Ronnie Irani to Matthew Bell – dot ball

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Hello and welcome to part two of our three-part feature, Cricket’s Greatest Dot Balls.

The backdrop

It was the fourth Test of the 1999 Test series between England and New Zealand, a match in which Ed Giddins was making his Test debut. England had yet to make a breakthrough in New Zealand’s first innings and so Nasser Hussain turned to a young man by the name of Ronnie Irani. No-one knew quite how signficant this cricketer was going to become. Matthew Bell was facing.

The dot ball

Irani ran in, ball in hand. He was doing everything right. The ball angled into the right-hander’s pads and Bell attempted to work it to leg, succeeding only in scuffing the ball towards square leg. For a split second, he thought about taking a run, but realistically there wasn’t one there, so he didn’t.

The aftermath

Sadly, this would prove to be Irani’s final Test match. He finished with a Test batting average of 17.20 and with three wickets at an average of 37.33. In contrast, Bell would go on to play another 12 Tests for New Zealand, hitting hundreds against both Pakistan and Bangladesh.


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  1. I feel like I’ve wandered into a culture I’m really not understanding at all, and you’re all sniggering at me behind my back.

    1. — for anyone finding this a bit weird —

      KC loves reporting on things that would not get reported on – on things that have no right to be reported on because they are so unremarkable.

      That really sums up this site.

      More dot-balls, please KC (even if you are on holiday). And more cats.

  2. Better batting an bowling averages than Samit. Still as Swanny says, its about your place in history, not the stats.

  3. I find it exceedingly hard to believe that two of the greatest dot balls ever came from the same series. Something smells fishy.

  4. Not just same match, but same day, same session.

    The first article in this series was from the eleventh over.

    This article discusses a pivotal incident at the start of the twentieth over. This matter has been ridiculously under-reported up until now – here is the full Cricinfo commentary on the ball in question:

    “19.1 Irani to Bell, no run”

    Not even “and there is no run”.

    We deserve better than Cricinfo and KC is providing it.

    But do people show gratitude? No.

    As with so many brilliant new ideas, people show bafflement until the penny drops. But once people start to accept the innovation, they soon start to claim it was their idea all along.

    Such is the cross that innovators like KC have to bear.

    Have I mentioned that Day Three of this match was Daisy’s first ever foray into live test cricket? Yes, but I don’t think I have mentioned the crowd incident at the end of Day Three, in which a young woman sitting near to us decided to reveal her top half to the crowd and went for a streak around the Peter May Stand.

    “Does this happen a lot at cricket matches?” asked Daisy. “Not the ones I go to”, I replied. “She has good enough reason to show them off”, said Daisy, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”.


  5. Why not something more sexy, like Devon Malcolm taking the strike off of Robin Smith in the West Indies in ’91, on his way to a spawny 40 or 50?

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