Why we hate the nightwatchman

The textbooks don't say you have to hit the ballWe hate nightwatchmen because we think it’s just a habit. A thoughtless habit borne of tradition.

The idea is that if a wicket falls near the end of the day, you put in a lower-order batsman to protect the proper batsman from the strike and martyr himself if there’s a magic delivery. (‘Wand for Mr Anderson!’.)

It’s stupid though. If anyone’s qualified to see off the bowling, it’s the batsmen themselves and a magic delivery to a lower order batsman might be a simple leave for an opener.

Today‘s example was particularly moronic. James Anderson came in to bat out the day. He succeeded, but he was totally ill-equipped to protect the batsman at the other end, which was surely half the point. In reality Michael Vaughan would have needed to protect James Anderson from Muttiah Muralitharan on what was virtually a fifth day pitch and he’d have been best off protecting him from Vaas and Malinga operating with a brand new ball as well.

We reckon the nightwatchman fails roughly half the time.

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12 Appeals

  1. Why Anderson, of all people? Are we trying to bluff the Sri Lankans into thinking we bat down to ten?

  2. King Cricket

    December 4, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Nobody’s fooled. Least of all James Anderson.

  3. Maybe it’s a stroke of genius though….

    Vaughan
    Anderson
    Hoggard
    Sidebottom
    Prior
    Collingwood
    Pieterson
    Bell

    We’d actually look more like Pakistan, useless at the top (except Vaughan). and then batting all the way down to eleven!

    Vaughan stays in, the bowlers all bat in the manner of a night watchman, if they fail, then it’s down to the lads who can crickets with battings, and they should be able to block the bowlings and stuff.

    England WINS.

    Or Draws.

    Or loses horribly.

    It’ll be one of those three results though, if I was a betting man, i’d put money on it!

  4. Also. I love that photo of Mr Vaughan.

    Michael Vaughan loves it when Michael Vaughan looks techincally perfect.

    Ian Bell also loves it when Ian Bell looks technically perfect.

    They both look absolutely perfect in defence, whilst their off stump goes a cartwheelin’ so..

    I wish I looked as good as that when my off stump is uprooted.

    Unfortunately, I tend to look like a right handed Shiv Chanderpaul, without the talent for batting the cricketings.

  5. King Cricket

    December 4, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    It’s a mark of how nice his technique is these days that that’s actually Matthew Hoggard.

  6. I hate to be a pedant but…

  7. King Cricket

    December 4, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    We sit corrected.

  8. wasn’t that match the last time freddie batted like he should normally in tests???
    what did he get again? 90 odd really quickly or am i thinking of another test?

  9. Far be it for me to blow smoke up steve waughs behind, but when he captained he wouldnt allow nightwatchmen, potning and martyn were less than pleased and over turned the ruling when ponting took over.

    I think its a crap way to play cricket, however i went in as a nightwatchmen once and made a fifty. So i hate the theory of it, unless i’m the guy that benefits from it.

  10. King Cricket

    December 5, 2007 at 8:51 am

    Batsmen like to talk about how important confidence is and how confident they are, but apparently this only applies when they’ve got a full day ahead of them.

    If there’s only three overs left and it’s looking gloomy they have more confidence in the bowlers’ batting abilities than their own.

  11. Nightwatchmen are on average worse than useless. See Charles Davis’ analysis here:

    http://www.sportstats.com.au/nightwatchman.html

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