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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

Cricket & Science


I remember; at least, I think I do; unless I've made it up; then, of course, I might be remembering something I'd made up earlier but forgotten that I made it up.

Anyway, if memory serves me right (or wrong), I remember a bloke at school saying that he was going to do computer science at university.  This same bloke also did judo.   One day I asked him to do some judo on me.  He said he couldn't due to some code or other.  In the end he relented and I found myself sitting on the ground, vaguely remembering turning a somersault in mid-air.

Computers threw me more, however (anything for a cheap laugh).  At the time we had not been told about Bletchley Park and computers were a thing of science fiction, mostly made out of cardboard and used as props in low budget American films.  'Dr. Who' had not then been invented.  By the way the first calculator I bought (in 1975) cost £15, was too big to fit in a pocket and at that time no man would dream of carrying a handbag.   Today my wind up phone (I jest) will calculate, take pictures and videos BUT I refuse to go smart and connect to the internet and be woken by 'pings' announcing the arrival of emails etc. (especially in the afternoon between lunch and tea).

I resisted computers as long as I could but eventually succumbed.  Now I have a hankering for the 'good old days' of Windows 95 and AOL 3, as I also yearn for the days when Boycott and Edrich played cricket for England.   (Be honest.  You were wondering when I was going to use the 'c' word.).

Have the wonders of science been beneficial for cricket?  Well, it is certainly useful in my opinion (please forgive the modernism) to be able to watch cricketers of yore and for youngsters to be able to study cricket techniques and learn the history of the game from YouTube.  Incidentally, was anyone else as shocked as I was when Michael Vaughan said he'd never heard of Herbert Sutcliffe?

Anyway, replays and ball tracking are good in my opinion.  So too, maybe, 'Hawkeye'.  Might Jim Laker have benefited from DRS as much as Graham Swann?  Used to be the batsman could just push his pad forward with aplomb.   I remember being mildly astonished to get an LBW decision (just the once) at Colchester from Basil Hunt, renowned for his 'not outs'.  Basil told a lovely story about when he was sitting on the members' balcony at Lords, looked along the row and saw a 'scarecrow' sitting there.   The 'scarecrow' turned and Basil said "Good morning, my Lord Norfolk".  Appearances can be deceptive!

Andrew Appleby