How costly will that dropped chance prove to be? Apparently only fate can decide

Posted by
< 1 minute read

Last year, Pakistan managed first innings scores in Abu Dhabi of 570-6 and 566-3 against Australia and then New Zealand. It’s not like England did especially badly in conceding 523-8. Pakistan are just good.

Not that it’s impossible to take wickets there though. Those two teams’ responses were 261 and 262 respectively, with wickets evenly shared between the Pakistan bowlers on each occasion. You can certainly bowl teams out and if anything, this emphasises that the dropped catches and wickets taken off no-balls weren’t really any more costly than all of those chances England didn’t create in the first place.

We wonder how much the England team and British media have talked the players into a trap. When you take such great pains to emphasise that you can’t afford to drop a single chance in the UAE, how does a team feel when exactly that happens? Defeated? Like they’re losing already? And what impact does that have on their play from then on?

It’s similar to the ‘we’ll have to be at our absolute best to beat them’ line of thinking. Being positive is one thing, but setting unrealistically high standards that you can never hope to meet is rather different. Doing the latter only serves to elevate the task in front of you to something that’s seemingly impossible.

All of which isn’t to say that it would harm England’s cause any to take those cymbals back off Ian Bell and return his hands to him in their stead.


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. I HAVE DEVELOPED THE POWER TO MAGICALLY REINSTATE ENGLAND CRICKET CAREERS, apparently. I’m feeling masochistic today so time for a second attempt.

    There was ANOTHER chap people used to say”made things happen”. He was an all rounder. He night make things happen when fielding, when he caught a ball, or just by warming up and making the crowd copy him like a demented celebrity fitness instructor. Brilliant. Making stuff happen!

    Anyhow he could bowl a bit too, if dobbly was your thing then whatisface was your king. That whatsisface! Occasionally twinkling out the odd wicket with his unpenetrating dobblers! Made things happen. Quality. And the commentator might just happen to mention as he read out his vaguely economical figures that the reason for his surname was that he was descended from Zoroastrians. Brilliant, that Zoroaster, making things happen in England ODI games thousands of years after his death by establishing a community with just the right pattern of emigration to learn cricket and bring funny surnames to a dank corner of north west Europe. Quality.

    And wotsit could bat too apparently, lower down the order anyway, all part of that all-rounder act. Actually I mistyped that as “wotsit could bad” originally which may have been a bit more apt, but he was certainly capable of a full-blooded heave if he’d had one of those little rushes of blood to the head. “He makes things happen,” the commentators would admiringly declare, “Wotsit Thingami, Essex legend!”

    1. Ah, yes, but surely not in truth an Essex legend, rather a Lanckey legend. Perhaps the greatest all rounder that Leigh, nay perhaps even the whole of Wigan, ever produced.

      Good to see Zoroastrian mentioned in the discussion on this site, Bailout, there is far too little of that these days.

      Of course, a good way into the subject of Zoroastrianism for novice King Cricket readers is the novel by Friedrich Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra (in translation; Thus Spake Zoroaster).

      Or even the more approachable but lesser known second and third parts of the trilogy; “Also nicht sprechen kann Ronnie” and “Damit niemand von uns sprechen kann”.

      1. We had a story to tell, but just realised that we’ve conflated our Zoroastrians with our Jains. Zoroastrians are the guys who gave us dhansak, aren’t they? It’s okay. We’re back on track now.

      2. Frankly, a story about Jains has just as much to do with a thread (which, to remind everyone – as it is well possible to have forgotten in the unlikely event that you have read this far – was about dropped catches and fate) as some ill-fitting phrases about Zoroastrianism.

        I have been to two Jain weddings in my life ; those Jain friends entirely unconnected with each other; one union of families of Gujarat origin, the other union of those originating from Punjab.

        Here is a picture of a truly beautiful Jain temple Daisy and I visited in Calcutta. The next five pictures are also of that temple. After that, there are some pictures of Eden Gardens, where we were given a private tour on the back of my Middlesex CCC Membership Card.

    2. Excellent, I always enjoyed it when Graham Napier walloped all those sixes. Or when Jesse Ryder fell drunkenly through the bar that one time as Stuart Maconie wryly looked on.

      Can you do one for KP now please?

      1. There once was a young Saffer off-spinner who played vs England in a warm up match, if I recall. Made things happen. Not too bad a lower order bat either. Last I heard he was looking for opportunities in county cricket because he didn’t think the South African board would select him at international level. That kind of willingness to make a better fist of things suggests he could really make things happen. Did he make it over here in the end? Had the funny feeling John Doe might have nurdled a few more runs than people expected, made a few more things happen, if he’d had the chance.

Comments are closed.