DRS March 16, 2011

England's dew karma

You can’t do a sprinkler dance without some precipitation-related payback eventually
14

Saturday, 12th March On Friday in Chittagong, we witnessed two well-documented natural phenomena: the early-evening accumulation of condensed water droplets, and Englishmen complaining about the weather. At the post-defeat debrief, Mr Strauss and Mr Swann sounded like marine commandos returning from some dangerous amphibious operation, rather than sportsmen who’d had to play cricket on a bit of damp grass.

Their repeated use of the word “dew” in close proximity to the word “defeat” was, by the way, entirely coincidental. Let’s be clear: in no way were they blaming this dew-soaked defeat on the prevailing dampness that made it impossible to grip the ball or bowl straight. They were not suggesting, as some might, that this was a debacle borne of dew, a dew-induced lottery or a dewy farce; a dew-feat, if you will.

But it was karma. Mr Swann has spent the winter choreographing a surprisingly irritating dance modelled on a device employed for the purpose of distributing water onto grass. So the cricket gods have devised for him a fitting torment: to spend eternity bowling at tailenders with a ball that is never quite dry, no matter how many times he swears at it or wipes it with his special handkerchief.

Sunday, 13th March The Kochi Tuskers Kerala is not just the first half of a high-quality tongue-twister, it is the newest name in the Twenty20 menagerie; an exciting new attraction occupying an enclosure next to the Matabeleland Tuskers and just around the corner from the Faisalabad Ferrets and the Adelaide Anteaters. If domestic leagues continue to expand at the current rate, scientists estimate that within a decade every animal species on the planet will have a Twenty20 team named after it.

Monday, 14th March For many years the test of a true cricket lover was the ability to explain to an outsider the rules concerning leg before wicket. And if you could get to the end before the person you were talking to passed out, you could feel justifiably pleased with yourself. Mastering the intricacies of this particular corner of cricket’s rule book was tricky, but achievable, with a little dedication and the occasional diagram.

But how would you fare if, in the course of your attempt to convert the non-cricket lover, you were asked to explain the DRS system? Even if you felt confident in your grasp of all the intricacies (and as far as I can tell, Simon Taufel is the only human being who can say that) I fear your conversational partner would expire through old age long before you even got onto the thorny subject of the 2.5 metre rule.

And DRS is having some unpleasant side effects. Players used to put up with the occasional howler out of respect for the doctrine of Umpiring Infallibility. But not any more. Thanks to DRS, the on-field umpire’s decision is no longer final. Last week, MS Dhoni was having a grumble; today the Irish captain has been fined. They may be right, they may be wrong. Who cares? Once players think they can get away with whingeing about decisions, they’ll never stop. Our game will descend into chaos. Or worse, it’ll be like Premier League football.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JohnBrown on March 30, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Watching the first Semi in CMB and the post match conf by SL's captain - was struck by the contrasts between Eng & SL - how well SL articulates their passion and commitment to the game - whilst Eng seem lost in a sort of journeyman's myopia - scratching around for pointers - given to momentary lapses unable to conceptualise & grasp the realities of the modern world game - that cricket - like life itself - is a multi-variate model. Eng should take heed - recover it's sport if not it's sportsmanship from the dullness of it's administrators - avoid becoming the laughing stock. Good article, leaves an enduring (but un-endearing) image - of cricket's new Sisyphus - forever wiping dew & muttering epithets!

  • chrisolle on March 17, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Great article. Spot on comment by Drake. This once again confirms my view that the English Cricket team are spoiled Prima Donna's who go crying to mother everytime things go wrong. This is why I admire the Aussies and the South Africans who may fight dirty, but are in your face rather than whinge and whine. Go Sri Lanka. Win the Cup for us and win justice for the way we were robbed in 2007.

  • Doggy on March 17, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    I guess English are only used to brilliant sunny weather in UK eh?

  • PS on March 17, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Looking at the posts of two English gentlemen here, I must say that English cricket fans are mature & a good sport while their cricketers whine.

    Also, I am surprised that England did not have a strategy in place for late evening dew. Every team that bowls second in D/N ODI in subcontinent, is expected to have a plan B. One important factor in this game is how external conditions impact performance. And a professional cricketer is expected to deal with it.

  • Mushir on March 17, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    Really dew was hurting bowlers, i hoped for a poor perfromance from Collingwood and Swann given the dew factor but Anderson never lets his buddies go down he took it all on himself by bowling a disastrous spell. Jimmy needs to be dropped he is a chocker in terms of experience for English cricket.

  • eddie on March 16, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    @sid d the delhi dodos ...

  • akshay on March 16, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    HAHA @ "Marine commandos returning from a dangerous amphibious operation". Right about Taufel there, you'd better say something nasty about the guy pretty soon lest you jinx the good man!

  • Tim on March 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Great work as always Andrew. First sentence was all that was needed. Instant classic.

  • Aussietough on March 16, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    There is no doubt that dew made it harder for Swan to grip the ball. But the dubious part is Swan and others stopped asking for ball change when Bangladesh quickly started loosing wickets. English players were quite frustated with the proceeding of the game while Imrul-Sakib partnership was going on and their body language and drama with Darrel were nothing but the outcome of their viewing the unavoidability of defeat against Bangladesh. This is not the first time they are playing in Chittagong and the dew factor in Chittagong during evening is not a secret. England should have planned better to overcome the predicament and should have asked better ground preparation to the match referee in advance. But after defeat, blaming dew even partially for the result is a cowardly act.

  • imran on March 16, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Mr. Andrew Hughes, I thought your write up really to the point. Different weather conditions were, are and will be there to be encountered by the professional player. Win or lose, you got to just take it as it comes and get on with your game. One can not fight the elements, but surely can come up with plans to minimize the effect of the elements. Now, what English team is saying, it sounds like if they lose the toss for the next match, they're already defeated.

  • JohnBrown on March 30, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    Watching the first Semi in CMB and the post match conf by SL's captain - was struck by the contrasts between Eng & SL - how well SL articulates their passion and commitment to the game - whilst Eng seem lost in a sort of journeyman's myopia - scratching around for pointers - given to momentary lapses unable to conceptualise & grasp the realities of the modern world game - that cricket - like life itself - is a multi-variate model. Eng should take heed - recover it's sport if not it's sportsmanship from the dullness of it's administrators - avoid becoming the laughing stock. Good article, leaves an enduring (but un-endearing) image - of cricket's new Sisyphus - forever wiping dew & muttering epithets!

  • chrisolle on March 17, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    Great article. Spot on comment by Drake. This once again confirms my view that the English Cricket team are spoiled Prima Donna's who go crying to mother everytime things go wrong. This is why I admire the Aussies and the South Africans who may fight dirty, but are in your face rather than whinge and whine. Go Sri Lanka. Win the Cup for us and win justice for the way we were robbed in 2007.

  • Doggy on March 17, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    I guess English are only used to brilliant sunny weather in UK eh?

  • PS on March 17, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Looking at the posts of two English gentlemen here, I must say that English cricket fans are mature & a good sport while their cricketers whine.

    Also, I am surprised that England did not have a strategy in place for late evening dew. Every team that bowls second in D/N ODI in subcontinent, is expected to have a plan B. One important factor in this game is how external conditions impact performance. And a professional cricketer is expected to deal with it.

  • Mushir on March 17, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    Really dew was hurting bowlers, i hoped for a poor perfromance from Collingwood and Swann given the dew factor but Anderson never lets his buddies go down he took it all on himself by bowling a disastrous spell. Jimmy needs to be dropped he is a chocker in terms of experience for English cricket.

  • eddie on March 16, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    @sid d the delhi dodos ...

  • akshay on March 16, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    HAHA @ "Marine commandos returning from a dangerous amphibious operation". Right about Taufel there, you'd better say something nasty about the guy pretty soon lest you jinx the good man!

  • Tim on March 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Great work as always Andrew. First sentence was all that was needed. Instant classic.

  • Aussietough on March 16, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    There is no doubt that dew made it harder for Swan to grip the ball. But the dubious part is Swan and others stopped asking for ball change when Bangladesh quickly started loosing wickets. English players were quite frustated with the proceeding of the game while Imrul-Sakib partnership was going on and their body language and drama with Darrel were nothing but the outcome of their viewing the unavoidability of defeat against Bangladesh. This is not the first time they are playing in Chittagong and the dew factor in Chittagong during evening is not a secret. England should have planned better to overcome the predicament and should have asked better ground preparation to the match referee in advance. But after defeat, blaming dew even partially for the result is a cowardly act.

  • imran on March 16, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Mr. Andrew Hughes, I thought your write up really to the point. Different weather conditions were, are and will be there to be encountered by the professional player. Win or lose, you got to just take it as it comes and get on with your game. One can not fight the elements, but surely can come up with plans to minimize the effect of the elements. Now, what English team is saying, it sounds like if they lose the toss for the next match, they're already defeated.

  • Hans on March 16, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    I played lots of cricket in England during the 'summers'!! More often than not you will have to get very familiar to playing with the wet balls because of the wet outfields giving the bowlers the predicamanet of bowling with a wet ball!! Mr Swann probably never played in England????

  • drake on March 16, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    This is utter nonsense. Over the past 30 years I have witnessed many matches where dew in the outfield has caused some problems for both fielders as well as bowlers, but I have never ever heard anyone complain. In the last ODI World Cup final, poor Sri Lanka who should have easily won the cup were asked to play/bat in total darkness at a stadium without lights, after rain delayed the game...not once did I hear a Sri Lankan complain, they just accepted it and got on with the cricket, as it should be. The Swan-dance we witnessed last Friday was a bloody shame for English cricket and showed what spoilt sports we have become as a nation. If any other team did that against us, I'm sure the ECB would be calling for suspensions and bans. English hypocrisy is just so bitter to taste – I’m so so upset with what has befallen us Brits.

  • Vilis Pawar on March 16, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    I liked the article and also the fact that the writer is using his constitutional right to free speech where in he gets to put forward his opinion but surprisingly enough he is not willing to let the players use their's. I am not arguing about them being right or wrong in their arguments but why not let them put forth their opinion? Why do we have this freakish need to mould everything and everyone to our way of thinking? The writer should introspect..

  • sid d on March 16, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    Right said abt every animal species on the planet will have a Twenty20 team named after it. Lions and Tigers are passe as team names...even all those names related to kings..Hope some T20 teams use near extinction species to raise awareness about them..

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  • sid d on March 16, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    Right said abt every animal species on the planet will have a Twenty20 team named after it. Lions and Tigers are passe as team names...even all those names related to kings..Hope some T20 teams use near extinction species to raise awareness about them..

  • Vilis Pawar on March 16, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    I liked the article and also the fact that the writer is using his constitutional right to free speech where in he gets to put forward his opinion but surprisingly enough he is not willing to let the players use their's. I am not arguing about them being right or wrong in their arguments but why not let them put forth their opinion? Why do we have this freakish need to mould everything and everyone to our way of thinking? The writer should introspect..

  • drake on March 16, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    This is utter nonsense. Over the past 30 years I have witnessed many matches where dew in the outfield has caused some problems for both fielders as well as bowlers, but I have never ever heard anyone complain. In the last ODI World Cup final, poor Sri Lanka who should have easily won the cup were asked to play/bat in total darkness at a stadium without lights, after rain delayed the game...not once did I hear a Sri Lankan complain, they just accepted it and got on with the cricket, as it should be. The Swan-dance we witnessed last Friday was a bloody shame for English cricket and showed what spoilt sports we have become as a nation. If any other team did that against us, I'm sure the ECB would be calling for suspensions and bans. English hypocrisy is just so bitter to taste – I’m so so upset with what has befallen us Brits.

  • Hans on March 16, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    I played lots of cricket in England during the 'summers'!! More often than not you will have to get very familiar to playing with the wet balls because of the wet outfields giving the bowlers the predicamanet of bowling with a wet ball!! Mr Swann probably never played in England????

  • imran on March 16, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Mr. Andrew Hughes, I thought your write up really to the point. Different weather conditions were, are and will be there to be encountered by the professional player. Win or lose, you got to just take it as it comes and get on with your game. One can not fight the elements, but surely can come up with plans to minimize the effect of the elements. Now, what English team is saying, it sounds like if they lose the toss for the next match, they're already defeated.

  • Aussietough on March 16, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    There is no doubt that dew made it harder for Swan to grip the ball. But the dubious part is Swan and others stopped asking for ball change when Bangladesh quickly started loosing wickets. English players were quite frustated with the proceeding of the game while Imrul-Sakib partnership was going on and their body language and drama with Darrel were nothing but the outcome of their viewing the unavoidability of defeat against Bangladesh. This is not the first time they are playing in Chittagong and the dew factor in Chittagong during evening is not a secret. England should have planned better to overcome the predicament and should have asked better ground preparation to the match referee in advance. But after defeat, blaming dew even partially for the result is a cowardly act.

  • Tim on March 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Great work as always Andrew. First sentence was all that was needed. Instant classic.

  • akshay on March 16, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    HAHA @ "Marine commandos returning from a dangerous amphibious operation". Right about Taufel there, you'd better say something nasty about the guy pretty soon lest you jinx the good man!

  • eddie on March 16, 2011, 17:26 GMT

    @sid d the delhi dodos ...

  • Mushir on March 17, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    Really dew was hurting bowlers, i hoped for a poor perfromance from Collingwood and Swann given the dew factor but Anderson never lets his buddies go down he took it all on himself by bowling a disastrous spell. Jimmy needs to be dropped he is a chocker in terms of experience for English cricket.