Thursday, 3 July 2008

What a weird week

It has been a weird week for cricket in the British Isles. There have been two rather strange games - the record breaking New Zealand vs. Ireland ODI, and the controversial ODI between England and New Zealand.

Let's deal with the first game. There was a time when records in cricket were hard-earned and represented the highest achievements in the game. No more. New Zealand's 290 run win was the biggest ever win in a ODI. Taking a look at the list of biggest wins by runs, you have to look down to Australia's 232 run win against Sri Lanka in 1985 to find a game between 2 genuinely competitive teams. This result lies 8th on the list. India's 256 run victory over Hong Kong this week also lies above it. If you look at the list of victories by ball remaining, you have to go down further than 8th to find a genuine contest between quality teams.

When did it become so easy to break records like this? When did the ICC start handing out official status to these exhibition games? With all due respect to Ireland who performed outstandingly in the last World Cup, any team whose players are forced to play county cricket over their national team can't really be respected as a fully fledged international team.

So what do we do? Allow more mismatched games like this so to spread the word of cricket? Or only allow quality teams to play in official games? Anyone who follows HTB or my science blog will know I'm a stats nerd, and I like my numbers clean. Games like these make our stats useless. Is New Zealand the most outstanding team in world ODI cricket ever? I think official status should only be granted to these games in the World Cup.

The second game that caught my attention this week was the final ODI between New Zealand and England, which NZ thankfully won despite their number 11 Mark Gillespie missing 4 balls in a row in the final over when only 2 runs were need for victory. That they won on an overthrow on the last ball, when all England needed was a cool head to lob the ball back to the bowler, was justice after the controversial runout of Grant Elliot. If you haven't seen it, watch the clip below and make up your own mind on whether Collingwood should have recalled Elliot after he collided with Sidebottom. In my opinion, yes! But if it had been at a crucial moment in the World Cup final, I'm really not so sure. It was unlucky and there was no unfair play, but the spirit of cricket, something so trodden upon by India and Australia recently, should come into play. It was good to see the nicest man in world cricket, Daniel Vettori, win the series as captain. They are dark horses for the World Twenty20.

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2 comments:

Nick Scott said...

Vettori "the nicest man in cricket"? Marc, I can tell you stories...

westius said...

Please do! Although maybe not on the blog, we don't want to get sued...