Kyle Mayers is playing Brian Lara Cricket properly

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Kyle Mayers really made an entrance. Since then he’s apparently been training with Codemasters. Short of inexplicably setting off for a run while the wicketkeeper stands at the stumps with the ball in his hands, it’s hard to envisage a more Brian Lara Cricket moment than the six he hit against Australia today.

People quite often say, “he’s playing Brian Lara Cricket,” about a passage of play, but they generally get it wrong. What they actually mean is, “he’s playing Stick Cricket.”

Stick Cricket was – indeed still is – the videogame home of relentless six-hitting. Brian Lara Cricket was a little more nuanced.

In this instance ‘nuanced’ pretty much means ‘polarised’ in that you tended to oscillate between playing improbable shots that somehow cleared the ropes and getting clean bowled.

Kyle Mayers’ shot off Cameron Green is perhaps the finest real-life example of the former. He played what really should have been completely the wrong shot but somehow middled it.

It’s all in that magnificent follow-through. It smacks of an on-screen character flawless performing one of its sequences of animation with absolutely no regard for where the ball is. The game engine also has little regard for where the ball is and so it translates Mayers’ completely-wrong-shot into a perfect six.

If you’re wondering how the match went after this, Mayers was clean bowled next ball after being somewhere around two seconds early on a looping ultra-slower-ball bouncer. He tried to play exactly the same back foot lofted drive and held the same pose as it went behind his ankles.

The Windies were ultimately bundled out for 72, only for Australia to collapse to 36 all out in three overs.

After a disastrous first over, David Warner had staged a recovery in the second, but was left stranded on 36 not out off six balls after further carnage in the third.

Sheldron Cottrell was the pick of the bowlers with 10-0. Speaking after the match, Australia captain Aaron Finch conceded his team potentially had a slight weakness against left-armers.

Further reading: Cricket computer game graphics through the ages

Future reading: The King Cricket email


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


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  1. We had some “proper cricket” in Southwark Park last night as part of our London Cricket Trust Awards evening.

    The “batter” I photographed was just the sort of “six or out”, Stick Cricket character to whom you refer:

    Some readers might also enjoy news of the London Cricket Trust, which is, amongst other things, now engaged in a “special operation” in Sussex, while also indulging in the sort of cakeism that King Cricket readers would no doubt applaud.

    1. “I reoriented the cake, much to everyone’s relief,” is a quite wonderful sentence.

  2. Brian Lara on easy mode was such fun. Batting strike rate of 600 and bowling figures of 0-10. Other bowler just got to make the numbers up.

    1. Since tweets don’t embed, and most people won’t click through to see a random tweet: that’s a 100 second highlights reel of Chantham’s innings in the Asia Cup. Worth watching.

      Bet the Barmy Army would enjoy a winter trip to Chiang Mai. They should probably think about sponsoring the Thai team to keep their progress going and help make this a reality…

  3. This Asia Cup is proper “funny old game, cricket” material by the way – in their last match Pakistan had just thrashed reigning champions Bangladesh by 9 wickets. And Bangladesh had won their previous match, which coincidentally was against Thailand, by 9 wickets too. So on that basis you might have expected Pakistan to beat Thailand by at least 18 wickets. Bert will be along shortly to say something about sub-additivity, but even so, you wouldn’t have expected Thailand to win by 4 wickets.

    1. As an update to the “funny old game”, Pakistan have just beaten India in their next Asia Cup fixture – despite India being by some distance the top-ranked team in Asia. Does this mean Thailand are now the best team in Asia? Sadly I don’t think it works that way – Bert will be along shortly to say that not all tournaments are complete directed acyclic graphs, only tournaments that are transitive (or equivalently, have strict total ordering; or equivalently, do not contain a cycle of length 3; or equivalently, have exactly one Hamiltonian path) – but Thailand should pick up a healthy dose of ICC ranking points this tournament. I think the way the scoring system works they’d have got more points for beating Pakistan after Pakistan beat India than for doing so before Pakistan beat India, sadly.

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