Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Semi final one - The heat is on

Fantasy Bob's abiding memory of England's quarter final against Sri Lanka is of Chris Tremlett apparently wading through treacle to try to get into position to take a catch which under most conditions would have been relatively straightforward.  That and Jonathan Trott unable to do anything other than jog slowly ice collar and all to take his runs.  Stuff all this stuff about English fatigue and stuff - England melted in all senses of the word.
A stunning fielding effort
So how are New Zealand, another temperate zone country, going to fare in these conditions?  Their major effort against South Africa was in the field where they scrambled around like the All Black back row.  An exceptional effort - which really put the pressure on their opponents.  Can they maintain this in the conditions they will find in Colombo?  FB has no idea but he doesn't envy them the challenge.  Mad dogs and Kiwis sweep the cover boundary in the midday sun.

Playing cricket in Edinburgh Fantasy Bob is of course fully experienced in the extremes of heat.  Here are some of his tips for dealing with the heat and he offers them free of charge to the New Zealand coaching staff. 

All juniors in the team have to be covered from head to toe and back again in high factor sun cream.  Inevitably the ball ends up covered in the stuff - perhaps this is why Sri Lanka dropped 3 catches in their match against - so forget your Murraymints, it shines up nicely. 

Drinks have to be taken at regular intervals.   At least one is mandatory in the leagues FB graces - a far cry from the days when it was optional and was another tactic in the armory of the win at all costs captain.  A well timed drinks break, leisurely taken, could disturb batsmen's concentration like nothing else .  Denying the fielding side due hydration could grind them into the dust.  For many highly trained athletes the drinks break would turn into an opportunity for a sit down, a fag, and extended snooze, catch up on the football scores.  Sometimes it was a challenge to reassemble the full fielding side let alone getting them in approximately the right positions.

Players who usually go capless will suddenly find the most inappopriate headgear at the bottom of their bag.  A range of khaki and green hats will appear that causes passing spectators to wonder if why the Afrika Corps and the Chindits have suddenly reappeared.  Batsmen could feel like extras from Apocalypse Now  Headgear with second world war resonances should therefore be discouraged - even a knotted handkerchief is preferable.

All juniors have to be resmothered in even higher factor sun cream at the fall of each wicket.

Some genius will suggest that iced tea should be prepared - unaware that just dropping the bar's entire supply of ice into a hot tea urn will not do the trick.  To make things worse, the ice machine decides that it is too hot and goes on the blink.  So treat that proposition with the disdain it deserves.  Iced tea is an American invention and to be distrusted - piping hot tea is a perfectly cooling refreshment.

It comes as a surprise to find that there is no shade in the outfield - and the cricketer's parasol still presents a design challenge.  Improvised alternatives should not be tolerated.

Anyone suffering from sunstroke should not be asked to umpire for more than 10 overs.  There is a risk they will hear snicks when there are no snicks to be heard.

As the one big timer to wear specs how will Vettori cope?  FB bats in spectacles which soon take on a kaleidoscopic function as the sweat drips on to the lenses.   Inappropriate headbands?  Which make you look like Mark Knopfler without the guitar.  Vaseline across the eyebrows and temples?  Maybe - FB simply resorts to his tried and tested tactic of closing his eyes as the bowler's arm comes over.

Dilshan -
opening the bowling and the batting
 So NZ face a big challenge.  Not only might the weather be hot for them but Sri Lanka have real quality in every department.  It is difficult to think of any other outcome but a home victory.  The form book is definitely Sri Lanka's not only did they wallop NZ in their group game but they have won their previous four World Cup games against New Zealand. The overall head-to-head record is 35-33 in New Zealand's favour but since 2000 it is 20-11 in Sri Lanka's favour. In Sri Lanka, since 2000, the head-to-head record is 6-1 against New Zealand.   On the New Zealand side is the fact that Vettori may be astutest skipper in the competition and Ross Taylor has hit more sixes (14) in this World Cup than the entire Sri Lankan team (12).    That's the way to do it.  Less running in the heat.

But this is FB's preview and his tips are rubbish.

No comments:

Post a Comment