“The other 10 balls will add a fresh tactical dimension”

Posted by
2 minute read


T20 Blast Finals Day (ECB)

Of all the very many sizeable questions that arise from the ECB’s plan to introduce a new 100-ball format to cricket, the biggest one is surely this: how did they decide who had to have the “fresh tactical dimension” quote attributed to them?

To quickly bring you up to speed, the 100-ball format is designed to be a “unique selling point” (or as Stuart Broad put it “a slightly different unique selling point”). Because of that necessary uniqueness, it can’t be broken down into five-ball overs because then it would still be 20 overs a side. Nor can it be broken down into six-ball overs because of maths.

How do you resolve a knotty little problem like this? The ingenious solution – which everyone involved must have listened to, comprehended, and then agreed was definitely excellent and appropriate – is to have 15 six-ball overs and then a 10-ball over to finish.

This 10-ball over sticks out a bit, doesn’t it? Maybe you could brand it and make a big deal of it. We’d brand it The LeftOver. The ECB went with a subtler approach. They decided that it would add a fresh tactical dimension.

This is a pretty transparent attempt to make the best of things having already invested a great deal of time and having had a great many meetings about your brilliant new 100-ball format. Clearly, the ECB were beyond the point of turning back.

The organisation backed itself into a 10-ball over corner and “fresh tactical dimension” was the best weapon it could lay its hands on to fight off criticism. Someone had to say those words. Publicly. No-one would have wanted to, but someone had to.

Did they draw straws? Did they put names in a hat? Did the top execs pull rank? We’ll never know. All we know is that ECB Chief Commercial Officer, Sanjay Patel, commented: “The other 10 balls will add a fresh tactical dimension.”

Poor ECB chief commercial officer, Sanjay Patel.

ECB chief commercial officer, Sanjay Patel will be the managing director of the new competition. You have to assume they gave him the job and a few extra quid to try and make up for the embarrassment of having his name associated with the fresh tactical dimension quote.


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. Because of all the problems currently facing cricket, the shortage of formats is the main one.

    And won’t somebody please think of the statisticians. How on earth are they going to work out a bowler’s economy rate?

    1. Also think of messers Duckworth-Lewis-Steyn

      more work for them and they have to create new model with zero data

      1. To be fair because of different numbers of ball/over used in the past (and I wouldn’t mind us going to 8-ball overs in first-class and Test cricket) a lot of old stats are standardised as “per ball. ”

        But do we really need yet another format to clutter up the stats summaries? Or, like 40/50/60 over List A cricket, will it just all be amalgamated?

  2. They should brand the other 10 balls (isn’t it really only 4 other balls, though?) the “Balls-Up”.

    I guess this means only four bowlers per side, presumably they’ll stick with the 4 overs maximum? I’m assuming here that someone brought up to bowl 24 balls a match will be able to cope with the enormous extra workload of that final over. Has anyone thought of the well-being of Tymal Mills?

    1. 4 bowlers can bowl 3*6 balls
      1 bowler can bowl 3*6 + 1*10 balls


      1 bowlers can bowl 4*6 balls
      1 bowler can bowl 2*6 + 1*10 balls
      3 bowlers can bowl 3*6 balls

      1. The LeftOver. The batting captain should get to nominate who bowls the LeftOver.

  3. Part of the rationale behind the 100-ball format seems to be the notion that a 100-ball countdown will appeal to non-cricketing people. Dan Roan on the BBC: “Those devising the competition believe a 100-ball ‘countdown’ would attract new audiences and be popular with broadcasters.”


    “It’s ball 45 of the 100 and with 55 left Shitefranchise need 99 runs at a scoring rate of 1.8 per ball, and here comes bowler X who is dressed in the now mandatory for bowlers full-length burq-whites covering his face bar the eyes, ‘cos who cares about bowlers? And its been hit for a ten!!! Yes a ten!! All the way into row 20 which is the ten zone. Can he go one better for the 12 in rows 21-30, or even an 18 for clearing the ground? Remarkable. Turdfranchise are in trouble that’s for sure. But what’s that? A Turdfranchise fan wearing the necessary Turdfranchise replica shirt at £80 caught the ball in row 20! And that of course is out. Spectators are part of this if wearing the right clobber!! So he’s out. What a turnaround. Oh – what’s that? The catcher was over 20??… – ah, now let me consult the rules… NOT OUT!!!.. only under 20s can dismiss a
    batsman in the crowd!!! Cricket, eh, bloody hell…”

    1. And its been hit for a ten!!!

      Reminsicent of this.

      I actually quite liked Power Cricket, as an alternative format, but I’d have it instead of this, not as well as this. I’d also get rid of 50-over ODIs, but I’m a madman so try not to listen to what I say.

  4. If the IPL can brand 6s as DLF maximums (maxima?) one can only hope the 10 ball over has a similar sponsorship deal.

  5. If they were really trying to be radical, this would be an opportunity to do away with overs entirely. The fielding captain can decide which end he wants to bowl any ball from and by whom. Bowlers would have a limit on number of balls bowled. That would open up fresh tactical dimensions. As I am making this up as I go along, flaws keep occurring to me, not least the possible slowing down due to field changes. Also keeping track of individual players balls bowled might be difficult, but this could be solved with “technology” like having a blackboard on the players’ backs for the umps to tick off on (although Australians would have to be checked for board rubbers) or having ribbons tucked into their trousers equal to their bowling allowance which the umpires could tug out. Details aside, I do wonder though whether this , unlike almost any other idea I’ve ever had, might have some merit.

    1. 10 players bowl 10 balls each. Batsmen face 10 balls each.

      Keeper is not a member of the team but someone who wins a competition run by one of the sponsors to be on the field as the keeper.

  6. Why bother with overs? The figures don’t come out right; the concept is a bit arcane when it ceases to be the basic unit of play; the fresh new audience won’t get it.

    Stash all your bowlers in the bowl/bullpen (cow corner?) and bring in relief as needed.

  7. 9 players bowl a single 11 ball over. The keeper is blindfolded. The captain has to bowl ball 100 (the Superbowl) and all runs scored from this ball count quintuple.

    The batsmen can change ends between deliveries at their discretion. The batsmen also set the field, except for cow corner, which is manned by an actual cow. If you hit the cow you get 11. If the cow catches the ball in it’s mouth the whole team is out.

    These rules are simple and would bring a fresh tactical dimension, as well as appealing to non-cricket lovers.

    1. I actually like the idea of every player having to bowl, just think of the filth that would be served up….

      1. I genuinely like that idea. Be like under-13 cricket all over again. Long hops, full bungers, nine foot high beamers, wides that hit the square leg umpire…

  8. My favourite quote from the cricinfo article is “Throughout its development, we have shown leadership, provided challenge and followed a process.”

    Such a meaningless bunch of words, Matt Hayden would be proud.

  9. For the last 10 balls no fielders should be allowed on the off side, so that this period of play could be known as the LegOver. Because, seriously, cricket is in real danger of being f****d. (Do we do asterisks here?)

  10. What they should do is allow the batting team to decide when they want the 10 ball over, and let them choose as late as the 6th ball of any over. There won’t be much tactical dimension-ness to it, but we’ll get to see a bowler being shamed by identifying him as the weakest link.

  11. It sounds like the LeftOver was actually the least mental idea that they came up with so it was passed. On Cricinfo, George Dobell says that one of the gimmicks that they thought about was removing LBWs.

    To just throw this out there, I obviously think this is ridiculous. But at the same time, I really, really want to watch it. I guess that is the point of it all, isn’t it?

  12. How about we do away with actual teams and instead have two captains who alternate picking their players from a random bunch of blokes who have just turned up, and then the last over then goes on and on and on until the player who owns the ball gets called home for his tea by his mum? This used to be a very popular format with the younger generation when I was part of it. And the wicket was a real road.

  13. Durham and Kent (and Essex and Lancashire, and Somerset and Worcestershire) seem to have interpreted all this innovation as an invitation to try and finish their County Championship matches in two days…

  14. I’d love to see a long piece on if the reputation of English limited overs cricket is deserved.

  15. Well, I’m sure you’ve all heard the announcement about the new arrival.

    Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik are expecting their first child.

Comments are closed.