I think the plan was for my helmet to take the shine off the new ball. So out I went to open the batting for the first time. In between collecting bruises on bruises, I nudged and nicked my way to an unprecedented score of 39 ... and then it rained. I don't care what the stats book says ... I scored those runs, and the edge of my bat has the scares to prove it.

  • Avinash on August 27, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha..... Luv from India.