Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Panto

The slip cordon
One of the many delights for Fantasy Bob during the Christmas season is the visit to the Pantomime.  His enjoyment of the entertainment is unfortunately reduced by the absence of cricketing themes in these shows.  This is an unforgivable failing on the part of the producers and performers.

Fantasy Bob understands that the ICC share this concern and have been working in secret to address it.   FB has had exclusive access to their preliminary thinking.  They propose that these laws should apply to all Test cricket played between 1 December and 31 January.
Rule 1 - Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) Revised method
  • Neither umpire shall give a batsman out unless appealed to by the fielding side.
  • An appeal "How's That?" covers all ways of being out.
  • The umpire may then make a decision. 
  • Where the umpire adjudges the batsman to be be out, the batsman may respond immediately ‘Oh no it isn’t.’
  • The bowler will then respond ‘Oh yes it is’.
  • The batsman and the bowler will repeat these phrases.  'Oh yes it is.'  'Oh no it isn't.' 
  • After 3 exchanges they will invite the crowd to repeat the phrases 'Oh yes it is.'  'Oh no it isn't.' 
  • After 3 exchanges they may divide the crown into parts for this purpose - each identifiable part of the crowd will be allocated one or other of the phrases.  
  • After 1 exchange the batsman will cup his hand to his ear and shout ‘I can’t hear you.’  The crowd will raise its voice higher to shout OH NO IT ISN'T’.  After a further exchange, the bowler will perform a similar action.
  • After 3 exchanges the umpire will answer the appeal in favour of the batter or the bowler according to which shout is louder .
  • At this point the batter or the bowler, whichever is appropriate, will run towards the members’ enclosure with what appears to be a bucket full of water.  At the determined spot near the boundary he will trip and the contents of the bucket will  pour over the members – not water but ICC approved confetti. 
Rule 2 - Stumped 
  • The non striking batsman, should he apprehend the wicket keeper standing up, may call to the striking batsman ‘He’s behind you.’ 
  •  At that point the wicket keeper will hide behind the slip fieldsman.  The striking batsman will turn 360 degrees and cry ‘He’s behind me – who’s behind me?’
  • The wicket keeper will resume his stance and the non striker will again say ‘He’s behind you.’ 
  • The  striking batsman will turn, either more slowly or more quickly, or in a different direction than previously.  At the end of each turn he will cry ‘There’s nobody behind me.’
  • After the wicket keeper has taken up position on 6 occasions the umpire will call 'Over' and play will change ends.  
Rule 3 - The use of the pantomime horse 
  • The umpires shall have discretion to allow a substitute for a fielder, or a runner for a batsman, at any time.
  • No substitute or runner shall be allowed on the field of play unless it is in the form of a pantomime horse.
  • The pantomime horse may not take on the role of captain or wicketkeeper.
  • Either end of the pantomime horse may take a fair catch.   
Just for information, at the Headingley Test in the 1997 Ashes, a pantomime horse did actually attempt to invade the field.  It was chased and apprehended by a steward, somewhat over vigorously because the front half was knocked unconscious.  There is no evidence to suggest that the horse was a substitute fielder. England lost that match by an innings and 61 runs which suggests that a number of pantomime horses had already been selected. 
In this match, Ricky Ponting batted 6 and scored his first Test century.  He has scored 38 others since then.  Jason Gillespie took 7 for 37 in England's first innings, his career best Test return.

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