Sunday, 15 July 2012


KP - not retiring after all?
Retirement is one of those interesting concepts.  Most people assume Fantasy Bob has retired - particularly his colleagues who welcome him into his office every morning.  They know he needs somewhere warm and dry to sit and do not grudge him that.  They will occasionally wake him should there be a fire alarm, but otherwise are content to leave him harmlessly snoozing.  Retirement might be considerably more stressful.

Even on the cricket field, long lost adversaries assume that FB has come out of retirement for the very special occasion of combating them one last time.  Indeed some of them assume that he has returned to the land of the living from beyond the Styx.  FB is too polite to correct them.

Being a game precisely based on life, cricket makes explicit provision for retirement. Indeed FB believes that cricket is the only game to describe retirement in its laws.
Retirement in cricket is governed by Law 2.9.  Like all cricket's laws it is a thing of beauty and poetry.  A batsman can retire due to illness or injury or some other unavoidable reason.  He must inform the umpire.  If he is ill or injured he can resume at the fall of a wicket, the opposition have no say.  If he retires for some other reason - there is no specification as to how valid or credible these have to be - only unavoidable he may return only at the fall of a wicket, but on this occasion the opposition have to agree.  The law also makes all manner of provision for these events being written down by umpire, by scorer and by anyone else with a pen or notebook handy.

FB thinks that it will not be long before the concept of partial retirement is introduced.  Indeed it is a surprise that there is not a Euro Directive requiring the administrators of the game to do so already.  In partial retirement a batsman would face only half the balls in an over and take his - or her - ease for the rest of the over.  They would supplement the runs they make by drawing on the runs in the pension pot that they have accumulated over their batting life.  Regrettably in the current economic circumstances younger batsmen are going to have to bat lots more overs before they can retire.  It is an ill divided world.

Jayawardene congratulates
Atapattu's 200 - you're hooked buddy
To return to the laws, where the fielding side decline to consent to the batsman's return from his unavoidable interruption, he is deemed retired out. In many bounce games and junior games players are retired to ensure as many as possible get a bat. But there have only been two instances in the history of Test cricket where batsmen have been retired out - and both were in the same match. Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene were both hooked in Sri Lnaka's crushing victory over Bangladesh in September 2001. Atapattu had made 201 and Jayawardene 150. Sri Lanka declared on 555 for 5.

So in the light of all this, what kind of retirement had Kevin Pietersen in mind when he announced his retirement from one day cricket earlier this summer?  Was it for some unavoidable reason? Whatever was behind it, he clearly has got the part of the law about being allowed to return to the field to resume his innings if recent interviews are anything to go by.

Indeed it is with some excitement that Fantasy Bob reads that Pietersen says that he 'would love to play another three or four years in all forms of cricket.'  All forms of cricket.  FB has taken him at his word and has texted KP to invite him to join the ranks of the All Star Carlton Fourth XI.  A form of cricket that KP may yet have to experience.  Such a widening of KP's experience could be a way out of a dilemma for the ECB who did not specify whether KP was retiring hurt or was retired out.  How will they react?  FB expects to see KP in the World T20 side - but only after he has scored a few for FB.


  1. I think the scorecard probably read - Kevin Pietersen.......... retired, hurt feelings.

    1. Yes the physio has been busy practising ego massage. Big challenge for him against SA - they can get under his skin. The physio could be busy.