Wednesday, 10 September 2014


I am currently reading a book about Bodyline. I have probably read a dozen of them.

Sometimes in the comments section of blogs or on Cricinfo you get some pommy bloke bigging up Jardine as if the guy is some kind of hero because he 'won' the Ashes.

I find it difficult to see Bodyline as anything other than cheating.

There are a lot of aspects of a game of cricket - traditions, conventions, interpretations of rules, codes of behaviour - that aren't written down. And no wonder, have you seen the laws of cricket? Its long enough as it is.

Apart from the rules, in cricket there is an expectation that you will have a bit of nous, and won't deliberately breach these conventions.

No-one before Jardine ever stacked the close leg field and then told his bowlers to rip it into the batsmen's chest and head. There was no rule against it. People just thought if you did that, you'd have to be a proper arse. Indeed, they thought you'd have to be such an arse they could not conceive that anyone would do it, and hence they devised no rules for it. They just assumed it wouldn't happen.

I'll tell you what else is not against the rules. Pinging the ball at the batsmen's head when they are running between wickets. Or just standing there for that matter. There is absolutely nothing in the laws of cricket that says a fieldsmen can't pick up the ball, take careful aim, and peg it straight into a bloke's head. Obviously this in itself would not get the batsman out. But it would certainly disturb him. And if you kept doing it, eventually the bloke would be knocked unconscious or killed outright and then you wouldn't have to get his wicket, anyway, would you? He'd be off like Oldfield.

Doing that sounds pretty callous and completely absurd and of course no-one would do it. If they did, it would in a very short period be considered cheating. They would write new rules to stop anyone from doing it.

I know this, because that's what they did with Bodyline.

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