Openers Only!


This article is about something I hate. It’s about something that I detest seeing when playing village cricket and came to my attention again whilst reading Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket…

This article is about those players that open the batting and the bowling… in the same match!

I find it so rude that a player would accept doing it, particularly at amateur level. You’ve got eleven guys or probably some guys and boys, or gals and girls even, they’ve all paid to play but it’s a one-man show. Players should be presented with opportunity and responsibility, it’s no good hiding them.

Every year we receive a survey from the ECB asking us why participation in our game is declining?

Maybe it’s because the players who are filling in for those that have already abandoned the sport are left to bat at number eleven and not bowl. I play in the Nidderdale League and the Harrogate and District Evening League. The following would be my suggestions for some rule changes:

  1. No player shall open both the batting and the bowling. A player may open the batting and bowl from the third over or alternatively they may bat at three and open the bowling.
  2. Any player scheduled to bat at numbers nine, ten or eleven must bowl at least one over. (Specific leniencies would be put in place for weather affected matches as well as those that don’t go the distance)
  3. In the Nidderdale League we play 45-overs per side with a bowler allowed a maximum of 12 overs. Either play 50 overs with a ten over cap or if playing 45 overs then have a nine over cap. This would initially level the playing field whilst at the same time developing players and making competition stronger in the long term. A necessity to use five not just four bowlers would also help rule 2, i.e; kids not making up the numbers just to field and losing interest in playing cricket altogether.

Of course there are those players that turn up every week under the impression that they have a divine right to bowl 12 overs. These players wouldn’t vote to stop that and neither would their clubs. The club sides want their best players to have as much opportunity as possible to help them win but surely it’d be better to get more players involved and by involved, I mean involved. Otherwise teams will continue to fold, we’ll end up playing seven players per side in a small league with small divisions and be playing against the same teams every few weeks.

I am not a very good cricketer but even if I was the main man at a club, I’d like to think that I’d have enough about me to channel Meat Loaf and say “I would do anything for you skip, but I won’t do that, no I won’t do that”.

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