Cricket for Americans: 01 March 2019: What makes for great cricket?

There was lots of talk yesterday on Twitter about whether or not the fourth ODI between England and the West Indies (which England won by 29 runs to go 2-1 up in the series) was good, or entertaining, or great, or terrible, or boring, or all of the above.

The people who think it was great are like: duh, of course it was. There were a zillion sixes, over 800 total runs, 16 wickets, and the result was firmly in doubt until Rashid came on and took four wickets from nothing on a flat track. While the folks that believe the opposite was true are equally as sure of their opinion: too many sixes, it wasn’t cricket it was a home run derby, where’s the balance between bat and ball?

And I guess I can see both points of view. For the former, I can’t help but think of the movie Titantic. Bear with me. Sure, it’s overblown hollywood nonsense, but it’s also really fun. I have been saying it for years: if you don’t like Titanic, then you don’t like movies. Yesterday’s ODI was like cricket’s version of film Titanic. And if you didn’t like it, then you don’t like cricket. Relax. It’s sports. It’s not supposed to be so damned serious. As my dad would say: “Lighten up, Francis.”

That said, I think too many sixes makes for boring cricket. Sure they are fun once in a while, but like James Morgan from The Full Toss pointed out: you can have too much of a good thing. They slow the game down, they take away the nuances of cricket, make it a feat of brute strength instead, and if you start to genuinely chip away at the aforementioned balance between bat and ball, well, that really could be the thing that eventually kills cricket off.

But Morgan tweeted out his objections during England’s opening innings. Surely, once the match got through all its 98 overs he changed his mind, right? I mean, yeah, there were a lot of sixes, but come on! How could you not love how that matched ended!? Or Jos Butler’s cheeky salute!?

I guess I am trying to say that I see the point of the naysayers, but yesterday was not bad cricket, yesterday is not going to kill cricket, yesterday was FUN. And it’s okay for cricket to be fun now and again. We get cerebral enough, both in cricket and in reality. Let’s have some fun. Let’s let ourselves enjoy a show like we saw yesterday. Forget about bat/ball balance, forget about flat tracks, forget about life, and just watch some damned entertaining cricket. Then chill out with the Test match in New Zealand right after.

Shot, chaser.

That’ll do.

Until tomorrow.


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