WBBL thoughts (2) — is the 23m fielding ring too small?

I watched quite a bit of this year’s WBBL, and a question kept coming up.

The off-side field is packed, but the ball keeps getting hit through to the cover boundary. Why aren’t the fielders stopping the ball?

Are the batters really striking the ball so well, or are the fielders too close to the bat to react, and often too close to each other to move laterally.

I am told, by Raf Nicholson (who knows about this sort of thing), that the fielding circle is currently the same ratio of circle to minimum boundary size for the men and the women (55%).

So 23m it is.

But is this too close?

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WBBL thoughts (1) — what a final; what a wonderful advert for the game!

I have enjoyed watching the WBBL, on BT Sport, over the autumn. Mostly the highlights packages, but I did catch the 2nd semi-final live, and the final on Saturday.

What a fantastic game of cricket.

No, I don’t think the Stars batted especially badly, or that the pitch, or the ball, misbehaved.

Yes, the new ball did swing and bounce, but not excessively…I thought it was meant to do a bit. Or should we give the bowlers a bowling machine ball to bowl with, or a baseball, and have them learn to swerve and curve. (A discussion for another post.)

Most certainly not a “disappointment”, as I have seen the game described.

It’s good to see bowlers winning matches (IMO, and writing as a bowler myself). This just might inspire a youngster to want to be a quick bowler, or a spinner, or a cunning, calculating, pace-changing medium pacer.

Who’d put in the hard yards to be a bowler when you are only in the game to feed the batters’ more outrageous hitting?

So — WBBL a great advert for the women’s game; a great advert for the game of cricket.

I want to get back to bowling, after watching Shabnim Ismail!

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It’s easy to Bash The Hundred — but what would you do?

Overnight, the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia has released a set of new match rules for BBL10. The response does not appear to have been one of universal acclaim (putting it mildly).

Our own much anticipated, much derided The Hundred will have its own tweaks to the match regulations, designed to make the game “more exciting” and also “more accessible”.

As someone who can find excitement watching the 3rd day of a County Championship match on a fixed-camera live stream, I am probably not the target audience for either the BBL or The Hundred.

I won’t make the case for “proper cricket”, here — no-one would pay to watch the sort of cricket I enjoy playing, and I do accept the demands for innovation and (added) action in the short form games.

But I do enjoy cricket in all formats, and I am concerned that some of the innovations we are being promised could conspire to keep existing fans away from the (new) game, and give new followers ideas about the game that won’t stand up to prolonged exposure.

So — how to modify the game of cricket to make it faster, more exciting (a better fit for commercial TV schedules), but keep it closer to its origins? What might work?

Continue reading “It’s easy to Bash The Hundred — but what would you do?”