Runs and running things – mop-up of the day

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Our loosely-held editorial guideline of “no-one cares what you think” isn’t necessarily one that drives productivity at what is, fundamentally, an opinion website. It means there’s a whole bunch of recent news stories we haven’t covered because no-one cares what we think.

The County Championship

Let’s start with the latest round of Championship fixtures, because four-day first-class cricket lends itself to easing into things.

There was only one win in the first division last week and even that featured its fair share of runs, Somerset racking up (high scores are always ‘racked up’) 591-7 before Jack Leach took eight wickets to secure an innings victory.

It was a similar story in the second division where Durham took the only win, thanks to another 11 wickets from Matthew Potts. An England Test debut was already being floated for Potts before the match, so that’s starting to seem like a thing that will probably happen.

After a winter of moaning about April pitches, run-scoring has been almost comically heavy so far this year. Is it pitches though? Presumably at least a little, but when high scores are common pretty much everywhere in the country, we suspect it has more to do with this season’s batch of balls. Not that you care what we think.

Update: Sounds like there have been some complaints about the balls. Also sounds like Durham may have some assertive captaincy from Scott Borthwick to thank for last week’s win – at least partly.

RIP Andrew Symonds

Depending on which route you’ve taken into the site today, you may already have read our piece on Andrew Symonds. Here’s a link if you haven’t. It features a reference to the time Symonds called Brendon McCullum “a piece of shit” which takes us neatly onto…

England’s new Test coach

This really is one of those where we have very little to contribute – although you might want to revisit our review of Episode 1 of This Could Go Anywhere, which isn’t especially featuring in other people’s coverage of England’s latest hire.

We’re broadly in favour of Brendon McCullum’s appointment. There’s been talk of him lacking qualifications and experience, but how many people have been in charge of an ailing Test team and completely turned it around? Not many. That seems a pretty good qualification and pretty relevant experience to us.

We get where people are coming from and why some might feel a bit put-out that someone can so easily bypass all the coaching badges they’re working so hard to attain, but we kind of see international cricket like writing. There are certainly useful skills you can acquire, but there’s also a sort of innate understanding of how it works that can’t really be taught.

Brendon McCullum made international cricket slightly better during his playing career. We think that should earn him a shot at doing the same as England’s Test coach.

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  1. I think McCullum had a great coach behind him as kiwi captain, plus he inherited the best generation of kiwi cricketers ever. But he probably knows to stay out of his own way in an international outfit

    1. We find it quite hard to split coach-captain relationships. To our eyes McCullum was half of the equation.

  2. You won’t hear a bad word against him from anyone other than Taylor. That’s probably what a head coach needs when they need to negotiate with morgan/a limited overs coach/a million analysts

    1. As master of ceremonies at Morgan’s wedding, he can probably take a different approach to those particular negotiations.

  3. Interesting point about the balls. The primary bat/ball sport on this side of the pond has the opposite problem: run scoring is down, allegedly due to changes in the ball. There are a few confounding factors, but the ball seems to be the agreed upon culprit. Unlike in cricket with its variety of suppliers, Major League Baseball sources all their balls from Rawlings. The league itself owns the company. Good for a laugh when MLB feigns ignorance at changes in the ball, I’ll say.

    1. How do they think it’s changed? Softer or swerving more or something?

      1. It’s a weirdly long story so I’ll try to be brief. Home runs – think 6s but less frequent and more meaningful – have been up the last number of years leading more players to swing for the fences more often. This has lead to a situation where players are striking out – think bowled I guess? – more than ever, hitting home runs more than ever, but a general reduction of just regular old hits. So to slow that trend MLB has deadened the ball somehow to encourage players to get singles/doubles rather than aim for home runs. The ball is being hit harder, thrown faster, and not going as far (all backed up by the ludicrous amount of statistical data on offer for baseball). They are also humidity controlling every ball in every stadium, which they used to only do at funky altitude or unusually humid parks, which is also a contributing factor.

        Like with cricket, baseball struggles to seem exciting enough for the young crowd. Or, at least, the people in charge think so. I think baseball and cricket are just fine broadly as is.

      2. It’s nice to know that all sports can go utterly mental about things that no-one in the wider world would feel was in any way important.

  4. I like the rather surreal baseball discussion above.

    Posting this here mostly because it seems blasphemous to do so on an RIP thread but there was a proper tight finish to the Nepal-Uganda match. Interesting so much content is available for free on youtube these days, particularly if you’re Skyless and don’t mind things being at a sub-elite level. And some of this was wonderfully village when people start cracking under pressure at the end. and final two overs at from 3:18 if you just want to skip to the tense bit. Two random observations:

    1) “Victoria Pearls” is the nickname of Uganda’s team. Would have made a good franchise name but it’s neat an international team has taken it.
    2) I like how the Nepali commentators (broadcasting in English) call it “off-stake”, which actually makes a lot more sense than “off-stump”.

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