Forming opinions about batsmen

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Sometimes we’ve watched a batsman for the first time and thought he looked okay without reaching any conclusion beyond that. When other people have then waxed lyrical about the same player, this has left us feeling like a fraud for writing about cricket. How have we not seen the talent so obvious to others?

Then we realised that we were right and everyone else was wrong. It takes time to build an accurate picture of a batsman and there are no shortcuts. Anyone falling over themselves to brand some young batsman a future great is simply hedging their bets in a bid to be the first person to be “right”.

If there’s one thing people love, it’s being right and if there’s another thing people love, it’s being right before anyone else. This is one of the reasons why we aren’t on Facebook. We’re not going to give everyone else on earth the satisfaction of being ‘right’ before us.

You can see a lot of a batsman’s obvious qualities early on, but few people dwell on the boring attributes which are equally (and often more) important, while there will be other things you simply haven’t seen yet. There are a billion challenges in cricket. That’s half the frigging point.

Anyway, we’ll not go into this here, because we’ve written a brew-length article on the subject for Cricinfo. A brew-length article is one where you can justify boiling the kettle because you’ll have time to take more than one sip while reading it.

Disclaimer: It’s kind of like a proper article, so it’s not funny. We don’t shoe-horn in even a single mention of Ian Austin.


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


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


    1. Yeah, much of that applies to bowlers as well. It’s just that the Cricinfo article’s about batsmen. Can’t really remember why that happened.

  1. That wasn’t a “brew length” job for me, it was a “glass-of length” – Pinot-Gridge as it happens.

    Mentions of Ian Austin and possibly also Mark Chilton by way of contrast would have added some delightful spice, IMHO. Not sure all the Cricinfo readers would have got it, though.

    But then, I’m not sure all the Cricinfo readers are getyting it anyway.

    1. “Getyting”…

      …hit submit appeal…


      …can I?…

      …no, too late to retract…

      …blame the Pinot-Gridge.

    2. “Getyt” v. The act of “getting” it while tying one’s shoelace. Chiefly medieval British.

      origin: Gedardus III, in one of the bloody battles of the famed Internet War, is supposed to have exclaimed “….getyt it. Whore”.

  2. Love the utterly superfluous lady of the night reference. Talking of people you would pay for a quick, cheap and nasty experience, exactly how is Phil Hughes’ remodelled technique holding up?

  3. On a closely related matter, Daisy and I have been chillaxing with Horse Frenzy this weekend.

    Very similar to batting in the need for near-perfect repetitive movements, response to extreme pressure.

    Slightly less need to react to variations on the field of play though, not least as the “ball” doesn’t actually move before you play your shots. But you do need to decide where to send the ball.

    Anyway, I needed to share this point with you all and feel I have added something to the debate.

  4. To confirm my bias about ‘anticipating what the bowler will do next’ here is a quote from Sunday Times where Swann says:
    ‘Andrew Strauss’s second hundred of the match and another from Paul Collingwood helped us develop a 75-run advantage on first innings, setting a challenging 387 for victory. However, we were to learn exactly how good this Indian batting line-up, and Tendulkar in particular, were. It was humbling to witness first-hand just how amazing he was. When you actually bowl to him on a wicket in your favour, and he appears to know what you’re thinking the minute before you think it, it’s like playing poker against a full-time professional.’

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