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The alternative moments of cricket in 2017

by Peter Miller 5 minute read

We have reached the end of 2017, and while there have been some amazing moments in cricket this year – Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy, James Anderson getting 500 wickets, Ireland and Afghanistan getting Test status, everything Steve Smith did – the real highlights are the ones that made us laugh.

Gabriel aberration

West Indies v Pakistan. Third Test. The series is 1-1 and West Indies are battling for an unlikely draw. Pakistan needed one wicket to win. Roston Chase was batting brilliantly on 101 not out. Shannon Gabriel, the West Indies number 11, had faced 21 balls and batted for an hour and a half. There were seven balls left in the match. If Gabriel faced one more delivery it would leave the well-set Chase to see out the last over to draw the match and the series.

Then he did this…

Fazeer Mohammad summed it up nicely with this one sentence.

A bee in his bonnet

Now, call me childish, but a guy called De Kock batting in a pink helmet is already funny. This got even better when a whole load of bees landed on Quinton de Kock’s helmet causing an hour-long delay in South Africa’s ODI against Sri Lanka.

There were fire extinguishers, flapping of arms and the eventual arrival of actual bee-keepers to get rid of the pesky Anthophila from the ground. In all honesty, this was the most entertaining hour of a pretty rubbish ODI.

Pretty tasty

While it could have been a horrific incident, and thankfully no one got hurt, but the arrow that caused the abandonment of a match between Middlesex and Surrey at the Oval generated some comedy moments.

The first of these was the way Surrey captain, Gareth Batty, described the offending object.

Now, that tasty arrow with a proper metal end came back to haunt Middlesex when they were relegated from the first division of the County Championship. The difference between survival and life in the second division just two seasons after winning the whole thing was the points that they lost because of slow over-rates in that match.

Middlesex weren’t happy, and the argument was that the umpires had said there wouldn’t be a penalty because of the unusual nature of the abandonment. The ECB said the officials were wrong to say this. Just because it was arrows falling from the sky and not rain didn’t mean Middlesex weren’t culpable for being behind on their over-rates when the match ended.

While Middlesex fans tied themselves in logical knots to explain why they shouldn’t be punished for not bowling fast enough despite the rules on this being very clear, the rest of us got a bit of a giggle about it. 

Car stops play

There is a pattern developing here. Cricket is at its best when things that shouldn’t be on the field stop the game. The best remains a stray dog running around. Obviously. The old ones are the best. But this one was amazing…

During a Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh things took a bizarre turn when a man drove his CAR on to the pitch and parked on a length in the middle of a first-class game. He claimed he was lost and that he hadn’t noticed any security.

Smith’s brain fade

Steve Smith has had a fantastic year, scoring so many runs that it has almost got to the point of bullying. But for us his best moment in 2017 was when he managed to anger Virat Kohli.

Kohli bristling with righteous indigntation is the only thing more majestic than his batting, and when Smith appeared to look to the dressing room when he was given out lbw off the bowling of Umesh Yadav the Indian skipper was apoplectic with rage.

Smith was apologetic, admitting he shouldn’t have done it, and calling it a “brain fade”.

Kohli called Smith a cheat without using the word cheat. “There are lines you don’t cross on the cricket field. I don’t want to mention the word, but it falls under that bracket,” the said.

Later in the same series Smith did bring out the “C-word” when Murali Vijay appeared to claim a catch that wasn’t a catch. All fun and games…

A bold declaration

It isn’t just the professional game that can make us laugh. In the Pembrokeshire first division we got the funniest thing cricket can generate – boiled piss. Carew won the league by doing something that was completely within the rules and were vilified for it.

They were playing against Cresselly in the final match of the season. It so happened that these two teams were in first and second place. There was 21 points between the two teams. In this particularly league you get 20 points for a win so for Cresselly to claim the title they needed to beat Carew and to do so with two more bonus points than their opponents.

Carew came up with a brilliant, but morally questionable, solution. You get one point for each 40 runs you score up to 200 and a point for every two wickets you take. They batted first and declared on 18 for one. This meant that the most points that Creselley could get was 20. The league was theirs.

This allowed the “Spirit of Cricket” crowd to go mad about a team doing something that was completely within the rules, even if it was a bit off.

The powers that be agreed with the moral philosophers and Carew were relegated. They have lost their title and their place in the top flight, but the whole thing made us giggle, so for that we thank them.

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