In 1906, the photographer and former cricketer George Beldam and sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher (from his profile on Wikipedia!) C.B. Fry published “Great Bowlers and Fielders: Their Methods at a Glance” ), a collection of Beldam’s ground-breaking action photographs of bowlers (and fielders) of the Edwardian age with Fry’s commentary and analysis.
In a series of staged images, Beldam and Fry gave a unique insight into how bowlers actually bowled (or thought they bowled ) in the 1900s.
And I believe that there is a lot to be learned today from a closer analysis of Great Bowlers and Fielders (henceforth GBF) .
This piece is slightly modified from a paper submitted to an online course on the scientific revolution of the 17th century. The article was an excursion into twin obsessions of mine — over-elaboration and an exploration of coaching pedagogy, explicitly, what works, and why.
My conclusion was that the scientific revolution legitimised the question as a tool for learning. From observation (“what’s going on out there?”) to hypothesis (“is this what’s happening?”) via experiment (“is my hypothesis correct?”) and on to a new understanding (or another question).
And that sounds rather like the model for coaching (and, more pertinently, learning) that I can subscribe to.
I have been lucky enough to play in a couple of matches recently where we had two competent (and socially distanced) scorers, using the Play-Cricket scoring software, and at grounds with modern digital scoreboards.
It was fascinating to watch the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern “par score” throughout the 2nd innings, on both occasions as we successfully defended our own 1st innings scores.
It was noticeable how closely the DLS par scores matched the players’ perceptions of which team held the “advantage” as the game progressed. A good partnership saw the scoreboard approach the par; a couple of maidens, or (especially) a wicket or two saw the par score race ahead of the batting sides total.
For us (Seniors, over 60s, many having played the game for 50 years or more — perhaps 1,000 years combined playing experience between us), the DLS par only served to confirm what playing the game for many years had taught us.
But might the DLS par provide an answer to the perennial question from the cricketing newbie — “who’s winning?”