Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

The bowlers holding the batsman’s willy…..

cricket picExplaining cricket and it’s terminology is akin to lecturing about quantum mechanics or the string theory in particle physics.

Cricket is a sport synonymous with England. Just like Rugby it has influenced the world. General terms like “It’s not cricket” means that it is not sporting behaviour. To “bowl a maiden over” does not mean you have scored in a nightclub, assuming a maiden still exists in such establishments. Yet a “maiden” is a virgin. It means that out of six balls bowled, no runs (points) were conceded.

Unless an individual has ever played cricket it is unlikely that they will understand it. Unlike football or tennis where the rules of the game are reasonably simple – cricket will baffle the greatest armchair enthusiast. Cricket is a legacy of British influence around the world. In India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Africa, Afghanistan, France, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies and even the USA, to name a few, and all regard it’s rules and phrases as a common language.

For the uninitiated here is an overview. A failure to understand is not a reflection on an individuals intelligence. A cricket match is contested between two sides each of eleven players. When one side is “in” the other side is “out”, and it is the job of the “out” side to get the “in” side out. This is achieved by dismissing the batsmen on the “in” side by several methods.

When a side is batting it is called an “innings”, and will last as long as each batsman can hold his wicket. the wicket is what the batsman must protect at all costs – if someone says “you’re on a sticky wicket” it means your position is precarious. Unless that is, if they hold their innings for quite a long period and score an extremely high number of runs, in which case the captain will “declare” or “forfeit” the remainder of his innings. It’s a tactical decision, and he is hoping the opposition will not be able to match his side’s number of runs in the available number of overs. Failure to declare can result in the match drawn, even though one side has more runs than another. In business, If your boss says he’s “holding his wicket”, it means he has control of the situation and hanging on.

When a batsman is bowled out, a new batsman goes in. When both sides have been in and out, they do it all over again, and this is called the second innings. If your boss suggests you have more than one innings, there is hope for you yet.

Eventually, if all goes to the wire, only one batsman will remain, who will not be allowed to bat on his own – he’s the last man standing. This last man, however, may not necessarily be the eleventh or last man who went in to bat. Indeed, the last man standing could have been one of the first men in, if he was never out. If your boss says you are the last man in, the chances are you are doomed.

Still with it? Right. Time for some explanations. Two innings per side will occur in international test matches. A test lasts for five days. Up to five tests can be played over several weeks, called the First to the Fifth Test respectively, when the event is hosted by one country, whose opponent is another (the tourists). Whilst many matches may result in a grand trophy, England and Australia play each other every two years for a small urn of cremated wooden bails from 1882 -The Ashes – which is a prize more sought than any silver or gold cup.

The length of a cricket match is dependent on the number of overs per side. That is the number of balls the bowlers are permitted to bowl. There are six balls to an over. Therefore if a match is limited to ten overs per innings, (in “one-day” cricket, for example and county games) then after sixty balls have been bowled, the innings’ end, regardless of how many wickets are left (if any).

Wickets in this case are the number of batsmen who have not come to the crease (still in the pavilion), which is the demarcation line from the stumps where the batsman is allowed to hit the ball or defend his wicket, and also the last point for the bowler to execute his delivery. If the bowler steps over the crease after his approach run, then it’s a “no ball”, and a score (or run) is given to the opposing side. If a bowler successfully bowls his over without any runs being scored by the batsman, then he would have bowled a “maiden over”.

The stumps are three 28inch high pieces of wood which comprise the wicket, with a total width of 9 inches, and balance two small wooden objects known as the bails. There are two wickets, one at each end of the pitch, which is 22 yards long from stump to stump with each wicket defended by a batsman. The bails must dislodge from the stumps for the batsman to be out.

In the surrounding oval shaped playing field, with a diameter of roughly 160 yards, stand the fielders of the side which is “out”. With the exception of the wicket-keeper (who crouches behind the batsman’s wicket being bowled at) and the bowler, there are nine fielders who can take up positions from Silly Point to Square Short Leg (very close to the batsman), Silly Mid Off and Silly Mid On (midway between the length of the pitch), and Long Off to Deep Fine Leg (boundary cover), as well as another possible 25 positions, and all with equally silly names.

It is their job to prevent the batsmen from hitting the ball sufficiently for them to run between wickets, or hit the ball to, or over, the boundary thereby scoring an automatic four or a six. The fielding side can either prevent this by catching the ball whilst in flight (caught out), or retrieving the ball from the ground and returning it by aiming it at the wicket, in the hope that it will reach its target before the batsman returns to his crease (“run out” or “stumped”).

The batsman can also be bowled out by the bowler if his ball hits the wicket, or even be given out if the ball hits his leg, which is called LBW (leg before wicket). The wicket-keeper is the batsman’s nemesis, and is ever keen to knock off the bails at any opportunity after catching the ball when it flies past the wicket – always in the hope that the ball clipped the bat or the batsman strayed outside his crease.

Over the course of a match, the ball (which is red, extremely hard, made of layers of core cork and leather, and must strictly weigh between 5.5 – 6oz) cannot be changed unless under the strictest rules of the game. A ball should last the complete innings and at least 80 overs in test matches.

This prolonged use can affect the properties of the ball and influence its flight. Consequently a bowler will polish his ball on one side by rubbing it around his groin area, or on the sleeve, which results in the characteristic red stains on his whites (trousers). Polishing it in this fashion can determine the “swing”, and some bowlers will spit on the ball prior to polishing. Ball tampering is a serious offence in cricket, and any form of physical interference, other than spit and polish, is forbidden.

The match is won by the side which scores the highest number of runs over the two innings in the set number of overs, and on the aggregate over the five tests, regardless of whether all players have had their day at the crease.

And now the big question. What is a googly? It’s a ball bowled by a right-arm spin bowler, designed to confuse a right-handed batsman by appearing to spin from leg to off, but actually spins in the opposite direction. Hence the term “to throw a googly”, meaning to confuse or upset an opponent, either in sport or business.

Finally, a batsman is only called out if the umpire says so. And he won’t say so, unless he’s asked. How’s that? That’s right! “Howzat” is the challenge to the umpire in order to get his reaction, and he will raise his index finger if it’s a good call. If anyone sticks up a middle digit in response to his decision then he’ll likely be dismissed, because that is, along with all other forms of ungentlemanly conduct, certainly not cricket!

Note: The title of this post refers to a commentary by Brian Johnston during a test match at the Oval in 1976, when Michael Holding of the West Indies was bowling to England batsman Peter Willey. 

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March 24, 2015 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Education, Humour, Sport, USA | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Chinese Paralympic Paradox….

IPC_01_Institutional_RGB_210mmA nation which has little regard for human rights, which has limited disability legislation in place, which tends to hide it's less fortunate subjects away, and where the average able-bodied person ignores those less-abled who can often be found begging on the streets of Beijing, or forgotten in the rural communities where they have to fend for themselves, is walking away with gold medals at the London Paralympics.

Why is this? And does it show that the Chinese are embracing the disabled with equal rights?

Does it mean they are becoming a much more caring government?

Or does it mean that they just want to win – to be the best – at all costs?

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September 3, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, London, Olympic Games, Politics, Sport, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Olympic Closing Ceremony – how was it for you?

Closing ceremonyOlympic closing ceremonies are not designed to upstage the opening ones, and that’s why they are the least remembered.

Although the British contribution during the Beijing handover in 2008 was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Most notably the use of a London double-decker bus which opened out on the top looking remarkably similar to one destroyed during the city’s terrorist bombing in 2005.

The 2012 closing ceremony was meant to celebrate the nation’s arts and music, but even I, an adopted Londoner of over 35 years, was bemused if not confused by most of it.  

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August 13, 2012 Posted by | Arts, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, History, London, Music, Olympic Games, Sport, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never in the Field of Human Conflict………

ChurchillIt was Great Britain which provided the inspiration to the founders of the Modern Olympics.

That legacy in this 30th Olympiad has come home. Whilst the official language is French, it is the dominance of the English language which turns the world on its axis.

In this world where China is flexing her muscles, where Russia plays dangerous games, it is the free democratic nations of the world which provide the light. Would you want to live in a world dominated by China or Russia – in sport or elsewhere?

If the European Union competed as one entity it would rule the world. UK, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Norway – have a combined gold medal total far greater than that of the China.

Yet their combined population is considerably less than China's 1.5Billion – indeed the population of the EU is similar to the USA.

Of course the EU consist of separate countries, with different languages, but they are free democratic ones also.

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August 12, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Europe, Events, History, Olympic Games, Politics, Sport, United Kingdom, USA | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Anglo-Aussie Olympic Game Changer……

Olympic cauldronHeatherwick Studio is the company responsible for the torch phenomena at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony.

As the days pass, the technical vision and skill of the display is being increasingly praised and recognised.

From his King's Cross studio in London, Thomas Heatherwick, the designer of the copper cauldron said “We were aware cauldrons had been getting bigger, higher, fatter as each Olympics happened and we felt we shouldn’t try to be even bigger than the last ones.”

The fantastic elegant design has been described as "imaginative and ambitious and the most complicated cauldron ever built."

Yet, credit should also be given to an Australian company called FCT Flames who contributed their knowledge to Heatherwick's concept (see how they did it at the end of this post).

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August 1, 2012 Posted by | Arts, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, London, Olympic Games, Science, Sport, United Kingdom | , , | 1 Comment

Brilliant, Bonkers and British.

They said they could never top the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony. They said that the Brits should not even consider trying. The Chinese had more money than sense, and threw it all into a precision regimental display of human mass, with more fireworks to tilt the world on her axis, and enough drums to cause  a quake. The Earth moved in 2008.

No don’t try to better it, just make it different! Well, the London 2012 opening ceremony was different, and it was better. How does a nation, with so much history, that has had so much influence in the world, tell her story in 3 hours?

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July 28, 2012 Posted by | Arts, Books, Boxing, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, History, Humour, London, Music, Olympic Games, Politics, Science, Sport, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Supermarkets, Globalisation and Marmite – a Caveman Perspective….

Marmite1Regular readers of this humble blog will know that I advocate the Paleo Diet aka the Caveman Diet.

The fundamental truth being that prior to the arrival of agriculture 10,000 years ago, man, ie homo sapiens, and even his ancestors in one hominoid form or another, ate only fresh meat, fish, wild vegetables and fruit.

He did this for at least 2.5 million years. Starch, wheat, yeast, grain and cereals, milk, butter and cheese simply did not exist.

They did eat eggs, but only by sneaking up on a nest and nicking them.

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July 22, 2012 Posted by | Books, Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Diet, Education, Europe, Events, History, Italy, London, Olympic Games, Politics, Religion, Science, Sport, United Kingdom, USA | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The London Olympics – Stop Bloody Moaning!

TowerbridgeolympicsHere at Bardiness HQ the control room is buzzing in anticipation at the imminent start of the greatest event of the century.

20,000 journalists are arriving to the Sceptered Isles, as well as 10,000 athletes, and over a million tourists.

Very soon the Olympic torch will pass just yards from the Bardy Command Centre, to eventually end up at the Olympic Stadium on the 27th July.

The hot news is that the main security contractor G4S (aka Group 4 Securitas) have failed to perform and grossly underestimated their ability to provide the necessary manpower. No gold medals for them then.

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July 17, 2012 Posted by | Boxing, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, London, Olympic Games, Photography, Politics, Sport, Travel, United Kingdom | , , | 2 Comments

Footballers, Choc Ices, and Rectal Dysfuntion….

Choc_ice430x300When I was a kid my father would often tell me that footballers had brains in their feet.

I've learned since that this isn't true. They are actually in the rectum, very close to the orifice they speak from.

I rarely talk about footballers these days, but the recent events as reported here involving "England's finest" both on and off the pitch enforces this view.

The principal players are John Terry, the Ferdinand brothers and Ashley Cole.

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July 15, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, Football, Sport | 3 Comments

The Olympic Torch Relay and the Jedward Effect….

JedwardI wonder if many, like me, are getting rather bored with it all?

70 days is a long time to run a naked flame around the country (when it's not being carried on a bus), and every day on the news it's reported to be in someplace or other.

Each time I have difficulty stifling a yawn. It's not the sheer inanity of it all, but the controversy surrounding it.

From bearers flogging their torches on ebay, to z-list celebrities getting a greasy palm around it, and the sheer logistics of the process involving an entourage of support crew, sponsor promotion vehicles and security.

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June 11, 2012 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, Humour, London, Politics, Sport, United Kingdom | , , | 1 Comment

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