Oram and the digital issue
Just one question: why do this for a one-day international tournament? (I'm kidding, I guess, but it does bother me a bit).
The world of cricket, as seen from Brooklyn
Chappell also did not want to read too much into Australia's recent run of losses. "It shows that New Zealand is a good side. It shows that England has made some progress. No doubt it will effect Australia's balance if [Brett] Lee and [Andrew] Symonds are not going to be there, but I am sure they have got good cricketers there. Stuart Clark has come in and maybe he will be the player of the series for them," he said. "The loss would have made them a bit hungrier and determined to play well. I would have preferred that they won all the matches and gone to the West Indies overconfident. Now they will be right on the job. We will have our job cut out."
Some five years ago, playing in the Northern Suburbs grand final, I dropped a left-handed batsman (brother of the man who had scored a double ton off us in an earlier game), shortly after I had been fantasizing about pulling off a catch in that very position. My captain, for some reason, had decided to send me in as a short-fine-leg, or leg-slip, call it what you will. I found the position odd, and stood there wondering why I had been sent there when I hadn't seen any evidence that we needed a fielder there. As I stood there in the heat, my mind wandered, looking around at the other players, the slips chatting away, (the bastards wouldn't even throw the ball back to me on the relay back to the bowler), the mid-on and mid-off talking to the bowler, and I suddenly felt lonely, despite being out there with a dozen or so men. I conjured up visions of pulling off a blinder, off a lighting quick glance played off a fast bowler - ah, that'd be it. Two balls later, our fast bowler pitched one on leg-n-middle, the lefty went across and over and flicked it down leg-side. For a fraction of a second, I lost sight of the ball as he moved and then suddenly, alarmingly, the ball was on me. I had my hands cupped, but I hadn't been in a catching position, I don't think (perhaps that was the problem, the placement had left it vague whether I was catching, or cutting off singles). And it was swinging, I still remember the banana like curve it described. It swung away from me, hit the top off my left hand and bounced off, harmlessly, over my left shoulder, down onto the grass. I ran back, picked up, threw back to the keeper, and closed my eyes. He went on to score a few more runs (I couldn't bear to keep count). We lost by one wicket.
Bracken said the phenomenon could be explained by small grounds and carefree batsman with "nothing to lose" slogging away. "As a bowler, it is always tough going into a situation knowing the opposition are going to come out without a care in the world," Bracken said yesterday. "You get in a position when a team is chasing that sort of score they have nothing to lose. "They can come out and if they get knocked over for 120 and lose the game, they can say: 'oh, we were chasing 340, so be it'. "They are in a position where they can come out and play any shot they want to play, chasing fours and sixes, without the consequence hanging over them. "It can be tough to bowl in those situations. You have to get on top early or it can get tricky."Bracken is correct, but only partially, and that part which is correct is pretty superficial. Small grounds have been around for a very long time; run chases of the magnitude we are talking about here haven't been common all along, have they? Have batsmen just become increasingly "without a care in the world"? I doubt it - the mental attitude Bracken refers to has always been around, but by and large it hasn't worked. Why have these big run chases become more common? And bowlers should fancy batsmen coming at them, shouldn't they? And what "consequences" is Bracken talking about? Batsmen still stand to lose their wicket, teams still stand to lose games. Successful high-scoring chases require a confluence of factors - someone playing out of his skin on the batting side, a friendly wicket, and some bad bowling and fielding. To lay it all on a "nothing to lose" mentality is to sidestep the issue (and would Bracken like to extend his analysis to the third ODI as well, where Australia clearly let New Zealand off the hook, after having them down and out?). For a more accurate picture of where things went wrong, read Hussey's comments in the same piece.