Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dhoni must be right

England's new ODI strip
So England in India are turning nasty.  The children in the nursery are not being nice.
 Dernbach badmouths Kieswetter who in his turn  has been giving stick to the batsmen while forgetting to run them out or catch them.  Swann has been rubbishing the efforts of all his team mates as they struggle to keep up with his tweets and Bresnan is fined for dissent to the umpire (although legal eagles suggest that his real offence was cap abuse).  And Stuart Broad is not even there!

Children children - let's have some quiet time.  Let's have some juice and a biscuit.   Let's all sit down and be nice again.   Or else you'll all be on the naughty step.  And we don't want that do we?

Even MS Dhoni, newly appointed as sledging advisor to the England party, thinks the aggro may have gone a bit far.  Why should he worry?   It's been splendidly unproductive.  Intimidatory tactics are after all only intimidatory when those being intimidated are intimidated.  When they find it all risible, as MS Dhoni obviously does, then there is no point. 

Real intimidation
And all this snarling is faintly ridiculous.  FB speaks from experience.  Many a time he has taken his guard in lower league cricket to see the bowler at the opposite end welcome him with a snarl.  This is the bowler who thinks he needs to impress himself on FB as batsman.  He will follow through in that starey eyed fashion, frequently arriving beside FB in the crease before the ball he has bowled.  After clarifying for the agitated bowler the marital status of his own parents, FB is able at leisure to dispatch that ball to the most convenient boundary.  With any luck he will strike it near enough a slumbering fielder who, had he been 20 feet tall and possessed of spring heels and extendable arms, could have parried the ball and saved at least one run.  For his failing in stature and prosthetics, the fielder will be roundly abused by the bowler as conspiring with FB, and the Fates generally against him.  Rather than try harder next time the fielder will wander into the furthest part of the field and at the end of the over feign career threatening injury to knee or hamstring.  Such is the motivational power of Mr Angry the bowler.  Our snarly bowler forgets that the fielders cannot be held responsible for bowling a half volley.

Intimidation only works if there is a bit of anxiety in the batsman about what might actually come next - when Curtly Ambrose gave the stare, there was genuine cause for anxiety that the next ball would be life threatening - and there were no verbals (not that FB speaks from experience on this point he is glad to say).  But Dernbach? Bresnan?  They don't quite do it.  Petulance can never be menace.  So give it up and just put the ball in the right place.

Not to be imitated
All this snarly stuff just seems in imitation of Wayne Rooney and his elegant fly hacking of Montenegrans.  One thing cricket and cricketers have going for them is that they are not footballers with those endlessly childish attitudes.  Let's leave it that way. So Dhoni must be right - a bit less on the lips please a bit more in the slips.

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