PDA

View Full Version : Australian Cricket: What a bloody silly rule!


Ian Hart
29-03-2006, 09:34 AM
Game needs to beat final injustice as Bulls put runs on the bored
By Greg Baum
March 28, 2006

THE Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield final is a paradoxical fixture. Some finals count among the best cricket matches played in Australia. Two were won by one wicket, another was drawn with the last pair at the crease, another when NSW were eight down and 17 runs shy of victory.
But too many other finals have been dismally one-sided. Four times, victory has been achieved by an innings, and today there is likely to be a fifth instance. Four times, the final has petered out into a high-scoring draw. Six times, the home team has run up scores of more than 500, sometimes taking the best part of three days to do it, so killing off the contest. The only of these that was celebrated was in 1994-95, because it led to Queensland's decades-delayed maiden Shield title.

By yesterday afternoon, Queensland were not so much playing against Victoria at the Gabba as amusing themselves. Eventually they got bored, declaring at 6-900, a fairly hefty response to Victoria's first-innings 344 all out. There were four centurions in Queensland's knock: Maher (223), Martin Love (169), Shane Watson (201 retired hurt) and Clinton Perren (173). In fact, Watson was not really hurt when he retired; Andy Bichel needed only 50 more runs to complete 500 for the season, and since it was improbable that a wicket would fall in the usual manner, all-rounder Watson departed on 201. The only declaration worth any note was actually the one by Queensland captain Jimmy Maher on the second day - that he would not make one.

There is madness in Queensland's method, the madness of revenge. Two years ago, Victoria batted into the third day at the MCG to make 710. Then they chose not to enforce the follow-on. Victoria's tactics were themselves vengeful, redressing a couple of decades of perceived rough justice at Queensland's hands in Brisbane. Vengeance is not an uncommon motivation in sport, but torture is never pleasant. Nearly 20 years ago, Victoria played a final in Perth in which WA amassed 654 at less than three an over, Mike Veletta making 262 of them. It
wasn't a timeless match; it just seemed that way.

What was macabre yesterday was that Queensland's marathon rekindled interest in the match, not as a contest or even a spectacle, but as journey into the record books. Queensland cannot be blamed. They are playing by the rules. Victoria dropped some catches, but in cricket, favours are not supposed to be returned.

Yet the way the final has deteriorated into a paper chase again raises a
question about the rules that govern it. The fact that the home team needs only to draw the match to win the title is problematic. The first final, in 1982-83, when everyone was still coming to terms with the concept, was won by the away team. Since then, only four visiting teams have come away with the prize (oddly enough, one of them won by an innings).

All four instances have been in the past 10 years, indicating that states
and groundsmen are taking a more sporting approach to pitch preparation than previously. Nonetheless, it is one thing to understand that sporting contests sometimes become unbalanced, another to draft imbalance into the playing conditions. The rules as they stand are a travesty of one of the fundamental precepts of sport, that both teams start on the same terms.

Administrators argued the top team on the table deserved a working advantage in the final. But they have a natural advantage, anyway, by playing at home. It is still so in most sports that home, hearth and creature comforts are important (the Queenslanders might demur; they have lost three home finals in the past eight years). Home ground is advantage enough. Otherwise, let merit decide.

Once, the domestic final was known as the last Test. Sometimes, it is more of an ordeal.

elliott
29-03-2006, 09:34 AM
It is a farce, but it is also a reward for topping the league

ozeagle
29-03-2006, 09:45 AM
it's not half as stupid as Sunday league cricket in England,

the side batting first faces around 45 overs,

the side batting second gets an hour, then 20 overs, usually around 33 overs,

they can bat for a draw if (surprise, surprise) they don't look like getting the runs.

FFS, who ever had a draw in a one day match.

oz_da II
29-03-2006, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by Ian Hart
[B] Vengeance is not an uncommon motivation in sport, but torture is never pleasant. Nearly 20 years ago, Victoria played a final in Perth in which WA amassed 654 at less than three an over, Mike Veletta making 262 of them. It
wasn't a timeless match; it just seemed that way.

That's because Merv Hughes bowled over upon over of bouncers.
I was there. Fantastic innings by Veletta.

elliott
29-03-2006, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by ozeagle
it's not half as stupid as Sunday league cricket in England,

the side batting first faces around 45 overs,

the side batting second gets an hour, then 20 overs, usually around 33 overs,

they can bat for a draw if (surprise, surprise) they don't look like getting the runs.

FFS, who ever had a draw in a one day match.


I've always agreed with this. It's a farce

oz_da II
29-03-2006, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by ozeagle
it's not half as stupid as Sunday league cricket in England,

the side batting first faces around 45 overs,

the side batting second gets an hour, then 20 overs, usually around 33 overs,

they can bat for a draw if (surprise, surprise) they don't look like getting the runs.

FFS, who ever had a draw in a one day match.

Not in my Sunday League over there.

Jim Cannons Moustache
29-03-2006, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by oz_da II
Not in my Sunday League over there.

no I've only ever played that rule in youth county cricket. I once batted for 2.5 hours for 18n.o. v gloucestershire u13's to secure a draw in a one day match after we'd lost every previous match that season.

It was turgid turgid stuff. :o

no wonder english cricket was in a mess back in those days when 13 year old kids were being instructed (not encouraged but actually instructed) to bat like that!

ozeagle
29-03-2006, 10:13 AM
well, when i played cricket there, that was the rule.

first game i ever played, i never knew about it,

we were 8 down, needing 17 off the last 2 overs, and the captain told me not to take chances,

i didn't know what he meant, and simply flayed 17 off the next 8 balls for victory.

after the match, they explained it all to me, to which i replied "that's the dumbest rule in history"....

Strathclyde Eagle
29-03-2006, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by ozeagle
we were 8 down, needing 17 off the last 2 overs, and the captain told me not to take chances,

i didn't know what he meant, and simply flayed 17 off the next 8 balls for victory.
I like the response. :p

Oisin
29-03-2006, 11:58 AM
I can't see why there neeeds to be a final.

philaire
29-03-2006, 09:11 PM
Originally posted by Oisin
I can't see why there neeeds to be a final. Ö because of the obsession with finals in this country. There hasnít always been a Sheffield Shield final, and that didnít stop there being some nail biting finishes to the season. But you only have to look at the A-league for another Australian example of finals providing a dubious conclusion to the season Ö although the attendance at the Sydney FC/Mariners game was probably about ten times what the Qld/Vic cricket final amassed over five days Ö

crystaljim
29-03-2006, 10:23 PM
It's also a good opportunity to watch Queenslanders choke, shame on the Vics for letting the side down.