I don’t like cricket…

“Now I’m the first to admit I’m no A.B., if truth be told some days I struggle just to get from A to B”. In this blog, with the cricket season upon us, Tim Jarvis runs through his application to make his school staff team and reflects on the contribution schools make to the sport.


The Michaelmas term is behind us which means it’s cricket season. Many school coaches love this time. For some of them it’s because they have an intense passion and love for the game. For others it’s because the weather is invariably glorious all week, before giving way to pouring rain on Saturday creating a free weekend.

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Last year, our Master in Charge of cricket organised a 1st XI v Staff match and sent out an e-mail asking which teachers would like to be considered for the staff team. “Now I’m the first to admit I’m no A.B., if truth be told some days I struggle just to get from A to B”, let alone from wicket to wicket, but I am an enthusiast. I know my Arsenal from my Edgebaston, so to speak, and my Duminy from my de Kock.  So nothing daunted I sent in my reply. It went something like this:

Dear Sir,

I would like to make application to be considered for this team. I have included below some of the highlights of my sporting and cricketing CV.

All round ability:

  • In my high school I once ran the 100m in a wind assisted time of 16,97s. Although I don’t have the same turn of pace today I can still cover good ground when tea is taken.
  • I consider myself an all-rounder but not only because of my aforementioned enthusiasm for tea. 

Fielding:

  • It should be clear from the above that my work in the field needs to be seen to be believed.
  • In terms of catching, my last Captain remarked that I have the uncanny ability to always be in the right place for catches as the ball unerringly finds me.  He adds that it’s a pity that I have not actually caught any of them, but as I always say you have to be in it to win it.
  • I do struggle to get the ball into the keeper but the same Captain now insists on placing me right on the boundary (sometimes even over it if we have enough for a 12th man). 

Bowling:

  • I bowl right arm around the wicket, although I can bowl over it and, on a couple of memorable occasions have even bowled through it.
  • I have a very good slower ball. I don’t agree with my Captain that I need more variety as I believe in playing to one’s strengths.file-1
  • Due to my high levels of energy conservation I have the ability to bowl for long periods of time to hold up one end. I have been known to bowl for as long as three and even four over spells when in peak condition.
  • Although in limited overs cricket I go for an average of 14.1 runs an over I feel that this is a misleading statistic. Batsmen actually find it very hard to score off me, as a lot of these runs are in the form of extras.

Batting:

  • This is where I really come into my own. From an early age I have occupied the Number 11 position on the rare occasions that I have been promoted up the order from Number 12.
  • My career best score was achieved back in 1999 where I built an almost chanceless innings to get to triple digits. (By triple digits, I mean three singles.)
  • I once faced a full over of slow to medium pace as effectively as an opening batsman, in that I did not score but saw off the bowler (Despite my Captain’s protestations, I feel that the fact that it was the last over of a T20 game is not relevant).
  • My batting average is statistically 0.72 but I believe this is artificially low due the fact that I once got 5 golden ducks in a row (itself a Herefordshire County schools record).
  • I can play the pull shot very effectively. In fact I can only play the pull shot, this make for clear, unambiguous shot selection.

As you can see I have much to offer your team. I hope you will consider me for selection and I look forward to your reply.

Needless to say I was not invited to play (my intention all along of course), so an enthusiast as opposed to an exponent I remain. Cricket is not an easy sport to take up or maintain. It demands lots of time (from both coaches and players), requires lots of technical skill, needs lots of space, the right playing surface and equipment. Schools, it would seem uniquely positioned, to provide just that.

Sean Gilson in nets
Sean Gilson (Dolphins U19) batting in the nets

According to Paul Guthrie, schools representative of Cricket South Africa, “Schools in New Zealand, Australia and England are envious of the South African Schools’ set-up due to its competitiveness and solid structures in place. Many Protea players have come through this structure over the years and it continues to serve South African Cricket well. Players such as Kagiso Rabada , and the recent inclusion of Lungi Ngidi are a good indication that the schools system is producing top cricketers for our national team.”

Long may this situation last. For all the coaches out there this term, I hope you get enough good weather for plenty of play, along with the odd rain induced free weekend to keep you sane.

We don’t like cricket, we love it.

 

 

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