Wednesday, 11 May 2011


The cricketer has an ambivalent relationship with water.  When pushed, he or she will accept that it is a necessary evil – after all without water there would not be the possibility of tea and, as Fantasy Bob has pointed out before, without tea there is no cricket. 

While water is welcome in that it makes the grass on the outfield that lush and comfortable green colour, it also makes wickets green.  And cricketers are inconsistent, they love the beauty of a close cropped dark green outfield but think that green wickets may be the work of the devil (unless he is a superannuated seamer whose sole remaining pleasure in life is to see the length ball cut, zip and spit past an astonished batter).  

To the cricketer, water invariably comes in the wrong amounts at the wrong time and in the wrong places.  A drying wicket is a sticky wicket or a sticky dog where even the most gentle bowling attack will deliver a toxic mixture of hand grenades, Molotov cocktails and nuclear warheads.  Under the Geneva convention, Test cricketers are protected nowadays from such experiences but the higher skill levels of the lower league player mean that they can expect to encounter sticky dogs regularly.  

Loch Ness -
the outfield is a little damp
Rain stopped play is one of the first phrases that cricketers learn. While Test cricketers will retreat to the pavilion at the merest spit, the lower league cricketer is a hardier creature and will only grudgingly seek shelter when the deluge causes the wicket to resemble no man’s land at Ypres and arks can be seen to be under construction on the higher ground beyond the fine leg boundary. 

There are then interesting discussions, ‘We’ll have tea (see!) and give it half an hour.’  How long does half an hour have to be if you were 48* when you came off?  If the sun streaks through the clouds at minute 29, is the half hour deemed to start again? Half an hour in these circumstances becomes an interesting philosophical concept and has challenged conventional explanations of the space time continuum.

Hi Tech covers -
aloow spectators to watch
the grass grow during interruptions
Fantasy Bob will only mention that it is due to water that the statistical torture of the DL method has been devised.  He will then pass on.  But water has led to other important technological developments.  Cricket covers started in modest fashion when Walter Raleigh graciously laid his cloak down to keep the rain off Elizabeth I’s footholds.  Since then covers have taken all manner of shapes and forms culminating the space age Brumbrella and the squeegee tractors.  Drainage has reached a high level too, with the system at Lords reported to dry quicker than the rain falls, so the outfield ends up drier after a shower than it was before.

Why, you may ask, is Fantasy Bob rabbiting on about water?  Because today he is facing his own water torture striding the links at Barrassie Golf club in the WaterAid pro-am.    This event will raise several tens of thousand pounds for this excellent charity.  It is a small price therefore for FB to pay to undergo the unique first tee embarrassment of seeing his intended booming drive foozle ten yards into the rough in front of him.  It is a small price also to pay to accept that that first shot was of monster length compared to the second shot………and the third shot as the distance  travelled by each shot halves  in some weird parody of Zeno’s paradox.  FB has read a lot of fairly useless golfing manuals in which the concept of visualising the shot you are about to play is central.  See the shot and let it happen.  Well, FB feels pretty good on the visualisation front but the results suggest that maybe he should have gone to SpecSavers.

Anyway, FB will be donating golf balls to the membership of Barrassie and exploring hitherto undiscovered corners of the course as part of making a small contribution to the work of this charity. 

Almost 1 billion people have no access to safe water supplies.  Each day 4000 children in the world die from drinking dirty water.  Over 1 billion people have no sanitation facilities – a figure that is growing as more and more people in the developing world are drawn to the cities and find themselves in slums and shanty towns with no sanitation.  WaterAid's work across the world makes a life saving difference to these people.

For cricketers, water can be an inconvenience.  They do not know their luck. 




  1. Well said............and I trust that FB managed to avoid water at the 4th and 13th.

  2. Many thanks - water miraculously and successfully avoided not so several gorse bushes.