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Tony

Then in the next over off Cummings Hungry Jaques drops Cowan.

I'mseeingitaswellasIeverwas

Punter has entered that delusional'I'm playing well in the nets zone.

He hasn't missed that much cricket. He hasn't missed any test cricket in the past 4 years apart from the Sydney test.

I'mseeingitaswellasIeverwas

Fantastic psychological declaration from Kat and the bowlers did what was asked.

Hughes has dropped the match... twice.

Hangover Black

Team changes for QF?

Crazy is troubling no one. How about Dussey for crazy? Then Duss, Pup, Smithy and watto need to share 20 overs between them.

Lou

Team changes?

Shane Warne in? Go back in time and get Ashley Mallet?

Drag Boof Lehman and Damien Martyn out of retirement, they'd still be able to play spin better than most of our current lot.

m0nty

Gnome B.N. should get off his bony little arse and pad up. Make himself useful for once.

Tony

Oddly enough (very oddly) I can see us beating India in the quarter final. They have home town flop written all over them - if we can take our chances.

I'mseeingitaswellasIeverwas

Watson has to make a score then we are in with a chance. If he gets out early, it's goodnight as Punter's attitude will be to get himself runs regardless of how slow they come.

We need Watson to make a big score and Punter to get out cheaply.

Nick

Tigers have done ok without Ponting. Just sayin'.


Cosgrove might get in the team through sheer weight (of runs).

David Barry

Is Cosgrove actually a good first slip or do they just put him there so he doesn't have to run? He doesn't usually field in the 12-a-side 45-over games, so he must be a pretty terrible fielder generally.

Big Ramifications

Is Cosgrove actually a good first slip or do they just put him there so he doesn't have to run? He doesn't usually field in the 12-a-side 45-over games, so he must be a pretty terrible fielder generally.

He might be a top notch fielder who kicks everyone's ass at ping pong, too. I've known a few extremely talented fatty boombahs who have refused to "try" to varying degrees. Including chucking in a WAFL-possibly-AFL career after one season in favour of cakes and ale.

Digressing badly... But due to Cosgrove being a lazy fat fark who refuses to lose weight, he has permanent dibs on sitting out the fielding because everyone's afraid that attitude might manifest itself on the field, say if he's in a bad mood or nursing a giant hangover.

Sorta like chaos theory where macro patterns of behaviour look similar to micro patterns. Or maybe not.

And even if that wasn't the case, I guess the strategy would be to rest the biggest lard arse anyway. [Tubby Taylor was the last otherwise-useless ODI slips specialist... and boy didn't he bow out ungraciously. Anyone think of a more recent Aussie?]

Not having a go, David, just airing some possibilities, with my usual level of crass overstatement.

Yobbo

Being that size doesn't really make much difference to fielding ability, you'd probably keep him inside the circle just because he's probably not the quickest over 40m in the team.

Russ

On numbers and experience (4/5 years of county?), Cosgrove should be in the side. Haven't paid attention to him fielding so can't comment on that, but his raw numbers don't indicate someone who takes a lot of catches. That said, you can normally tell if a player has the skills regardless of size. There is a guy down where I play basketball that can barely run the court, but his footwork, vision and hands are all top notch. Does anyone who has watched have any comments on Cosgrove's slips technique?

Big Ramifications

I like Cossie coz of his poo smearing adventures at the cricket academy.

Big Ramifications

Is "specialist slips fielder" a wank term anyway? I reckon most of the players in top ranking teams have the reflexes and coordination to ably field in the slips. There'd only be a couple of dopey fast bowlers that would concern me.

For argument's sake, I'll say 10 players per 12 man team have the reflexes and coordination required to field in the slips.

I've often wondered if becoming a "slips specialist" is simply a matter of right place, right time, becoming the difficult-to-remove incumbent, and therefore getting lots of practice, rather than being the best. I get a bit of a chuckle at the frequency of Arthur Daley types who seem to weasel their way into the cordon.

The slips cordon also reeks of a seniority-based Kool Kids' Klub. This further makes me wonder how "special" they really are. Who chooses them? If I was in charge I'd test every player. Something like 50 balls mercilessly pegged at a slips cradle by a bowling machine, but also mimicking real life by somehow introducing the elements of concentration and surprise. But I'll bet my bottom dollar most coaches would be too gutless to meddle with the Kool Kids' Klub. "SPECIALISTS! Ooga booga! SPECIALISTS!"

Obviously there's reasons for excluding most bowlers from the cordon [as an aside, are these reasons sound, or just received wisdom that's never been questioned?] but, for example, I have no problem believing Brett Lee could have been a damn fine specialist 1st slip.

Tony

The usual line about speedsters in slips is that they should not field there because they need to be "on" mentally when they should be "off" and resting up for their next over. Never bothered Ian Botham, who was a fine slipper, but as a rule speedsters field in out of the way to allow them to get their shit together.

Tony

Odd the number of times I see footage of Cozzy going arse over tit. I can only put it down to the broadcaster's love of a fat man falling over, which is, as I am sure you are all aware, the true essence of humour.

Professor Rosseforp

I think fast bowlers are often put in the outfield because of strong throwing arms and the ability to run quickly all day in short bursts. Plus, I think they don't think quickly enough when sent out to the deep. They just obey orders and then suddenly think "Gronk not with other men. Gronk alone. Gronk sad." Fred Trueman was canny enough to be labelled "specialist leg slip fielder", even more exclusive than slip fielder.
I think there is a serious reason, too, that I have probably enumerated many times. Most good batsmen are pretty good at other sports, whether hockey or snooker or footie of various codes. They are usually adequate bowlers who had to choose between batting and bowling, and could develop into good bowlers with practice. In fact many even had a choice of sports to play at elite level. Most of them would do okay at wicket-keeping. They have reflexes and respond quickly. Many bowlers are not natural sportsmen. Bowling is a "splinter skill" that can be taught if you practise often enough. I am a crap sportsman, but can bowl reasonably because I spent many afternoons in the back garden, or at the nets, bowling a variety of deliveries at orange crates or stumps. I can spin the ball both ways, occasionally swing it, and bowl a deceptive slower ball when bowling at medium pace -- not because of any natural ability. If you've bowled the ball just outside the off stump on a full length 5,000 times, you can do it on demand. But, you wouldn't put me on the field let alone in slips, if you had a choice, because I cannot react, and in my limited playing days, rarely took a catch on offer. I can see exactly what a bowler is doing when I'm batting but am virtually incapable of laying bat on ball in spite of that. I'm an extreme example, but I see the same limitations in many top class bowlers.

Russ

Prof, I'd throw another idea forward. The specialist slip is normally a batsman who doesn't bowl (read: lazy f**k) who by virtue of only having to come down for a 5 minutes net at training, spends the rest of the time taking slips catches until they are acceptably ensconced in the position.

You don't really want to be hiding test players in the slips though. It is not fours cricket, where everyone in slip is generally old or slow, and most times you have more slip-fielders than slip-positions to put them in. Our slips catching has been bad enough as it is without the ball skidding through the legs of some bloke who can't bend his knees.

m0nty

Fat men falling into sewers is the epitome of comedy.

Professor Rosseforp

Good comments, Russ.
As an example of my ability, I sustained a broken cheek in the nets during practice, as a result of a bouncer -- I bowled the bouncer. A guy hit it back at me. The coach's instructions came back to me, "Get your eye behind the ball" -- which of course doesn't actually mean what it says. But anyone who is thinking rather than reacting shouldn't be trying to catch a ball hit at them. So I got my eye behind the ball, hands clamped together (fractionally AFTER the ball went through) and WHOOMP! Luckily I turned my head at the last minute and copped it in the right [facial] cheek.

Big Ramifications

Yeah, I can see your point re: batsmen's reflexes having cross over value in the slips cordon. But on the other hand... all modern day bowlers train their asses off when it comes to batting. Surely that would keep them somewhat honed. And if they [possibly] lack reflexes then maybe they have superior catching skills? And look at exceptions to the rule like Botham [mentioned by big Tones] and Warnie. Other bowlers haven't had a chance to prove themselves as exceptions simply thru lack of opportunity. Lanky John Eales used to take conversion kicks for the Wallabies, for chrissakes. Erm. Wut?

Just thowin' it out there. I haven't got a dog in this race.

Cricinfo has the top 58 slips fielders listed. Annoyingly ranked by total catches, of course. "Catches per innings" is the real stat when it comes to a list like this.

So I tried to get clever and cull the guys who spent plenty of time fielding elsewhere. Quite a few players are on the list just by sheer weight of games played, with fairly unimpressive "catches per innings" ratios. I came up with this list:

Yobbo

Stuart Clark is a good example of a guy who was probably shit at every other sport he tried. In general the types of players Prof is talking about are easy to spot though, they are the ones that average between 0 and 1 in test cricket - Alan Mullaly, Courtney Walsh, Chris Martin, Glenn McGrath, etc. You wouldn't field those guys in slips.

Fast bowling (unlike most ball sports) doesn't require any hand-eye co-ordination. Just practice (and being over 6'2").

Big Ramifications

But it's all a load of bollocks, isn't it? Unless they've fielded in exactly the same positions in the same frequencies throughout their careers.

eg. The difference in "catches per innings" for a 1st slip specialist will be vastly different to that of a 2nd slip specialist. The "catches : dropped catches" ratio is what we really want.

Bobby Simpson looks like the real McCoy, however. The only one more than 2 standard deviations from the mean.

Russ

Good numbers biggy. One I can't see there (too few catches yet) but I remember seeing when I did numbers on that one time is Ross Taylor. Fabulous slip fieldsman: 52 catches in 30 games.

I'mseeingitaswellasIeverwas

Freddy was a cracking slipsman good with spin or speed.

Clarke is good with spin, duff with speed.

The poms sometimes put Anderson in 3rd slip, just because he's one of those bowlers who is a fine fielder.

Lee probably would have been equally good. Johnson, for all his athleticism is such a space cadet, I imagine he'd been a complete goon in there.

Kallis is a bastard, can bat, bowl and is a quite brilliant slips fielder.

Russ

Freddy (and I suspect Botham and Grieg fit this category too) had the advantage of having hands like buckets. The best slips catchers at my club generally did too; it just makes it so much easier.

Well at least I'm guessing it does, one of my many nicknames was "thimbles". I usually ended up in slips by accident.

How good a slip was Alderman? Or was he mostly there because he couldn't throw?

Tony

Tony Grieg was a top notch slipper.

Another one that puzzles me is the distinction between slippers and gully/point. Some blokes are guns in one/two/three, but unco knuckle heads in gully/point and vice versa. It's probably an issue in our grades and less of a problem in the higher levels, but Michael Clarke seems to handle the wide slots, but looks less comfortable in the close cordon. (Not that he doesn't grass the odd sitter at point.) Maybe also some fielders prefer the ball coming straight to them like it does in one/two/three, but when the ball shoots to gully/point it has spin and swerve and they misjudge its trajectory.

Russ

Speaking personally, I hated having the ball come to me (mid-on/mid-off/square-leg/batting) especially because I'm very slightly short-sighted and I pick the ball up late (sadly I found this out well after it would have made any difference). Gully/point/covers you can read the angle of the bat and anticipate the collision. Slips were okay though, because you had time to pick it up. It was mostly about staying low, not clutching at the ball, and staying focused.

I wonder when Ponting last had his eyes checked properly (not just reading a wall-chart). He bats like someone who isn't picking the ball up early (thrusting onto the front foot down the wrong line), and frequently misjudges the depth of slips catches.

Yobbo

Gully/Point is more about reaction/concentration whereas slips is more about having good eyesight, because it's much more difficult to judge the path of the ball that only deviates slightly than it is to judge the balls that come to you in gully/point which have deviated much more obviously.

Professor Rosseforp

Biggers: "all modern day bowlers train their asses off when it comes to batting" -- they would be better off working on their bowling or their long throws from the boundary. Obviously guys like Alan Davidson, Keith Miller, Botham, etc have hand-eye coordination that can be adapted to multiple sports. For the dud batsmen, the training does pay off occasionally, and probably McGrath was the best example of using the forward defensive prod effectively. But for every match-saving innings, most of these guys are knocked over within half a dozen balls, because a quality bowler can see straight away that they can't see a yorker, or can't pick a topspinner or whatever. Playing at the local park, these guys (including me) might get lucky, but in a grade, shield or test matches, their reflexes simply cannot cope with a bowler who knows they have no reflexes.
Good slips catching list. Simpson was a phenomenon, better than Taylor/Chappell/Waugh in my view. I don't remember seeing Ashley Mallett in slips, but he was an automatic selection at gully where he pulled off some great catches. One surprise slips omission was Colin Cowdrey -- did he rate in your list? Personally, I thought he was fantastic on the basis of one catch I saw where he took the ball in flight, popped it into his pocket, then stared at the boundary as if it had gone for 4, leaving the batsman totally bewildered. But maybe his stats don't match the impression.

Tony

Prof, the instant you mentioned Cowdrey I started thinking about one of my very early cricket memories which was Cowdrey putting the ball in his pocket after a catch in the 1970/71 Ashes. Pretty sure it fooled the commentators, who did not know where the ball went, but as I was only nine I could well be mistaken.

Then you mentioned the incident, so at least I am not the only one who remembers the catch. If it is the same catch, that is. I looked up the Crooky series archive and Cowdrey took two catches that summer: one off Jenner; one off Gleeson. I have a hunch it was Jenner. Was Cowdrey particularly noted for pocketing the ball? Maybe he had a pocket full of sand, or dirt, or crushed class, or emery boards.

Professor Rosseforp

I only saw Cowdrey do it once, and I thought it may have been in an MCC vs state match (which were sometimes broadcast if memory serves me correctly) -- however, I defer to your research, as misrememories have been discussed before.
I just thought that the concept of taking a slips catch is phenomenal enough in itself, but to be cool enough to pocket the ball in one action showed a set of reflexes beyond those of mortal men.

m0nty

Funny how that works. If KP or Pies had pulled a stunt like that over the summer, we would have chorused that he was just being a smartarse.

Big Ramifications

News just in: Uncoordinated people with shit reflexes generally DON'T STICK WITH BALL SPORTS.

I'm sorta picking up a "shit reflexes: bowler, good reflexes: batsmen" vibe when it comes to school kiddies finding their niche. I think there's a whole crapload of self selection before we get to that point. Try "shit reflexes: cross country running, good reflexes: cricket."

I genuinely believe that a huge majority of fast bowlers - if they have remained in the sport and we're getting to 1st XI, junior State rep selection stage - have the ability to field in slips, had they not been pigeonholed at, say, aged 15.

The ONE valid reason I'd keep them out of the slips would be to protect their hands and fingers. Warnie fielding in slips was absolute insanity, IMO. Talk about sticking your bare ass out of fast moving train.

But that has nothing to do with reflexes and skill.

Professor Rosseforp

Biggers, I gave more thought to this over the weekend -- sad admission -- and I think that stationary ball sports like golf and snooker may be okay for the kinesthetically-challenged like myself, although golf is possibly the most boring ball sport ever.
I agree that batsmen do claim slips positions as some sort of divine right. It's a tradition, and most batsmen think they should be batting at number 3, and are happy to talk themselves up the order. How many times have you seen a guy join a local park side, claim to be a batsman, and 5 minutes later he's in the slips giving advice to the captain or advising the keeper to move a step closer. The poor bloody idiots who have spent 15 years on the boundary are still there, and still going in to bat at number 10. I've never seen a captain say, "Let's try you at number 8 this week, and see how you go", as the new guy has already pencilled himself in at number 4. Most batsmen also believe they should be the next captain, whereas most bowlers haven't thought of it much.

Big Ramifications

Biggers, I gave more thought to this over the weekend -- sad admission

Ditto... and ditto!

Lou

Those with shit reflexes also end up as swimmers.

Ian Thorpe said that he has no co-ordination at all at any other sport.

Big Ramifications

Yeah I know a gun swimmer who, for example, if ya got him to bowl an over he'd probably land two off the carpet, three wides, and a pie. Complete mung bean.

I've played a bit of J grade (or was it L grade?) and I was pleasantly surprised by how many hatstands play on well into adulthood. You'd average 2 or 3 per team... severely deficient hand eye coordination.

I played with one bloke, short skinny little Italian fella, who would be sh!tting his pants every delivery he faced, shi!tting his pants in the field every time the ball got hit to him. He spent the entire time petrified. Why would ya put yourself thru that each week? ;)

Think: Phil Tufnell being surrounded by angry dogs. And more unco.

Russ

Biggy, how many kids did he have?

More seriously, cricket is one of the few team sports where you can play and be seriously bad at it, but still contribute occasionally without damaging the team. That even seems to be one of the main selling points for this bloke. And good luck to him.

Prof, there is one exception to the batting rule: opening. Noone wants to do it at the lower levels. I had a captain, who, on the back of me going 5 months without being dismissed batting at 10 threw me to the wolves up the order.

If some bloke's mate rocks up saying he can bat at 4 you are kind-of obliged to put him in the top-6. If you get rolled for 80 and he makes a classy 20 not out from number 8 before getting stranded you'll curse yourself. If he gets out for a duck at 4, then so be it. There is a great passage in Marcus Berkmann's "Rain Men" about unknown players who say they "bowl a bit". Never trust them, he says, it could mean anything from being unable to hit the pitch to having recently bowled out a state side in Australia. Either way a captain invariably puts them on at first change.

Big Ramifications

"I've played a bit of J grade (or was it L grade?) and I was pleasantly surprised by how many hatstands play on well into adulthood. You'd average 2 or 3 per team... severely deficient hand eye coordination."

Bah. May as well call myself out.

Notice that completely contradicts what I said about uncoordinated people giving up on ball sports? That's why I was surprised when I started playing scrubber grade cricket after a thousand seasons of A/B grade indoor cricket.

Sport was compulsory at my school [super duper compulsory - eg. a pommie kid the year below me got expelled quushed because he wanted to play club soccer and not school soccer]. 4th XI and 5th XI cricket was the summer sport of choice for mung beans, and you could just tell they were counting down the days to graduation when they could chuck in sport for evarr. It seems some of those types had a change of heart in their 20s and 30s.

Interesting related story... A kid in my year thought he could get out of swimming when it came around as part of our phys ed program. Our hard-but-fair phys ed teacher was having none of it.

Non swimmer? Down the shallow end, pal. Numerous notes from mummy? Too bad. Note from the doctor? No dice! Forgot your swimming gear? Reg Grundies. I think he managed to weasel out of it for 1 or 2 weeks by simply not showing up and copping a Saturday detention.

But finally D Day arrived. In his Reg Grundies, which was a nice touch.

Now I've only seen 3 or so dinkum "panic attacks" in real life, and this guy's remains the best. He was a quivering, power chundering, crying mess after wading one width of the pool. We were all looking forward to it at the start of class, but we certainly weren't expecting that. The whole class watched in awe and silent pity. Good old teach made him do a couple more widths, but!

Same thing happened next week, and our hard-but-fair teacher soon decided this was a most unusual case, and let him get away with library detention for the rest of the swimming part of the syllabus. He's the only kid in my 8 years of that school who got out of sport [albeit phys ed, not proper school sport].

Interesting related footnote...... He came "out" not long after graduation, then he came a bit too out, got into a bit of strife with the law. Underage boys, if you get my drift.

Tony

When in court, did he blame the swimming teacher?

Tony

I went to a posh grammar school in Melbourne (you're with me there, right?) and I continually bump into old school mates who are all "yeah, me gay, got heaps of action at school; so, how about those mighty Demons" like I am the world's biggest imbo because I never knew. I tells ya: I must have day-dreamed all the way through school with me head up my ar... umm, yeah.

Professor Rosseforp

Flashback to discussion on uncoordinated fast bowlers: Nathan Bracken eliminated from Dancing with the stars. I rest my case, m'lud.

Professor Rosseforp

Biggers, on getting out of sport. I know a guy who was excused from playing union at a Sydney private school where EVERYBODY always played union, forever. From primary school he had made it clear that he thought the game was ridiculous if everybody threw themselves on top of each other in the dirt, and he was simply having no part of it.
On swimming, your description of the guy in the pool is actually how I was taught to swim at school -- although I had my cossies.

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