The Night’s Watch

When it comes to European sport, there are many intricacies that American sports fans simply do not get: draws, added time…etc.  And surely the nightwatchman would be on that list, as well.

Today, in London, with England already a man down and the light fading, Strauss and Flower sent out Jimmy Anderson, a bowler, to bat instead of Jonathon Trott – he of 48 test match innings, and a test average of over 50 runs. The theory being that if you lose Anderson due to bad light, it is better than losing a Trott due to bad light.

Now, I guess, it makes sense, on paper, but it is also a terrible strategy, if you ask me.  If you can’t rely on Jonathon Trott to survive a few tricky overs at the end of the day, then when can you rely on him? Only on sunny days in perfect conditions on flat tracks? Poppycock. He is one on the most reliable batsman in the world, don’t doubt his abilities by sending a bowler out there to do his job.

Batting, like everything else, is about momentum and confidence, and putting in Anderson to bat robs Trott of both – and to wit we saw Roach nearly get Trott out LBW with the first delivery he saw. If you don’t think Strauss’s decision was on Trott’s mind that first ball, than you are sadly mistaken.

Of course, the nightwatchman strategy had already backfired on Strauss the ball before, as Anderson had nicked to Ramdin, and England were 10-2 and had to expose Trott anyway.

Back to Americans, however, and there are similar such strategies in American sports: sacrifice bunts come to mind, as does the intentional walk. In gridiron football, there is taking a knee, the prevent defense, and heck even punting shows a lack of confidence in your offense. But, personally, the nightwatchman takes the cake when it comes to silly, aggravating sporting decisions, and it is just one more reason Americans will never truly embrace cricket.

ALL OF THAT SAID: I love the nightwatchman. Because I like to say nightwatchman. I think it is my favorite sports term ever.

I know you all agree.


I have been reading the Game of Thrones series (stop laughing). In the books, there is a group of men called the Night’s Watch that stand guard on a 700 foot wall of ice, protecting the realm against the Wildings and “Others” and giants that live beyond the Wall. It is a really fun part of the book, and I think the storyline that the author enjoys writing about the most.

Anyway, when a man decides to join the Night’s Watch, he is said to have “taken the black” because all those in the Night’s Watch wear all black, every stitch. So I think two things: in cricket they should make the nightwatchman wear all black; or, failing that, the TV commentators should at least use the phrase figuratively: “Anderson has taken the black.”

Forgive me, I have a bit of a hangover and I am watching Italian football.


Even England fans must have enjoyed seeing a reinvigorated West Indies on the pitch at Lords again. Watching Roach and Edwards steam in over and over again was like being transported back in time. And Strauss’s decision to bring in Anderson over Trott after edging to gully is evidence of his respect for the Windies new ball attack. Tomorrow will be fun. It would be a remarkable and famous win for the visitors if they can pull it off.


Speaking of ghosts: Here’s this I found:


This is my 200th post on Limited Overs. Huzzah.

One Reply to “The Night’s Watch”

  1. Hi Matt

    Loved reading your articles. We would love it if you would also post your articles to, a new site for fan journalists/bloggers like you. We can automatically import your articles to your fanalistas profile and then link back to your blog giving your work exposure to our growing online community. I have no doubt that your cricket coverage would attract a lot of readers with us.

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    I look forward hearing from you. Keep up the great work!

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