Monday, 23 July 2012

Monday musings

Back in the day when he was the doyen of cricket writers, Sir Neville Cardus missed the last afternoon of a match featuring his beloved Lancashire, as he was having a painful tooth extracted. Some of the more critical - and less able - members of the press box mused on how he would be able to file his customary match report to the Manchester Guardian, when he had seen none of the action.

They need not have worried. "I know how Lancashire's bowlers take wickets on the last day of a match" said the great man, quizzed on how he had submitted such an accurate piece in the next day's editions, illustrating amply what he had acquired through long years of watching county cricket.

Not for a minute would I dare to compare myself with a man I still consider the greatest of all cricket writers, but I was minded of Cardus' comment when I had my first look for some time at the Falcons Forum today. One correspondent, presumably referring to me, pondered on how "a certain individual" got "match reports" when I don't attend the games.

Ah, yes, that old chestnut! You can only be a fan if you go to games. Never mind that your professional and personal circumstances dictate that you must live some distance from the club that you love, as many followers of this blog do. You have to live close and go to every day possible to pass comment. Wait till I stop laughing, then I will continue...

It is simple. I don't write match reports. I write comment pieces. For anyone who doesn't know the difference, presumably including the correpondent concerned, cast your eye over yesterday's report on a separate tab as I explain...

One only needs to know cricket and follow a ball by ball scorecard to see how batsmen are handling a situation. Johnson and Hughes rotated the strike well, with plenty of singles, while there were several twos. On a small ground like Queens Park, you have to run hard to manage that a few times, unlike on larger grounds like the Oval or Trent Bridge, where you can coast a little more between the wickets.

Similarly, Derbyshire's greater discipline with the ball that I referred to is evident from the scorebook - five extras versus 22 is a clue that wouldn't need Sherlock Holmes to work out. Likewise the innings of Hughes, who batted 14.2 overs for his supporting, unbeaten 37, was hardly the work of a greyhound out of the traps, but nor did it need to be with Johnson hitting well at the other end. It was an innings of some maturity, as young players can often try to join in, to their cost, when a senior player is going well.

As for the rest? Comment, pure and simple. I've seen Johnson bat a time or two and been impressed by what I've seen. Match reports are out there through news agencies for specific shots played, but I don't go down that route unless I've seen them myself. It's all rather simple, but as anyone who has ever sat at a cricket match will testify, there are some who are there regularly don't really understand what they are seeing, or at least give that impression with some of the stuff they come out with...

Derbyshire now have a break until Australia A over the weekend, a game that I hope is blessed with good weather. It will be interesting to see what sort of side is selected for the game, as there will be a need to field a competitive side, but also to ensure we don't have players injured and out of the run in.Of course, there's a better chance of a good crowd with a strong team, so I suspect we will field a decent eleven with a sprinkling of youngsters.

More on that later in the week. For now, we're fourth in the CB40 and top of the County Championship.

There'll be a few nerves in that Australian camp...

1 comment:

John Clement said...

Always a dilemma in such matches nowadays as to whether to rest players and play a weakened team, or use it for practice. As the 20/20 has damaged the continuity we had throughout the early season and made it easy for batsmen to lose form and difficult to regain it, I would be inclined to play a strong batting line up and a second string bowling line up, including those like A.Hughes, Footit Knight & Burgone in need of a run out.