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Tuesday, January 02, 2007



OK, I'll bite (having played Cricket at a pretty high level in my younger years).

The obvious answer is that as kids get into their later teens, they focus more on the skills they need to get picked for the top teams. At age 10-12 most really good kids are pretty much all-rounders. In my high school team we had a revolving door approach to wicket-keeping and five of the top six batting spots were taken by kids who did most of the bolwing (I opened both the batting and bowling and on weekends opened the bowling and batted 4-6).

But the non-obvious answer is that as the skill level rises, the margins for error become really small. Amongst the guys from my "crop" Mark Waugh and Michael Bevan were really quick as older teenagers, but not good enough to bowl regularly at test level. Even though they are retired, I suspect they could terrorise anybody playing amatuer village cricket!

Same with the bat. OK, you do get the genuine bunnies like Glen McGrath who really can't bat. But most tailenders can score well into the 60s and 70s on a good day against lesser opposition.

But, there is a peculiar mental disposition required to bat for a long time without major error. You see some great batsmen, who struggle to regular score 100s, or seldom go onto really big scores (M Waugh again comes to mind). It's a patience, stamina, toughness thing. As a young kid, I seldom got the chance to bat for that long and never really developed that side at all. The longest I ever spent at the crease was just over 2 hours for 76 n.o. in a Grade match.


Fernando - I had a feeling you might offer an answer on this one!

I guess the issue of skill levels rising and margins for error being very small works across many sports. I've been srtuck watching international rugby how small the margin is between a win and being well betten.

I guess the particular issue in cricket is what you say about the mental side of batting.

Thanks for your thoughts on this one.

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