Humour: Expanded cricket roles

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Time to evolve

For too long, cricket has been dominated by players fulfilling the traditional boring roles of batsman, bowler and wicketkeeper.

The modern game, however, is so much more than just batting, bowling and fielding. It’s time to expand. Here are some new roles that teams should adopt.

Press spinner

One of the best things about Test cricket is that, by virtue of the fact it takes place over multiple days, press conferences can be used as a strategic weapon in the game.

Currently, the role of spinning press conferences in order to attack the morale and psyche of the opposition is very much a part-time role. It shouldn’t stay that way. There’s plenty of scope to select a specialist press-spinner, who can turn small doubts on wearing minds into big psychological stumpers.

Cricket is at least ninety percent a mental game. And it’s a game that’s covered by vast numbers of media outlets. Time to select a player who can exploit these twin facts and spin his team to victory.

Wicketkeeper-statsman

In the older days, it was enough for wicketkeepers to be good with the gloves, taking catches, pulling off stumpings, whispering sweet sledges into batsman’s ears.

Then came the rise of the wicketkeeper-batsman, where an ability to contribute significantly with the bat became a fundamental part of the role.

Now, however, the position needs to evolve again. The most important role a wicketkeeper needs to play in the modern game is that of helping the captain decide on DRS reviews. Currently, this is done by gut instinct. But the role needs to move beyond that.

A proper wicketkeeper-statsman would have studied the basics of probability theory and understand the nuances of Bayes’ Theorem. Using this, they could correctly combine the likelihood of the umpire making a mistake with the probability of the particular delivery evading umpire’s call and delivering an out verdict, weighted by expected future runs that the batsman might score.

With all these factors taken into consideration, they could make the optimal decision of whether or not to review. Maximising DRS success rates in a mathematically sound fashion would almost certainly be worth more than a few big hits coming in at number seven.

Seem bowler

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Time to bait the batsman

As mentioned above, DRS has changed the game. Fielding teams won’t just stop with wicketkeeper-statsmen, whose main focus is a defensive one, trying to prevent the misuse of their side’s reviews.

No, the logical next step is to go on the offence. Don’t just protect your reviews. Actively try to get the batsmen to waste theirs. Crucial to this strategy will be the ‘seem bowler’, who will take wickets in ways that seem to be unjustified. The seem bowler’s deliveries will seem to pitch outside leg. Or seem to be bouncing too high. Or seem to be striking the pad outside the line of off stump.

Whatever it takes to get the batsmen to waste their reviews in trying to overturn it. It’s one thing to deceive one batsman and dismiss him LBW. It’s quite another to deceive the non-striker into agreeing to review the decision. Only the most accurate of seem bowlers need apply.

Social boundary rider

Sledging, or ‘mental disintegration’, as Steve Waugh lovingly preferred to euphemise it, is a regular tactic for many sides. But when does a bit of banter designed to upset a batsman’s concentration go too far and cross the line into abuse? How do teams stay up to date with ever-changing standards of community etiquette and social conduct? Or navigate the expectations of what’s a fair verbal target and what’s beyond the pale in different cultures and countries?

Enter the social boundary rider - a specialist who roams the outskirts of societal norms, ensuring that sledges and taunts are kept within the boundaries.

After all, the last thing you want is Virat Kohli unfriending you on Facebook.

First dropped

Even with the new roles proposed here, teams will still lose games. And, inevitably, scapegoats will be called for by the media, general public and loudmouth Twitter bots.

This can be frustrating, especially when the eleven originally chosen were thought to be the best team the selectors could have picked. Dropping any of them will therefore inevitably weaken the team.

The solution? Pre-select a player to be first dropped. In the event of a defeat, this player would then be the one to make way, satisfying the bloodlust of fans, while simultaneously actually making the team stronger.

That’s the kind of foresight and professionalism modern cricket so desperately needs.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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