April 4, 2011

Mike Holmans

Golden Goofs

Mike Holmans
James Anderson brought England back into the contest with a brilliant mid-innings spell, England v South Africa, Group B, World Cup, Chennai, March 6, 2011
James Anderson had little to shout about during his bowling towards the end of the match agsint Bangladesh  © Getty Images
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Amid all the lists of top players, teams, innings and what have you of the World Cup, I haven't noticed any booby prizes being handed out, and that is a serious omission. No World Cup can be complete without its share of goofs, howlers and blunders.

I can only make a few nominations because I didn't watch that many matches all the way through and there were several of which I saw none at all, so there will be many worthy contenders I have missed and I would be grateful for anyone else's accounts of incidents which made them laugh out loud or squirm in agony (if perpetrated by the team you support).

My favourite of all the gaffes I saw was the Missed Catch of the Cup. Not “dropped catch” because it was not even touched, relatively easy though it was. Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate had started to cut loose in their match against England when he skied one high and deep over the bowler's head. Kevin Pietersen and James Anderson were fielding at long-on and long-off, and both set off to try and catch it. Either of them could have made it, but they saw each other coming and both stopped and looked at each other as the ball fell harmlessly between them. It was straight out of a cartoon, and I whiled away the boring bits of some other games imagining how it would have looked in a Bugs Bunny or Pink Panther short.

Partly because of my limited selection of games, Anderson also wins my Worst Bowling award, although I'm sure there are plenty of other candidates. Bangladesh had looked to be cruising home until a tight few overs pushed the rate back up so that they needed 33 off the last 5 overs. Time for the batting Powerplay, and Anderson to bowl its first over. The first delivery was five wides down the leg side, and he went on to bowl another two legside wides which Prior managed to take. Only three were scored off the six legitimate deliveries, so it might have been precisely what was required, but those wides just handed the game to Bangladesh on a plate.

The Worst Batting can also be looked at as an example of superb bowling, but for me Lasith Malinga's demolition job at the end of Sri Lanka's match against Kenya was an exhibition of comedy batting. It is of course a bit unfair to mock the tail-end batsmen of an Associate having to try and deal with lethal yorkers from one of the best bowlers in the business, but I could not suppress the giggles. They looked like Stan Laurel trying but failing to avoid a soaking from a fire hydrant.

Limited-over cricket is bound to cause some mishaps in running as batsmen get desperate. In my view of this World Cup, idiotic running reached its zenith in India's quarter-final against Australia. Gautam Gambhir had just reached his half-century when madness took hold of him. He was absolutely desperate to get the strike back, for reasons unclear, and set off for impossible runs from the non-striker's end. Twice he survived, once when Ricky Ponting's throw uncharacteristically missed the stumps and a second time when the throw went wrongly to the keeper's end, but on his third attempt he finally succeeded in running himself out. Yuvraj Singh hadn't even moved as Gambhir raced three-quarters of the length of the pitch and then halfway back before David Hussey calmly removed the bails.

Umpiring is a fiendishly difficult job and it should be no surprise that umpires make the odd mistake. The DRS now corrects most of the obvious ones – and it shows that the umpires generally do a very good job indeed. Only one in five reviews resulted in a reversal, and few of those had been obviously wrong in real time. Except, that is, in the Pakistan v Canada match, where Daryl Harper managed to have three consecutive reversals during Canada's innings. It made me think that ICC need to make another adjustment to the Daryl Review System protocols: that no team will lose a review just because it turns out that for once Daryl Harper was right the first time.

Those, then, were my Golden Goofs for this World Cup. What were yours?

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Posted by Caiden on (January 26, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

This insihgt's just the way to kick life into this debate.

Posted by Arvind on (April 8, 2011, 3:10 GMT)

@dheeman You have a valid point, but Bangaldesh collapsing is not considered a goof by most people.

I remember Matt Prior getting stumped in a comical fashion against Bangladesh. Rahim attempted a stumping and appealed. Prior left his crease and was watching the umpire, when Rahim did the stumping again. Later it turned out that Prior wasn't out in the first attempt, but got stumped on the second attempt simply because he was distracted by the appeal from the first attempt. :)

Posted by Hiren on (April 7, 2011, 21:15 GMT)

How about the Ausiies? Losing to Pakistan with Kamran Akmal playing.

brave cartoon moment: Brett Lee stopping the ball with his face but it still goes for 4 and they lose..lol...

Posted by Asif Zaheer on (April 7, 2011, 14:10 GMT)

Can anyone be more goofy than the superb Kamran Akmal through out the tournament and later Misbah, too, in the semi final ????

Posted by Shankar Ramaswaamy on (April 7, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

Dropping of R.Ashwin for the semis and finals [despite his impressive show in power play overs] would have won Dhoni goof-up of the tournament award too. Fortunately Dhoni had his luck and the results were different and all were forgotten But the consistent all round goof up should go to Darren Sammy

Posted by Thomas on (April 7, 2011, 10:28 GMT)

Surely by far the best example of idiotic running was Davison for Canada vs NZ. Sets off for an easy single and starts to walk, oblivious to McCullum taking a shy from the other end of the wicket, out of his ground by about a meter

Posted by Anurag on (April 7, 2011, 9:32 GMT)

surely kamrans so many drops and indias collapse win the title

Posted by dheeman on (April 7, 2011, 0:38 GMT)

i am not getting one point why you guys not talking of bangladesh batting collapse against the mighty low west indies. where bangladesh just managed 58 runs in theit innings and the whole game was finished within 35 overs. that seemed to me the worst batting performance.

Posted by Adrian Raftery on (April 6, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

So many goofs despite such a great world cup:

* fielding - Kamral Akmal v NZ has to be included together with the fielding for Sachin's semi-final dig & Eoin Morgan's quarter-final innings where both had more lives than a cat;

* batting - India's Powerplay collapse of 9-29 wins hands down

* toss in final - worst goof for a toss in World Cup history yet alone the 2011 version

* selections - Sri Lanka omitting Mendis in final just beats Sth Africa's batting line-up with its long tail (but I suppose that Sth Africa should always come second in World Cups!)

* administration - to limit the 2015 version to just the ten test teams with no qualification is the dumbest decision of all-time when trying to grow the sport around the world

Posted by Kinshuk on (April 6, 2011, 15:24 GMT)

There was a clear run out in the west indian innings during their league game against the Indians. The batsman was well short of the crease with Simon Tauffel perfectly in line with the stumps to see the batsman's position when the stumps were hit. Tauffel somehow failed to realize that the batsman was out and the Indians never really appealed.... I wonder which of the two was goofier? the umpire or the fielding side???

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