South Africa v India is not boxing, it’s racing

Posted by
< 1 minute read

With wickets falling every 10 or 20 runs in the South Africa v India series, it’s tempting to resort to the heavyweight boxer cliché. This has the two combatants going toe-to-toe, knocking lumps out of one another with neither taking a backward step.

It’s odd to think of wickets as ‘damage’ rather than the primary aim of the sport. Unlike limited overs, which is a ‘most runs wins’ game, Test cricket is essentially a race to 20 wickets. Wickets are the meaningful currency. Batsmen are necessary impediments and the game only moves forwards when they are dismissed.

In this series both teams have been moving at a ferocious pace, with India thus far not quite able to keep up. This isn’t for lack of trying however, and you wonder whether sooner or later the home team might be the one to crack.



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. India could have kept up in the first two tests had the bowlers been more consistent. Unlike South Africa, India’s change bowlers (especially Shami) have been poor overall. At least, they offer far more scoring opportunities in matches where runs have been at a premium. Feels odd to criticise the bowling line-up who have dismissed the opposition for less than 300 in five innings in a row but that’s probably where the first two matches were lost.

    Batting has been poor but that was expected, I don’t think we’ll cross 300 in an innings in Tests until the Australia tour at the end of the year. Also, except for ABD and Amla (in this match), SA batting hasn’t been much better than India’s. At least some good will come of this thrashing if the “Rohit Sharma in overseas tests” experiment is now over.

  2. There is a very good section in Ed Smith’s book comparing cricket with baseball, in which he talks about the different meanings of attack and defence in each game;
    in cricket the rare thing is the wickets whereas in baseball the rare thing is the runs.

    I reviewed that book for MTWD, back in the day, which you can reach via this link:

  3. Yes I know there is an obvious “cricketer spotted” or two in there – can’t believe I have been so remiss all these years – now rectified.

    I especially like the cricketer spotted teaser this week, btw, which has a delightful echo of the “Is The Pope Catholic?” motif that has been running on this site for the last few days…chapeau, KC, at least one reader (possibly many more) noticed.

Comments are closed.