The fans want to see lots of boundaries

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< 1 minute read

Someone stated this as fact during commentary on one of the World Twenty20 games. Can’t remember who. Some idiot.

He said that fans didn’t want to see wickets, they wanted to see loads of fours and sixes. He spoke about ‘fans’ as if they were an entirely different species, rather than being the very same people who were actually listening to him speak.

The thing is, when the answer is: “Yes, more boundaries please,” you have to examine the question. The fact is that you can’t have more boundaries with all other things remaining equal, just like you can’t live off salt and pepper chicken wings and real ale without developing a fondness for elasticated waistbands. There are consequences.

Would you like to see more boundaries, but fewer exciting finishes or fewer boundaries and more tight finishes? No-one asks that, but bigger scores tend to mean a wider spread of scores as well.

However, people just identify something ostensibly appealing and consider it in isolation, as if life is just a randomly selected collection of delightful ingredients. It isn’t – the relationships between the ingredients matter as well. Haddock and caramel simply do not go together.

It’s pretty clear that the excitement of a four or six in large part derives from the match situation. In low-scoring games, they have more impact and they mean a great deal more when the match is in the balance.

Anyway, none of this news to sentient beings. We’re not here to explain things that don’t need explaining. We’re here to express profound irritation that someone we can’t identify presented something that wasn’t true as if it were a fact.


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  1. “…without developing a fondness for elasticated waistbands. There are consequences.”

    Is this a topical Jimmy Saville reference?

  2. I sympathize with the sentiment, but fail to see why hitting more boundaries and having tight finishes are mutually exclusive. A high-scoring tight finish is as appealing as a low scoring tight finish surely? With the added bonus of watching the bowlers being hanged, drawn, and quartered.

    1. It’s great when it happens, but it just seems less likely. If possible scores range from 100 to 400, there’s less chance of both teams’ scores being similar than if possible scores range from 100 to 200.

      We know that flatter pitches will lead to a larger score being ‘par’ but at the same time, chasing teams can often find themselves too far behind the required rate very early on. Chasing lower scores, you’re always in with a chance.

      If the chasing team finishes with 90 per cent of the target, that’s a significant shortfall in a high-scoring game, whereas they’d perhaps only be a couple of shots away in a low-scoring game.

    2. I should clarify that I was talking about T20s. It is evident from that first paragraph that you agree that tight finishes are more probable in T20s, which also has a higher boundary-density. So we are in agreement.

    3. We like variety. Maybe that’s why we’re so unhappy about what the nameless commentator said. He implies that it’s ALWAYS about the boundaries.

      Low-scoring Twenty20 matches can be pretty gripping.

  3. I want to see longer T20 games. They need to extend the excitement – 20 overs just isn’t enough. The game is over just as it gets interesting. Perhaps they could extend the format to 40 or 50 over games? Maybe even unlimited over games, with multiple innings (bear with me, this is just blue sky thought showering).

  4. “…Haddock and caramel simply do not go together…”

    Whats abouts smoked eel with white chocolate & caviar? Thats served at a 3 hatted gastro place in Melbourne (vue de monde)

    Heston’s caviar & white choc shares some flavour compounds (amines) so they match well.

    back to the cricket, the douchey stadium announcers were asking for more boundaries… even in the Windies v Aus semi when Gayle & Pollard were smacking the crap out of our mediocre attack. Also remember crap going on the big screen during the Aus v Ire group game.

    It seems like the commentators want boundaries. The fans were enthralled at the low scoring Aus v Paki knockout game & even the India v Saffas. No one gave a toss about boundaries, most were aware of the net run rate.

    Also maybe the icc is thinking about the children… kids were foisted with those stupid 4/6 placards & those crappy “hero honda” blow up cricket bats which try we’re prompted to bang together constantly – its as bad as a bloody vuvuzela

    i’ld say 60% of the T20 fans here in Lanka came to the games for peacocking (especially before the final), so maybe the commentator (was it ravi shastri) was going for mass appeal?

    1. Maybe that’s it. Maybe he meant ‘advertisers’ when he said ‘fans’. Those four and six signs have a logo at the bottom, don’t they?

      It’s a reflection of modern cuisine that it’s quite hard to think of ingredients that really, really don’t go together.

      Vegemite and Marmite. You’d never use them both.

    2. yep, it was a sponsored placard.

      did you hear about the water contamination issue? Pepsi water not available in sri lanka, so it was imported from india and found to have been dodgy water. at least a dozen players were hit with delhi belly (Amla, Kallis, Vettori & a couple of kiwis, a few irish), 4 hit the hospital’s iv drips.

      a week later Whatmore says that the only way to beat watson, sorry australia, was to poison watson’s food… coincindence?

      “vegemite & marmite ”

      you are a royal culinary maverick!

      Are you also running the food pairing website in your spare time?

    3. I actually arrived early at cricket practice the other day and watched the under 10s practicing in the nets.
      Every one of them without exception was playing the slog sweep (or slog drive) every single ball. They all want to be Chris Gayle or David Warner.
      The older kids weren’t much better.
      Quite a change from years gone by where it was all throw downs and straight bats. While undoubtedly the kids seem more engaged than in years gone by, the scorecards seem to indicate that the new approach does not lead to more runs, quite the opposite.

  5. Another commentator (who shall remain nameless as I can’t remember who it was) also commented (or commetated) that the only way to contain Gayle was to get him out. Lots of games in this tournament were won by getting people out. That was a good thing.

    Is it possible to get caramel in a desert that ISN’T salted these days?

    1. Not in the Sahara, certainly. Maybe in the Gobi, I wouldn’t know.

      (KC got me with that one a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d pass on the pain.)

    2. Indeed, salt was to all intents and purposes currency in the Sahel, valued more than gold (by those who exchanged their salt for gold):

      Perhaps the drumming that accompanied silent trade is akin to the noise that errupts when fans are treated to fours and sixes…

      …except we are frequently told by He Who Knows All There Is To Know About Fans” that “dot balls are literally like gold dust”. Which makes fours and sixes like salt, perhaps.

      I’m trying hard to roll with this one…

    3. I am delighted that a spelling error in what I will confess was a rather bland appeal enriched the discussion so.

  6. Fans want to see more dancing, obviously, which surely means fours, sixes AND wickets.


    …perhaps they can change the instructions to the DJs and dancers – getting them to noise and dance ecstatically for dot balls, rather than fours, sixes and wixckets.

    Be commercial about this, folks – placards with a dot on them leave more space for a coimmercial message than those with the number 4 or the number 6 on them. Kids will be waving more effective messages from the sponsors if we get them “in” to dot balls.

    So, the Ged Ladd way, when a good ball is carefully defended back to the bowler for no run, the fans’ excitement can commence.

    Ergo, fans want dot balls.

    1. Funnily enough, we and some friends made some dot ball signs for Pakistan v Australia in 1999. We also made a series of signs spelling out ‘forward defensive’ and waved them like maniacs whenever the shot was played.

    2. Similarly, back in the day when they started accompanying a player’s walk to the crease with a profile including such insightful snippets as Nickname and Favourite Music, I remember Paul Collingwood choosing as his Favourite Shot, “the leg-side nurdle for one”. Way ahead of his time, as ever…

    3. Yup, I was also funnier back in the 90s.

      And yes, I too should have grown out of it by now.


  7. Yeah,I agree with your point most of the times the low scoring matches are more thrilling and exciting than the high scoring matches because in the latter usually one team dominates almost from the beginning but in the former the competition is a nip and tuck and everybody thrills.So good analysis.

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