The Dobber

The Dobber

Do you give up cricket cold, or still strap on the pads in friendly or charity matches? The Old Batsman looks at the emotional issue of retiring gracefully through Geoff Boycott (who never played cricket in any capacity after retirement)'s experience.

Then there were the almost impossible standards he set for himself. When he was bowled by the final delivery of Michael Holding's famous over in Barbados in 1981, Boycott wrote in his tour diary: 'for the first time in my life, I can look at a scoreboard with duck against my name and not feel a profound sense of failure'. He was almost 40 years old, and made a century in the next Test.

This astonishing YouTube clip brings together  Jeff Thompson, Colin Croft, Imran Khan, Dennis Lillee et al, along with Richard Hadlee, in 1979's World's Fastest Bowler competition. Moustaches, and a groovy retro-electro soundtrack feature.

If you are unaware The Ashes are impending, you must have been sent to your room without a TV and the internet. With ten Tests bearing down on us, the Guardian has been counting down 20 greatest Ashes moments, including a cracking write up of Headingley 1981.

Whether it helped to revive a nation is really beside the point but it did emphasise how uplifting great sporting triumphs, especially ones that defy reason and disbelief, can be, a benefit for the public good, the common weal. More prosaically but equally significantly it rekindled affection for a team, the game and a singular hero.

Andy Zaltzman's look at the Champions Trophy includes remarkable Champions Trophy coin-toss-prediction feats (as effective as an octopus, but probably less tasty), and more remarkable stats:

New Zealand, in their one-wicket win over Sri Lanka, became the first team ever to win an ODI despite having five batsmen given out leg before wicket. Of the previous 19 teams to have five or more batsmen dismissed lbw in an ODI, 18 lost, and one was saved by rain after being skittled for 106, gaining a no-result.

New Zealand's win was also only the fifth ODI in which a team has triumphed despite its top seven batsmen all being out for 25 or fewer. 

I don't know about you, but this clip made us extremely nostalgic for awkward bowling actions and ball bearings.

With Thanks To

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