Lahiru Thirimanne makes himself big

Brace yourself, we’re going to mention football.

One thing we learned from our years watching that soap opera-cum-sport is that a goalie should ‘make himself big’ when a forward is bearing down on him. The purpose of this is not, as you might think, to ward off predators. It is so that it’s harder to get the ball past him.

Goalies do this when the forward is so close that they wouldn’t have time to react to a shot. At this level of proximity, their body is basically just a static target, so bigger is better. There are similarities to fielding at short leg and Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne seems to adopt a similar philosophy.

England’s second innings turned on a lucky catch that few other fielders would have been in a position to take. Matt Prior clipped the ball to what would have been Thirimanne’s right at short-leg if the fielder hadn’t predicted where it was going, shuffled across and ‘made himself big’. The ball hit him in the midriff and then he caught it.

This seems flukey, but something similar happened in England’s first innings. On that occasion, Ian Bell was not out because the ball rebounded off Thirimanne’s helmet into the keeper’s hands and you can’t be given out if the ball comes off protective equipment. Even so, Thirimanne had again shuffled across, predicting the direction of the stroke and made himself big.

In football, this is a sensible ploy, because your primary aim is simply to block the ball. In cricket, it is less likely to result in success, because the ball still needs to be caught, but it is also fraught with danger. Footballers are complete pansies and play with a soft, light ball. A cricket ball is more like a half-brick and no-one wants a half-brick in the nads.

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8 Appeals

  1. Lahiru Thirumanne is finest young fielder in Srilankan Team

  2. If (and hopefully it’s a big if) you are going to mention f-ball again, at least get the terminology right:

    Goal Minder
    Attack Mman
    Goal Strike

    If you don’t do this properly, some people might think that you give this game more than one hoot about it, and that you don’t have to shower thoroughly after thinking about it. This is not a good image to cultivate.

    On other matters, no proper #1 side loses five tests in a row. I’m not sure that any proper #1 side ever loses four tests in a row. I like England being #1 in the world, but it is currently feeling about as solid a statement as a gum tree after it’s been attacked by a million termites.

  3. Conclusive proof, were it needed, that cricket had a big influence on the folk scene in the late ’60s. Fairport Convention were obviously referring to the removal of a cricket ball from a delicate region when they named this seminal work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unhalfbricking

  4. “If I was a betting man I would back England heavily as we’re here to make history.”

    Graeme Peter Swann, 28th March 2012.
    May be he meant they will make history by becoming the first No#1 side to lose five matches in a row

    • Swann did the same sort of thing in the most recent world cup, when he said England were like Pakistan in 1992. Er, only they weren’t, as Pakistan won in 92, and England went on to get thumped by Sri Lanka in the quarters in 2011. All of which makes me think that I’ve been misinterpreting the Barmy Army song “Swann will tear you apart” – I always thought the “you” referred to the opposition, but seemingly it refers to the England side when Swann makes one of his cack predictions.

  5. Vingesh is very persistent, but I suspect he hasn’t quite worked out the level of comments expected on here. Arse.

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