“People want to see runs”

People are always saying this. It drives us mental. They say it like it’s a fact. Stuart Broad’s the latest.

“I think Test wickets should be flat, no doubt, because the crowds want to come and see runs scored.”

No we don’t. The most boring days we’ve ever seen have been when batsmen have been piling on the runs on a flat pitch. It’s mind-numbing.

Sat in the ground, we have to watch for six hours or more. The more accurately we can predict what the score will be at lunch, tea and at close of play, the duller it is for us. Runs are not remotely a sensible unit of measurement when gauging the value of the ‘product’.

People want to see the unpredictable. Test matches need corners.

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17 Appeals

  1. Hear hear.

  2. I’ve been saying for years that one day pitches should be replaced with minefields, since low scoring one day matches are invariably the best to watch.

    • This idea I could get behind. They could get the guys behind those insane Japanese wrestling promotions of the 90s, like FMW and Big Japan, to oversee it.

    • Electrified Boundary Exploding Pitch match. Throw some barbed wire in there and you’ve got your classic FMW aesthetic brought to cricket.

    • Losers have to dive into a filthy river, Atsushi Onita-style.

  3. I switched on TMS twice during the last test the moment Boycott uttered the words “uncovered pitches”. The first time it happened, I switched the radio off immediately. The second I looked around for hidden cameras before doing to same again.

    I know he talks about it a lot, but this must be a sign.

  4. There’s unpredictable and then there’s unpredictable.

    Uncovered pitches made the game a bit too much of a weather lottery at times – ask any old-boy first class batsman who had to play on a sticky dog against a half-decent spinner. (Apart from Geoffrey of course).

    If the pitch is of a quality that allows a fair contest between bat and ball, the unpredictability is supplied by the players – an exceptional batting performance to turn a poor innings into a good one – or a special spell of bowling that suddenly changes the game.

    If the pitch is either a minefield or a featherbed, that takes a lot of the cricket out of the cricket.

    The problem with many test pitches in England at the moment is that they lack bounce and carry, making them difficult for scoring runs and taking wickets. I believe this results from the wonderful new underground drainage at many test grounds. the drainage is a huge plus in many ways but the groundsmen have not yet leaned how to adapt the pitches to retain life in them. This does lead to more turgid cricket – neither batsman friendly nor amenable to rewarding fine spells of bowling.

    • I love looking at old scorecards and seeing the ridiculous scores. You’d see sides wiped out for 36 and then get 400 in the second innings, or a guy getting a decent hundred whilst everyone else struggled to get into double figures. Can’t say I’d want to actually play on those pitches myself mind.

  5. Does he want to see Sri Lankan pitches, where both sides score 700 in the first innings and then the game peters out into a draw? That’s fine occasionally, but the crowds would quickly tire of it.

  6. Yeah I thought that statement was strange. I’ve never seen a Test and thought “wouldn’t it be amazing if I saw 3 hundreds scored today?”. I think what he means is that people want the Test match to last 5 days.

  7. Seeing a batsman pile on the runs can be exciting to watch, provided that there is some element of danger to the endeavour.

    KP and Cook’s centuries at Mumbai spring to mind because it was otherwise a pretty low scoring match. Virender Sehwag deciding the best way to handle Dale Steyn by smashing him all over the ground for a run-a-ball triple ton is another.

    Too often though, runs are allowed to accumulate and fielding teams are sometimes encouraged to act like they are engaged in a study as to whether narcolepsy can be contracted by watching the third afternoon on a Lord’s pitch designed to neuter the bowlers.

    Given the choice, I would rather watch a 3 day low scorer on a soggy minefield than 5 days of Cook and Pujara taking it in turns to grind out double centuries.

  8. I just want to see wickets. Oh and Red Kites riding thermals in the distance [as seen at Headingly]. Failing that a lost Gannet will do!

    • You referenced thermals on King Cricket. That can only mean one thing.

      You have been warned.

  9. Darth Weevil the Eternally Crazed

    July 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    The prophecy has come true…flat as a pancake.

    I wonder if Broad is going to feel the same way after the Indians make him bowl for two straight days while they amass 700+ in the first innings…

  10. How about introducing a venomous snake at one of the close fielding positions? A king cobra would seem appropriate for this calibre of match, an adder would be sufficient for a county match.
    The signal to place the snake would be made by one of the umpires at the behest of the fielding captain. The snake would remain “active” until it got bored or ate someone and slithered off to the covers.
    New snakes, like new balls could be introduced at 80 overs.
    I mused on this while watching the first day of the Test today at Trent Bridge with the flat wicket that Stuart Broad had wanted, and wondering how it could be enlivened a little.

    • King Cricket

      July 9, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      A rather large snake writhed over our foot while we were taking a slash in the French countryside recently.

      That was a bit too exciting for our tastes.

  11. Nathan of Perth

    July 10, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Bravo!

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