Kumar Sangakkara and holes in batting averages

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Start the fans!

Building a reputation as a batsman is not unlike being a contestant on the perennially disappointing Nineties game show, The Crystal Maze.

You spend your life in the nets, honing your technique and earning crystals and then you get to try and make the most of it in the Crystal Dome of Test cricket.

The gold and silver tokens represent your performance in every conceivable circumstance against every possible opponent and as they billow around you, the best you can do is clutch blindly and madly, hoping you end up with enough to seal your reputation. After a while, Richard O’Brien yells “Stop the fans!” and then the world’s amateur cricket analysts scrutinise your bounty.

“Have you got the ‘scoring runs in England’ token?” they ask Kumar Sangakkara. “I’ve got the silver one, not the gold,” he replies.

Sangakkara can be fairly pleased with that. You can’t get all the tokens. There are too many to hold and half of them you won’t even have seen while you were in the Crystal Dome. Test cricket token acquisition is largely an exercise in damage limitation.

Even Don Bradman missed tokens. He thought he’d done well, but then after he retired they started adding tokens for Test matches played in places other than England or Australia, so he had none of those.


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  1. Odd few days for Sangakkara. Day 1, he throws away his wicket with the kind of shot that suggested he really couldn’t give a toss. Day 5, he saves the game with an innings of class and character.

    Top bloke.

  2. Oh, and he never said “Stop the fans.”

    He said “Start the fans”, and when the time was up he would simply give a loud blast on his whistle.

  3. Ian Bell had a go in the dome. He actually got quite a lot of tokens, but most of the time he spent in there he used to get hold of only the really big ones, rather than those tricky-shaped ones that always went between your fingers. People weren’t impressed. “those tokens are easy to get”, they jeered. “You’re like a floppy wooden spoon.” He got kicked out of the dome.

    Later, he was given another go in the dome because no-one else had figured out how to get the tricky-shaped ones either. Ian Bell took in a big plastic bag that he could wave around, collecting loads of tokens, and everyone was happy.

  4. In England, a genuine test batsman saves the day for the Lankans.

    In West Indies, a genuine T20 specialist saves the day for the Indians.

    Test Cricket is fucking awesome.

  5. I had no TV at all for most of the nineties, KC, so such references are wasted on me.

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