Interesting conversation with Dave C, aka @ballsrightareas, on setting boundaries for junior cricket.
Watching highlights of Eng Women smashing sixes. Fantastic viewing. Why can’t club colts match boundaries be shorter to enable more sixes?
— Dave C, cricket wonk (@ballsrightareas) June 22, 2016
They often are, where I coach/umpire, BUT that can unfairly favour bigger kids who club 6s rather than play strokes https://t.co/EFTKl45Z4f
— Andrew Beaven (@TheTeesra) June 23, 2016
Should we bring the ropes in, to encourage batters to (try to) hit boundaries?
But risk having games dominated by batters mis-hitting 6s?
Or set the line back, and reward the strokeplayers who can exploit the wide open spaces?
But see games dragged out as young fielders trudge after the ball as it pulls up short of a full-size boundary?
No answers, but a few further thoughts from me.
Shorter boundaries – pros
The game needs to be kept moving. Not just because that is what happens in T20 (although that is definitely a factor), but because we have to keep players involved and engaged, and watching batsmen blocking and taking occasional singles simply won’t engage anyone.
Bringing the ropes in, to make it easier for every player to hit boundaries, keeps the scoreboard ticking over.
Shorter boundaries – cons
Balls hit beyond the boundary will be recovered more slowly than one that pulls up just short of the line – lots of big hitting could actually slow down the game.
Fielders will spend more time retrieving hits from beyond than boundary than fielding “live” balls.
Bowlers will become discouraged if they are (mis-)hit for multiple boundaries each over.
How about setting a tactical and technical challenge, with an asymmetric boundary – 40 yards on one side, 60 on the other?
Now, the batters have to decide whether to play a (potentially) risky shot to the short boundary, for a greater reward, or take the safe(r) option of hitting into the open spaces on the longer boundary? Bowlers and captains then have to think about bowling lines and field settings, and who bowls from which end.
Click on one of the embedded tweets (above) to see the original conversation.