Confession Time: I know very little about cricket. Therefore to those of you who know a lot more about the subject than me, then it would probably come as no surprise that this ramble will fail to appease the mind of a typical cricket fan.
Moreover, it came as a surprise to me, that I quite enjoyed The Ashes tournament that has just taken place. Despite the various controversies that apparently damaged the good name of test cricket, I found myself encapsulated by the long-haul of the game.
As a consequence, this post is basically providing an outsiders view of some talking points that surrounded The Ashes.
Firstly, despite winning the series 3-0, England’s cricket wasn’t exactly enthralling. However, the most important thing is that England got the job done, and they got the job done pretty well, even if it means that Alastair Cook bats like a tortoise. That is not to say all of England’s performance was slow though with both Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen (that last innings in the 5th test was captivating) provided the entertainment. Australia, on the other hand, did play the more entertaining cricket, but ultimately being entertaining does not convert into being a winning team all of the time. I’d rather see England win than entertain, so from an outsiders view, I liked the fact that we won the series 3-0.
This leads me on to my second point. England should have won the fifth test. England should have won the series 4-0. It’s an obvious point to make even for the least observant of fans. Unfortunately, the ICC somehow believes that the bad lighting rule is more important to observe than the law of common sense. And what was more unfortunate is that the umpires had no choice but to follow the ruling thus it led to their unceremonious booing at The Kia Oval.
It is these sorts of decisions from the upper echelons of the game that will prevent the game from gaining some more fans. However, this is a recurring problem throughout the world of sport where traditional ruling goes against common sense. With FIFA there has been the debacle of goal-line technology which led to the incomprehensible and useless decision of introducing fifth officials to football matches. The dinosaurs that run these organisations fail to adapt to what the audience or the game itself demands. The FIFA/ICC comparison may seem an odd one, but sometimes common sense needs to be listened to by these boards if these sports are ever going to progress on the field of play.
This, ultimately, leads me on to my final point. The good old question of whether technology in a certain sport is a good thing or not. In my opinion, I believe that technology is great for cricket. Hotspot is a brilliant use of technology and it is a shame that its usage is limited by financial costs. The use of DRS and the fact that umpires can require assistance from a third umpire is also brilliant for the sport, but I don’t think it’s a well implemented system. There have been arguments to suggest that these systems are not 100% accurate and therefore they should not be utilised to make decisive judgement calls. Personally, I think that umpires should not be afraid to make controversial calls now and again, because if they know that the technology is not going to help him then what is the point of using it. Yet again, the exact opposite argument could be made. Maybe I’ll leave that one to the experts…
In conclusion (and I hate to end any article/essay/ramble with this phrase so I do apologise), the most important thing is I actually enjoyed an entire series of test cricket, something that I thought I would never say. I like Twenty20 cricket for the fact that it has taken a traditional game but revolutionised it. However, I quite like the quirky traditions of test cricket and if the game makes some slight adjustments then I believe it can find new fans of the game such as myself. I look forward to the next Ashes series come November time.
By Broderick Sutherland