Everyone knows that hitting four successive sixes is hard, right?

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We’re just checking, only a great many people seem to be holding Ben Stokes entirely responsible for England’s defeat. Sometimes the player hitting the sixes has some sort of say in things too.

Think of it like this: if you were a primitive human and you sent one of your tribe out to take on an alien with a pointed stick, only for the alien to vaporise him with his ray gun, would it be fair to take issue with Terry’s stick-prodding technique?

Carlos Brathwaite hit four sixes on the bounce to win the World T20. With tens of thousands of people shouting at him in the ground, millions more watching at home and everything he’d worked for his entire life hinging on what he did next, it was a thick slab of brilliance.

It’s not like Brathwaite set himself for one particular shot and Stokes served it up on a trendy oblong plate garnished with fresh herbs and drizzled with some sort of balsamic jus.

The first one was angled into his pads and he picked it up and hoisted it behind square leg. The second one was again legside, near enough a yorker, and he did some sort of weird contortion and wristed it over long on. The third one was again yorkerish, this time on the stumps, and departed over long off, despite having taken what looked like a leading edge. The fourth was again legside and Brathwaite just snapped his wrists through it and plopped it into the crowd.

There were good balls and bad balls in there, but the bad ones were arguably even harder to hit for six.

The first one was a bad ball in a Test match because it would never take a wicket. A batsman could easily run it away for a single or possibly even clip it for four. It wasn’t easy to hit for six though. From that angle, into the body, it was bloody hard to hit for six. Just because it ended up over the ropes doesn’t mean it was always destined to end up there. The outcome colours our perception of what came before.

To hold Ben Stokes responsible for what Carlos Brathwaite did seems a peculiarly backwards way of looking at things to us; like blaming a pedestrian for getting hit by a drunk driver. Maybe the victim could have worn hi-vis or taken a different route, but that’s not really the point is it? The point is that the guy behind the wheel was pissed and decided to drive.

So, to recap: hitting sixes is hard.


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  1. What if Terry had jammed his stick in the alien’s ray gun, though, causing it to backfire and vaporise the alien?

    That’s what all the former stick-prodders would be saying that they would have done (even if no-one would know whether that would have worked, as the ray gun could presumably have been able to vaporise the stick itself).

  2. This article brings to mind Misbah’s then-joint-fastest test ton and the golden robot Steven Peter Devereux Smith with his silver salver.

    It’s not just oblong plates now, though, is it – it’s slates, chopping boards, buckets, watering cans and even garden spades.

    By the way, I thought your ‘singles par or swingers par’ deserved much, much more than to go uncommented upon – sterling (silver) work!

  3. Hang on. Hang on hang on hang on. Hang on for a moment here. Hang on.

    Wayne Parnell’s favourite film of all time is Con Air!?

  4. Not sure anyone’s holding him entirely responsible, but he was the bowler. Much as I hate to bring Association Football into the group, the penalty taker analogy is relevant.

    It’s not the taker’s fault if he shoots for the top corner and the goalie pulls off a miracle save. But he still missed the penalty and he’s still in tears in the dressing room.

    So to recap: I’m not sure what my point is.


    1. We’d say a penalty taker is way more than 50 per cent responsible for the outcome of a penalty. Rifled towards the top (or more likely bottom) corner, a penalty-taker’s best penalty is basically unstoppable.

      We wouldn’t say the same about a bowler at the death. There is no perfect delivery. A bowler’s best ball can go for six, so it’s unfair to see their contribution to the eventual outcome in the same way.

      1. If hitting four successive sixes is hard doesn’t that conversely mean that not getting hit for four consecutive sixes should be relatively easy? Or, are you implying that hitting four successive sixes is not hard?

        Stokes could also have taken a cue from Jordan and bowled wide of off-stump instead of whatever he was trying to do. While not entirely his fault, he did contribute to the six hitting by trying to bowl the same ball even as it kept disappearing.

      2. We take your point. We just think that against the kind of batsman who can hit four successive balls for six, things are to some extent out of your hands as a bowler.

        Quite literally. You release the ball and then it’s up to the other guy. The other guy hit them for six.

      3. what an utter load of rubbish. Even the best of penalties can be saved if the keeper guesses right & early and dives accordingly. Just like our man Carlos did, he read your boy Ben like a book. just like our man Marlon said.

  5. I have never actually hit a six in my entire life. I have been out a few times foolishly trying, but never actually hit a six in real life.

    But in my dreams, I have hit sixes; many of them.

    I can assure you that, in my experience, once you start hitting them, you can hit loads and loads of them on the trot. The crowd gets more and more excited, until in an utter frenzy. The jaws of defeat, gaping wide open before the onslaught, slam shut, while the jaws of victory spring open. That’s simply what happens.

    Ben Stokes should have woken Carlos Brathwaite. Stokes didn’t do that simple “wake up!” thing, so the opprobrium is rightfully his.

  6. I think stokes getting hit for 4 successive sixes violated the pre-match narrative that he was “growing” as a death bowler. so this has probably resulted in a cognitive dissonance & many people end-up blaming Stokes for raising their expectation first & then bringing it down.

    before finals, Srikkanth had described England’s bowling as “ordinary” and many in media took exception to it. they accepted that England’s bowling is unreliable but at the same time claimed that they have grown in stature during the progress of the tournament.

    I mostly followed the games on social media, but didn’t think that apart from Badree there was any truly word-class bowler in the finals.

    and also surprised that Moeen didn’t get more of a chance. a year back in Sri Lanka, Moeen opened batting against Sri Lanka and did reasonably well. maybe he might have handled Badree better than Roy/Hales. and if Moeen is not going to bowl in the sub-continent (where the ball grips for the spinners), and also not bat in top-6 what is the point of having him in the team?

    1. Re Moeen. I think as England spinner the chap should have been dropped and replaced by Rashid.

      I also think that one of England’s batsmen should have been dropped a while ago (probably Bell) and replaced by Moeen.

      Moeen is a serious talent and I don’t think the best use is currently being made of him, arguably in any format.

  7. The commentary seemed pleased that marlon had been kept off strike after the 19th. I don’t think he would have hit those sixes. Shame he didn’t get a single. Like a shame alex hales slipped when running a two and had to settle for one and was out next ball, I think.

      1. .. A shame those glasses of yours still can’t tell the difference between a grassed catch & a fair one. Maybe they’re tinted? 🙂

  8. Just watched the final over again, and I don’t think Stokes did too much wrong. As KC mentioned, it was just brilliant batting.

    It looked to me like the plan was to ‘get the yorker in’ on, or just outside, leg stump. If this was the team plan, then stokes performed pretty well and Brathwaite twatted England’s/Stokes’ plan for six.

    Job done. Well done the Windies.

    1. Even if he did, our point is that the outcome was still way more to do with the bloke at the other end.

  9. Enough is enough already. Please, KC, revert to this website’s core values.

    Rotund cricketers.

    Indifferent cats.

    Top trumps.

    Cricketing ephemera, serendipity and piffle.

  10. All nonsense. Stokes clearly lobbed the ball over the boundary himself four balls in a row.

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