Sunday, 8 December 2013

Dad, can you teach me about cricket?

A little boy was given a bat and wicketkeepers gloves for his birthday three days before the start of the 1st Test Windies versus the National Team.  Dad said to his son, "boy, we have five days of education ahead of us.  By the time Sunday comes you'll know everything there is to know about Test Cricket."

So on the first day are seated in front of the 50" Plasma in comfy chairs with Mother and Sister set to run refreshments (yes they are allowed in the Man Cave specifically for that purpose).

"Dad" says Rory "what is the first thing that happens?"

"Well son" says Dad, " some very famous cricketers come out and give their impressions of how the pitch will play and who they think will bat or bowl first.  Then they step to one side and an Umpire comes out with a coin and the two captains come out with him and they call to see who does what first."
"Gee that sounds really cool Dad"

"Yes son very important, the whole match can swing on one call."

So the coin is tossed and the Windies win and decide to bowl.

"Are they good bowlers Dad?"

"Gee son I don't know, but I am worried that we can't bat though.  Our side hasn't won a test in ages and need to rekindle the candle!"

Anyway play gets under way and things are going very well for New Zealand with an opening partnership of 95.  Both openers are settled until Rutherford has a brain explosion and holes out at the same place as his previous lofted shot went.

"Hey Dad, why did he go out for?  He was doing so well."

"Well Rory, it's like this.  Inexperienced international players have a lot to learn and Rutherford is new to test cricket.  He will show his frailties from time to time until he learns to control his aggression."

"Thanks Dad"

So as refreshments are run in and out, other wickets fall and the father keeps his boy up to play with progress, why this bowler is not good, why that batsman played that shot, why misfields happen, all in the name of education.

"Dad, are we doing alright?"

It's the end of the first day and McCullum and Taylor have scored well and got their centuries.

"Yes son, very well, now go get some dinner and we'll come back and watch it tomorrow.

The following morning finds father and son back in front of the 50", the man cave ready for another enthralling days cricket.  McCullum goes early.

"Dad is he a good batsman and why did he go out so early?"

"Well son, he's not that great a batsman but in this instance he did well for his country.  I think he went out because he lost his concentration overnight."

They watch Taylor give a masterclass, and enjoyed the cameos from a few other batsman.

"Dad are New Zealand going to bat right through five days and win the test?"

"No son, it doesn't work like that.  I think you'll find the captain will declare 30 minutes before Tea and insert the Windies and take some quick wickets and put them under pressure."

Tea comes and goes and eventually a declaration is called, having passed 600 runs at just over 4 an over.

"Is that good scoring Dad?"

"Yes son, that's exceptional scoring and so good to see the team get that 600, paybacks for them doing it to us back in 1969 at Wellington."

"What's going to happen now Dad?  Will the Windies score as much as us?"

"Gee I dunno son, it's a belter of a pitch, we'll see how our bowlers go."

Suffice to say the banter between son and father was vigorous throughout that 213 by the Windies and by the end of the day they were ready to see NZ bat again to put the target out of reach.

"Dad, what's a Follow On"

"Son it's like a game of chess, you make a move to make another move later. The skipper is thinking that maybe they can roll the other team in the same manner as the previous innings."

"Oh I see, so if we get them out for less than say 300 we win the game?"

"Yes something like that son, but it's a risky thing."

During Day four Father and son still sit watching intently.  The boy learns about wayward bowling, poor fielding, dropped catches, missed run out opportunities and bizarre field settings.  He also learns what it is like to be a captain under pressure and how to get the best out of your team mates.  They go to bed, the father a little perplexed, a boy full of wonderful new knowledge.

Next day, they once again settle into the Man Cave, and quickly see the Windies capitulate, lessons learned from the previous day being put into place.

"Dad did they get a good score?"

"Well my boy, they did get a good score, but they have left us 112 to win and the way we played in the first innings should see us win this with ease."

"Dad are those dark clouds a worry?"

"Hold on son, I'll put the radio commentary on and see if Garth Gallaway is on, he's a local Otago commentator and knows the weather just like his Dad did way back when."

'Coney - those dark clouds are a concern'
'McHardy - we should be right, the wind will blow them away'
'Waddle - where is Ian Gallaway when you need him?'
'Coney - The New Zealanders will have to put the pedal down soon'

"Who are they Dad?"

"Experts son, on cricket, well two are cricket experts, one runs a Glee Club?"

"So Dad, will we get all these runs without losing a wicket?"

"Boy Rory, you learn quick, let's watch eh?"

"What's being strangled down the leg side to an off spinner Dad?"

"Son it's an admission you have poor shot selection to certain balls, the both of them played lazy shots."

Score moves along a little, looking promising, then Rutherford holes out again.

"HEY DAD!!! HE DID THAT LAST TIME!!

"Very well done son, you are learning well."

"Why does he do that Dad?"

"As I said before son, he's inexperienced.  He's a good batsman, but just needs to learn to be patient and play shots in other areas of the ground if he wants to score and to stay in."

"Here's the Captain Dad - we're going to win now eh, he's a good batter!!"

"I do hope so son."

Soon after the mother came into the room and removed Rory for his own safety. "Mark if you ever swear like that again in front of your son I'll ban you from cricket for life".

After the rain ruined a great match, the Father returned to the house.  "Son, I'm sorry you had to see and hear all that.  One thing you must learn from watching New Zealand cricket teams, they will always push your patience."

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