Ballance, Jordan and the power of unarsedness

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We spend about 40 per cent of our waking hours trying to work out which attributes we’d include were we to develop a stats-based cricket management computer game. For batsmen, there’d be things like patience and shot selection; for bowlers, there’d be fitness and accuracy. We’d also include ‘unarsedness’.

The key passage of play today was the partnership between Gary Ballance and Chris Jordan. One’s a debutant, the other’s a two-Test veteran and yet both seemed entirely unarsed by England’s eye-rollworthy position.

It wasn’t that the home team were throwing it away. They were just making a very poor fist of things. In fact it wasn’t even a fist. It was more like a limp claw. They seemed to be making a very concerted effort to entirely undo the few repairs they’d made during the first innings, during which the middle order had managed to emit a faint whiff of solidity.

Imagine Gary Ballance had scored 4 instead of 104 and that Chris Jordan had made 5 instead of 35 and now look at the scorecard again. That would have been a fairly normal outcome by recent standards and we probably wouldn’t have judged that pair too harshly either. The cricket watching public would have pointed their vast collective finger at Cook and Bell instead.

Ballance in particular has brought us back to a world where it’s not so ludicrous to assume that at least one of the batsmen might make a few runs in any given innings. He achieved this, at least in part, through having a very high unarsedness rating.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Would fielders have a leg length rating, so you could judge the effectiveness of their long barrier?

    1. Sweatiness would be another so that you could assign someone to take charge of the ball when reverse swing might come into play.

    2. I wonder whether unarsedness and sweatiness have a perfect negative correlation.

      That might be helpful in achieving balance in the side. Or even Ballance.

  2. hmm, unarsedness. doesn’t quite roll off the tongue (which is probably just as well…), but i reckon you’ve got something there. didn’t hurt michael vaughan when he was starting out, did it?

  3. I thought you already made a stats-based cricket game. But according to something called config.php, it doesn’t exist any more.

  4. You could make a shit grade club cricket version with ratings for the liklihood of turning up at all and having to leave early to keep the Mrs Sweet. Also a number for the chance of resisting a beer while waiting to bat and beers to runs handicap (or if you are really shit – a bonus) – these, of course, are the only serious factors to consider when scribbling a batting order in the book.

    By the way, when I say shit grade cricket, I mean the game I truly know and love and played as long as (and whenever) ankles and ankle biters permit.

    1. There was a time when they really did make games like that. Nowadays it’s all corporate. The world is a rubbisher place for it.

    2. The more we think about it, the more we want to play Grade Cricket Captain 2014.

    3. I like that idea. Captain’s wife has to ring round players the night before the match, trying desperately to fill all eleven spots due to last-minutes cry-offs courtesy of inconsiderate employers.

      Or my dad’s favourite, where he’d deliberately pick players he knew couldn’t play, then he’d replace them with people he wanted, rather than get lumbered with players pushed on him by the captains of the other XIs.

  5. The test match is in danger of petering out right now, if not also richarding out and thoroughly dereking to pieces. What we need is someone to predict something wild and dramatic, like a hat-trick from Moeen Ali or something, and for that thing then to happen. I’d do it myself, but I used up all my magic strength at the weekend by predicting that Castleford, Leeds and Saints would all lose, and that Rachel Riley would come round to my house to discuss Euler’s Equation. (That last one is how I knew my magic strength had run out.)

    So come on, someone – predict something that will win us the match. No asteroids, that would be ridiculous.

    1. In the thirteenth over after tea, after being tormented by Joe Root’s three unplayable deliveries, Sangakkara’s testicles would inexplicably recede into his body prompting him to withdraw retired hurt in shame. Anderson would then mop up the tail, and England would win.

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