Cricket – It is just not fair!

Let’s be clear from the outset, cricket is not fair. It never has been, it never will be, and it has never claimed to be.

Cricket is played with 11 other people on your team. Most of the time the game is mundane and, to naked eye, relatively boring. Each ball is comparable to the previous, each over a mirror of the last. However, these collection of delivers and accumulation of overs form a cricket game. A game that tells a story that resembles life.

At times you are in total control. You are the star – all eyes are on you. You can directly effect the game, and its outcome. Ball in your hand, bat held high, it doesn’t matter, your destiny is firmly in your hands. You are puppeteer in your own life.
But the reality is that these moments are fleeting. The better players make these moments last longer, but only for a while. For just like in life, for the majority of the time when you play cricket you are a passenger. Along for the ride just watching things unfold. All you can do is look on, watch and react. Occasionally you might contribute but you are the puppet, controlled by external forces.

On Sunday July 16th 2019, cricket showed how unfair she can be. England needed 9 runs off 3 deliveries. New Zealand were in relative control. Holding the Cricket World Cup aloft for the first time seemed destiny.

Then cricket intervened.

On the third to last delivery, when returning for a second run the ball hit the English batsman’s outstretched bat and rolled to the boundary. The outcome – two completed runs and the umpires making the decision to call ta ‘dead ball’ due to the obstruction.
England now needed 7 off 2 deliveries.

That would be fair. But cricket, like life, isn’t fair.

Instead the umpires talked and England were credited with four extra runs because the ball crossed the boundary rope. England now required a manageable 3 runs off two deliveries.

The batsman appeared remorseful but don’t be deceived. He wasn’t going to block the next 2 balls to even the ledger. The cricket gods had smiled on him. It was now England’s destiny.

As the game unfolded there was more drama. Amazingly, the scores were tied after the final ball. The rules dictated that a super over would be the fair way to declare a winner.

The super overs were just that. Super.

Clean hitting, fast running, precision fielding and accurate bowling. Eleven deliveries into the super overs and we have Martin Guptil on strike – 2 runs needed for victory.
New Zealand cricketing fans held their breath knowing that his cricketing luck is a yo-yo. Hero from the cricket World Cup 2015 – out of form during the World Cup 2019. Last game his run out of India’s star batsman saw New Zealand progress into the final – today it was his throw that went to the boundary the previous over. Like all cricketers the sporting gods have a love/hate relationship with Guptil.

Jofra Archer, bowls..…a yorker…. dug out to deep midwicket. Guptil scampers the first, turns quickly, and within a the blink of an eye he is run out meters short.

The super over is tied and the umpires make the decision to call the game a draw. We have draws in test cricket – the purest form of the game – lets have one here.

That would be fair. But cricket, like life, isn’t fair.

In he end the decision is made to award the 2019 Cricket World Cup to the team that scored the most boundaries. Obviously, boundaries are more important that wickets!

All that didn’t matter as England celebrated with Irishman Eoin Morgan lifting the trophy for England. Kiwi born Stokes is the hero of the day. West Indian born Archer the youngster who held his nerve. South African Jason Roy named England player of the tournament.

That’s not fair!

Cricket, since the first game in the 16th century, has been a team sport that is designed it be unfair. Most situations arise that are out of your direct control. Your fate, and the fate of your team is usually in the hands of your team mates, the opposition, the weather, the umpire or the rules of the game.

Cricket doesn’t favour the strong over the weak – most of the world’s greatest batsmen are small and slight.
Cricket doesn’t reward hard work – try tell your 10 year old who practiced all week, only to score a second ball duck, that he just needs to put in more work.
Cricket has no favour towards the best players – tell that to the gun batsman run-out without facing a ball due to his inept batting partner.
Cricket does not give value for moments of brilliance – a good deliver from an opening bowler get edged for four while a rank long-hop bowled by an amateur gets a wicket.
Cricket has no regard for personal situation – the grossly out of form batsman gets caught by a spectacular catch while those players in form see their chances dropped by the opposition fieldsmen.
Cricket does not worry about ever decision being consistent or correct – ask Ross Taylor who was lbw when the ball was missing the stumps and then talk to Trent Boult who doesn’t get an lbw when the ball was hitting the stumps.

In saying all this, it is the unfairness which makes cricket special and the wonderful game it is. They say that sport builds character and few would disagree. Cricket is different. It builds your character and then it tests your character by being grossly unfair. So maybe the lesson here is that the 2019 Cricket World Cup Final reminded us the golden rule of life – Life is unfair…get over it.

2 comments

  1. Great read,,, Hard luck, commiserations from India. Your country’s team have given new heroes to celebrate for the entire world.

  2. Absolutely the truth Shem……..well written. I totally agree with your comments but I just so proud to be a Kiwi having watched the game, disagreed with the outcome but still happy to accept the result – just like Captain Kane and his crew!

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