Sachin’s Progress and the Deep Point Fielder

12 10 2010

Sachin’s Brilliance and How The Match Stands

It is with some surprise that we have turned on the cricket this morning to see that Sachin Tendulkar is not batting anymore. As we (sort of) predicted yesterday, Tendulkar went on to score his  49th test hundred in a manner that must have been reminiscent of Sir Donald Bradman batting. There was such an air of sheer inevitability about it that you got the feeling, no matter what the Australians tried, Tendulkar was going to get there.  That he passed 200 before being dismissed is almost by the by because of course he did – its Sachin Tendulkar!

It is true that the pitch is flat, that the Australian attack is quite raw and that Hauritz is hardly a scary prospect – yet this was still an innings under pressure and crucial to the Indian cause. Without forgetting Vijay’s contribution it is fair to say that had Tendulkar failed then the Australians would in all likelihood be on top in this match giving this innings added significance. Eventually out this morning to a full swinging delivery from the gangly Peter George, inside edging it onto his stumps, Tendulkar walked off safe in the knowledge that India’s position in this match is probably safe. With Australia’s bowling so nullified in this first innings; the only way we can see a positive result is if the Aussies collapse in their up coming second innings leaving India to chase a small target tomorrow.

Being  neutral spectators, the Compulsive Hooker has been ever so slightly torn with regard to who we would like to see winning these test matches. A surprising state of affairs you might think given the traditional rivalry between Australia and England – but finally, 8 days in to the series, we have seen sense (some people might say) and come down in support of the Indians. Being English we are always natural fans of the underdog – in this series the Australians – but this has been forgetting the upcoming Ashes series which is now only a little over a month away. Essentially we would rather face an Australian side who are on a losing streak rather than a confident and bombastic outfit akin to the Aussie side of 2006/7 so, with that in mind, we hope Zaheer takes six wickets and the Indians have won by tea tomorrow.

That we have been engrossed in this series to the extent we have temporarily forgotten the Ashes is a huge compliment to the teams involved and yet again demonstrates the ridiculousness of two test series. From an Australian point of view however, the longer this series goes on the more apparent are the limitations of this Australian team, and so perhaps, they will only be too pleased to move onto the three one dayers planned to follow this – a format in which they are a deservingly number one ranked side.

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Deep Point Fielders

Something that is really beginning to get to us here at the Compulsive Hooker is the use of deep point fielders throughout the innings. For those of you less ‘au fait’ with the names given to fielding positions the term ‘deep point’ denotes a man standing on the boundary square of the wicket on the off side. Whilst this is obviously not a new position, the way this position is used is relatively so. These days it is a common sight, no matter what type of conditions, to see the man out there from ball one and hardly move for the rest of the game whereas, in the past, it would have been more commonly used as a run saving measure when a batsman is particularly well set.

Purely a defensive position designed to stop batsman scoring quickly on the square drive or square cut shots it provides a handy release valve for a batsman tied down by a particular bowler. By placing the man on the fence you inevitably concede a single or more every time the ball is hit square of the wicket – something that usually happens at least once an over.

Now we appreciate that the level of personal cricketing experience we have is little more than garden cricket but it strikes us as setting a field for a bad ball – something we have always been taught is an anathema to cricket captaincy. Perhaps there is a whole host of research that shows by using deep point in this way you actually save more boundaries than runs conceded in singles but we haven’t heard of it or seen it.

Call us old fashioned perhaps, but we would like to see that man brought in to a more standard backward point position which, as well as giving the fielding team a chance of a catch, prevents these singles and enables the build up of pressure. As we write Australia are 44-0 in 8.3 overs with the majority of these runs having come to that man on the boundary. Seriously – it all seems too easy. Test cricket is an attacking game by definition where taking 20 wickets more cheaply than the opposition  is key to winning the game – by putting the man out there (and in India’s case in this innings only bowling with one wide slip as well) you are forgetting the central tenets of the game.

We know we’re not alone in this as it is something that the Test Match Special commentators in particular frequently get irritated over – yet somehow it persists. Does anyone know of any particular research that backs the use of this fielder up or is it simply yet another cricketing fashion that will die out in years to come?

 

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2 responses

12 10 2010
James Parrett

Personally, i’m more a fan of the fly slip than the deep cover.

12 10 2010
Bradders

Good position that one!

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