12 July 2009

The test match format is a stupid anachronism

Right, here's Hal Berstram getting back to what was once his primary assignment - the sports desk - with probably the only post I'll ever make about cricket.

The first test in the 2009 Ashes series - in Cardiff - has just finished. The result was a draw.

An exciting ending, with Monty Panesar and James Anderson hanging on until the end of the day with England on 9 wickets down...

...but also a travesty. Because Australia were much better than England and deserved to win.

So why didn't they win? The bleeding weather.

Any fool can draw a game where a substantial proportion of the playing time is lost to bad weather. It's absolutely ludicrous that test cricket was designed so that the unpredictabilities of the British weather played a key role in the process.

You might as well say that if the rain comes down at Wimbledon, the championship is "drawn" for that year - don't bother to reschedule the lost playing time, just give up on the whole thing. Or if a football match gets postponed due to bad weather in the Premiership - just draw it and give the teams one point each.

Sounds ludicrous - and it is. But this happens every year in test cricket.

I don't particularly like cricket anyway, but at least the one-day game gives a result (even if play has to be abandoned due to rain, they have a nifty thing called the Duckworth-Lewis method - sounds a bit like a dodgy form of contraception, but is in fact an algorithm designed to impute the winners from a partially completed match. Clever stuff.)

It would actually be fairly simple to change the test match format to guarantee a result; either play as many extra days as necessary until both sides have completed 2 innings (or, often more likely in England's case, they've gone down to an innings defeat) or play the bloody game under a stadium where they can close the roof if it rains. Given the crappy British weather you'd have thought someone would have sussed this out.

But of course cricket, like most sports in this country, is run by morons, and so the idiocy persists. Please someone knock me out with the cricket ball until it's all over. ZZZZZZ....


Chris Brooke said...

Sure, there are Test Matches ruined by the weather - but this wasn't one of them. Australia lost because they batted for a ridiculously long time on Saturday, moving on at 3-4 runs per over. They knew what the forecast was (and, in the end, the match was *less* disrupted by rain than a lot of people expected it to be), and by giving themselves fewer than four sessions to get England out in the second innings, they were making a huge gamble that the English batsmen would be incompetent all the way down the line-up (rather than just the top four, as actually happened).

red two said...

i don't care

giroscoper said...

Don't worry - as indicated in the post, this will probably be a one-off - this sure as hell ain't no cricket blog.