Holdingwilley The second best way to enjoy cricket

I'm with the BPL

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This year’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) has been more enjoyable than any other Twenty 20 series I’ve seen, ever.  Why? To give a bit of context, I’m a red ball cricket chap, to the extent that I disagree with many current cricket commentators and would rather have a five day Test ending in a, hopefully close, draw than four innings in three days as has happened too often in Test matches in 2015. On the other hand, I can happily enjoy all forms of cricket and my previously published[1] position is, “I don’t mind what the result is, provided it is good cricket”.  

I’ve watched a fair bit of white ball cricket over the years, both 50 overs and T20. I’ve enjoyed watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) develop over the last half dozen years, not only tactically, but also in how the cricket is presented on television. It’s old hat now, but I recall how the Indians, given free rein in their own domestic competition, made the Kerry Packer style pyjamas as worn by the rest of the world look positively dowdy. From the beginning, gold was a favourite, predominant, particularly on pads and helmets, combined with one or more bright colours. This is not criticism, but recognition that Asian and European visual tastes differ, and it should not be forgotten that it was Asian designs, particularly on cotton, that besotted the Victorian era.  

Furthermore, just as bio-diversity is undoubtedly a good thing environmentally, so anything that combats globalised style monoculture, World McDonaldisation, is equally a good thing.

While merely a matter of personal and cultural preferences, I attend, albeit electronically, IPL matches for the (often very good) cricket and quickly find the additional razzamatazz tedious and distracting. I’d rather see what the players are doing between balls rather than smoke, dancing flames, or dancing girls, although the dancing enthusiasm of IPL crowds certainly provides suitable television atmosphere, but between overs, thank you. I also note how other countries have copied the IPL style. I think it was the Australian Big Bash at the beginning of the year where there was much commentary concern about birds being barbequed by the flaming flame effects; they obviously prefer their lumps of animal dead before them putting on the barbie (thus speaks a long term vegetarian).

What has delighted me about the BPL this year has been the differences between it and the IPL. There’s been little razzamatazz and the cameras, apparently they use 24 of them, have shown what is happening on the cricket field, with occasional crowd shots. The television editing has been particularly consistent, which is good for a number of reasons, most importantly that using a similar sequence of camera shots emphasises the rhythm of a match, within and between overs.  

I pay more attention to this than most people, although everyone will recognise the universal camera sequence of the bowler on his run up and the cut to the shot from somewhere above and behind the bowler’s head, down the wicket, as the ball is bowled. In the BPL the camera sequence at the fall of a wicket is, within context, invariant. I can attest to this as I’ve learned to exploit it so as to be able to take many successful screen grabs that I’ve distributed on Twitter.  

Not only electronically, but the crowds at the ground have been near ideal. I’d watched Bangladesh home Test matches previously so this is what I expected of the Tiger People. Good ground attendance, with clearly knowledgeable and definitely enthusiastic crowds, but with a dab of decorum which, I admit, has a British feel to it. As a topic close to my metaphorical heart, I note with pleasure that the gender balance within the crowds is also better than I observe in many other parts of the world.

 

 

A common mistake is to think that the best cricket is played by the best sides in the world.

I observe “Good Cricket” at many levels and that the BPL is a domestic competition has not prevented a great deal of good cricket being played. It is also good that the BPL has been able to attract some top class international stars; Kumar Sangakkara being a personal favourite of mine.

If I have a mission in my public presentations about cricket, it is that I want to promote all forms of the game, played at all levels, by all sorts of people, including women, children, the disabled, etc. I have, and will continue, my time permitting, to promote the BPL and encourage people beyond just Bangladesh supporters to enjoy the Good Cricket that is on offer.  

On Thursday, 3rd December, 2015, a Test match started and in the past, preferring red ball cricket, I would normally have followed this. I’ve a free day, but I’ve enjoyed the BPL so much that, after writing this article, I will be with the BPL for the day. How can I recommend it more strongly than that?

[1] Diaper, D. Watching Cricket on the Radio. New Generation Publishing.



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Dr. Dan Diaper is X-Professor of Systems Science and Engineering, a psychologist and previously Hea...

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