Monday, January 02, 2006

Heals you legend

So, on the Cricket Show last night, some attentive viewer wrote in and asked whether Warne and MacGill used special hand signals to let the keeper know what was in the works. A nice technical moment followed as Healy launched into a sensible exposition on keeping to spinners. In sum, there is no need for hand signals in cricket (as opposed to baseball), because a) the ball does not travel so much through the air (90 feet in baseball means plenty more tracking required in flight, and more chance for late movement), but b) turns after making contact with the pitch, so the wicketkeeper can read it off the hand, and also off the pitch. Furthermore, the wicketkeeper has a easier task than the batsman as he is only defending (the passive role of gathering the ball) as opposed to trying to score.

Taylor then pointed out that though Healy made it sound simple, it required tons of net practice for Healy, who made it a point of keeping to Warne during all net sessions as a way of improving his spin-reading skills. All in all, it was an interesting digression from the usual silliness of lunch-time shows.

I found the discussion on the difference with baseball fascinating; baseball pitching is notoriously difficult to hit (.300 averages are rare) and the late movement contributes significantly to this state of affairs. Cricket fans ignorant of baseball are fond of waffling on about how easy it must be to hit baseball pitchers as, you know, "all they do is bowl full-tosses". Forget the intimidation factor in 95 mph fastballs, I can't imagine how MLB batters ever manage to handle late movement across the plate.


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