March 28, 2012

Spin: only on a washing machine

Andrew Hughes
Jonathan Trott's misery is compounded by ending up in a heap after being stumped, Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day, March 27, 2012
Spin? Quelle horreur. Jonathan Trott reels at the prospect  © Getty Images


Tuesday, 27th March The England batting order is starting to resemble one of those sets of building bricks that toddlers like to play with. You can stack them in any order, perhaps moving Bell here, maybe taking out a Morgan and putting in a Patel, but whatever you do, the whole wobbly construction ends up in a heap on the floor, with a delighted spin bowler clapping his hands gleefully and shouting “Again, again!”

This time it was Rangana Herath carrying out the demolition but it could just as easily have been Herath’s great aunt, his ten-year-old niece or a suitably motivated orangutan. It seems that any sentient being capable of propelling the ball towards the English batsmen at under 50mph is on to a winner.

Is it genetic? Is the doosra-picking gene missing from the English DNA? Or is it biological? Just as dogs can’t see certain colours, perhaps English people can’t work out whether a spherical object is spinning clockwise or anti-clockwise. Or could it be educational? Does the chapter on spin bowling in the England coaching manual read, “Take a big stride forward, don’t look at the umpire and hope for the best”?

Whatever the cause, some of the Sri Lankans had clearly been standing too close to their English counterparts and had caught a nasty dose of Spin Fever themselves. On a pitch that had all the menace of a warm sponge cake, Monty Panesar’s understudy persuaded Sri Lanka’s finest to add their wickets to the bonfire of batsmanship and so end another madcap episode of Test cricket 2012 style.

And how exactly did the five-day game become so exciting? It doesn’t seem so long ago that Sri Lanka and India (or it may have been India and Sri Lanka) were competing to see who could produce the dullest Test innings ever (with India’s 707 in 1352 balls in Colombo the clear winner) on pitches that would have caused Fred Spofforth to weep and Jeff Thomson to pack it in and take up ballet.

But now it’s five wickets a session and all done on the third day. I’m beginning to suspect that at some point last year, a deal was reached between the Bowlers Union and the Society of Batsmen, whereby, in return for the thousands of cheap runs they had accumulated in recent months, the willow wielders of the world agreed to bat with their eyes closed for the first half of 2012, just to even things up.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by waterbuffalo on (April 18, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

Aussies are playing two spinners in the Carribean! Lion Beer! It's a--maaah-zing! I hate watching over after over of medium, so called pace. Spin is real attacking crickeeet

Posted by Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on (April 1, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

Hilarious! Andrew Hughes, the best cricket writer of all time unlike those Indian journalists who are obsessed with writing how good their own team is and how good Tachin Sendulkar is esp that Sanjay Mandrekar and Lax Srivaraaaaaa......what?

Posted by Sumit on (April 1, 2012, 5:18 GMT)

perhaps English people can’t work out whether a spherical object is spinning clockwise or anti-clockwise....absolutely correct....In all, a brilliant piece of writing.

Posted by kathy on (March 29, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

No, Si, Kies means choice as in 'chosen one', alternatively it is a nickname for a baboon. Take your pick (kies watter een).

Posted by Si on (March 29, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

Andrew, not sure how you can attribute the England teams DSS (Doosra Surrender Syndrome) to the genetics or biology of English people. As cricket followers worldwide know, the make up of the England team at any given time is 90% imports. It's widely known in the rest of the cricket world that all potential England players must have a passable understanding of Afrikaans; so all players can converse at meetings and in the field. By the way, is 'Keis' Afrikaans for Bed?

Posted by Riddhi on (March 29, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

Nice read there Andrew! You've quite hit the spot there - it's actually a great treat to see bowlers making a difference again in test cricket, given hundreds of yawning runs between wickets in previous matches. And from an Indian supporter, it's fun to watch whenever England is in a bit of a pickle ever since India's last tour on English soil.

Posted by Zahid Mahmood on (March 28, 2012, 21:46 GMT)

Very beautifully written. Amusing!!!

Posted by Omair Shamim on (March 28, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

What a nice of writing Andrew, I really enjoyed it. Funny, witty and real. I loved it

Posted by Farhad Zulfiqar on (March 28, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

Hilarious!! From where you guys gut this stuff??

Posted by Saba S. Sheikh on (March 28, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

Brilliant! Witty but very true.

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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