Monday, 3 October 2011

Sticks and running

Sticks - which end is right?
It may be that Fantasy Bob has got the wrong end of the stick here.  That in itself is not an usual event.  In his defence however, he will say that many sticks have 2 ends identical in all respects so getting the right end can be a challenge.  Few have identifying marks such as a sign saying 'Right end - specially designed for holding' or 'Wrong end - in no circumstances to be touched.'    Sticks do not tend to be helpful by nature.  Why the Health and Safety Executive have not addressed this everyday danger verges on a national scandal.  Risk is all around. So, as he says, FB may well have the wrong end.

He sees that running is now banned in cricket.  By fiat of the ICC, themselves on occasion a fine body of wrong-end-of-the-stick-grabbers.  FB can only applaud this ban since he gave up running in cricket many years ago and is glad to note that once again his example is being held up to others.  Usually it is held up as an example to ridicule.  But this time it seems different.

At least FB did at one time run.- it was one of the skills of the game that he had mastered at an early age.   Indeed it was the only skill that he ever came close to mastering.  Running in the field, running between the wickets, running in to bowl, running to the toilet there seemed so many opportunities to show off his skills and team mates got tired of his endless showing off in the running department.  On occasion, in the deep and distant past, FB was selected for additional running in the course of a game ie he was instructed to run for an injured team mate.   He always approached this honour with a sense of adventure. 

And in lower league cricket the presence of runners adds to the wonder and enjoyment of the game for all involved.  With just one runner involved amusement is always possible - all 3 batting calls  Yes No Wait - are all heard simultaneously in a manner similar to a Greek chorus in ancient drama telling Oedipus that maybe that women he is about to jump into bed with has a past he should investigate first.

When shall we three meet again
- never, we've been outlawed
But when both batters have collapsed in exhaustion with crippled hamstrings, tendonitis, dislocated kneecaps, and shin splints so that 2 runners have to be engaged the fun can truly begin.  When there are just 2 batsmen the probability of them  ending up at the same end is rare - historians reckon it is less than 1%.  But with 4 personnel involved the probability of all 4 finding themselves at the same end with the same look of exasperation increases to 100%.  FB thinks that the ICC are correct to stop running in international cricket - after all professional sports people should be able to last a 20 over match without suffering cramp but the have not gone far enough in lower league cricket.  In lower league cricket runners should be made compulsory.

FB suggests that this would be wholly consistent with the recent legislative change in the UK which means that the default retirement age has been fully abolished.  New legislation stops employers from compulsorily retiring players once they reach the age of 65. The charity Age UK welcomed the legislation but said age discrimination was still prevalent - older batsmen are still encouraged to take quick singles.   This is unacceptable - FB's proposal to make runners compulsory would address this shocking position.

Or is FB firmly grabbing yet another stick at the unlabelled wrong end?

1 comment:

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