It felt like I was in a team meeting but I was just on the couch as usual. Perth Scorchers captain Adam Voges was being interviewed a few days before the historic Big Bash semi final at Perth Stadium. He’s learned stuff, he said, from two trial matches and the One Day International played at the new venue – in short the team batting first had won comfortably each time. The Scorchers tend to like bowling first but they’d obviously need to reconsider.
I watched the toss on match day perched high up in the stadium. Voges won and announced that his team would bowl. Obviously after careful consideration the Perth brains, arguably the best in the T-20 business in Australia, had decided to ignore the small sample Perth Stadium learnings*.
The decision to take to the field was quickly followed by another surprise. Mitch Marsh was to open the bowling. This decision would have been based on the fact that Marsh had bowled well in the ODI at Perth Stadium. So one stadium learning* was adopted and one ignored. Marsh’s first ball went for four it was 0/13 after one over and it was, kind of, all over.
Now it’s pushing it to say the crowd sat in stunned silence for the rest of the game – silence is not something that happens at Big Bash games when you’ve got music blasting after every ball and ground announcers saying stuff like, “Come on Scorchers fans make some noise!!!” But I can tell you the crowd noise was minimal. The batting blitz by Wade and McDermott was met only with artificial noise.
The ground announcer also tells us who the bowler is (useful), when someone hits a four or six (not useful), when someone gets out (not useful), who the new batsman is (useful) and lots and lots and lots of other useless and head shakingly annoying stuff. And there’s another person who conducts interviews we can’t hear and screeches at us to make some NOISE!
Anyway, what I’m saying is that captaincy is a funny business and that the Big Bash is better on TV.
Speaking of captaincy, in the other Big Bash semi final the Melbourne Renegades picked spinner Jon Holland in their team and didn’t give him a bowl. The TV commentators thought it was because Renegades captain Cameron White was worried about Holland bowling to left handers. They could have picked Brad Hogg, who bowls well to left handers or Matt Short who might have enabled them to score a few more runs. But captaincy is hard and it’s difficult to know if a batsman is a left hander until he takes block.
* Acknowledgement to Ross Lyon for the use of this term.