Mike Holmans April 4, 2011

Golden Goofs

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

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?