How To Get Nought!

How To Get Nought!

How club cricketers get – and deal with getting – 0.

THE SLOW DEATH

Absolute, stone-cold, rip-your-own-face-off torture for everyone involved. Your opening bat arrived at the crease with carefully rolled-up sleeves and a generous waft of body spray, but soon the promise of his appearance is revealed as a run-shy mirage.

After leaving, blocking, missing, hitting to a fielder, missing, leaving, blocking and missing for what seems like three weeks, he decides that 18-0 off 20 overs is a suitable platform from which to kick on, and promptly spoons a hostile half-volley straight to mid-off. It’s the most useful thing he’s done all day.

cricket player missing
Please mate. Do something. Anything

THE INCREDIBLE SULK

When a dodgy umpiring decision denies you a guaranteed hundred (of which you were, admittedly, yet to score a single run), one thing is clear from your foul-mouthed stomp off the field: the dressing room wall is in for some punishment.

As you leave the square you’re still in shock at the umpire’s blunder; by the time you’ve got your pads off you’ve resolved to track down his address and made detailed plans to dispose of the body.

For the rest of the innings you remain a man apart: your heavy, slumping silence is broken only by lonely walks around the boundary, where, finding a spot to sit down as far away from the pavilion as is possible while remaining in the same post code, you decide you hate not only this umpire, but all umpires, all your teammates, the game of cricket and indeed the whole of life itself.

It was a GUARANTEED hundred...
It was a GUARANTEED hundred…

THE QUICK & PAINLESS

Sometimes, there’s a man. And this man, well, he’s a boundary hitter. Or rather, he was, at one time. Sometimes. Every now and then, long ago, sometimes he hit sixes. Despite the fact that that magical match-winning 37* off 14 balls was 13 years ago, he still comes in at No.7 with the role of ‘upping the rate’ and ‘moving things along’.

His innings still have the breezy feel of his former triumphs, even if these days they’re a little heavier on breeze than triumph. “I only know one way,” he says, cheerfully resigned, returning after pinning back the ears on another glorious lofted drive, taking a hefty portion of fresh air and getting cleaned up for a harmless golden.

'Ah, well, it's the only way I know'
“I only know one way”

MR BRIGHTSIDE

He’s here to enjoy himself, and nothing’s going to stop him. Grinning manically the entire day, for Mr Brightside, dropping a catch is all part of the fun. In fact, the easier the chance, the funnier the story. And it’s the same when it comes to batting. So they can bowl where they like – he’s playing his cover drive come what may, because that’s his shot. When he predictably punches a back-of-a-length ball for a dolly back to the bowler third ball, the grin – naturally – remains. “Just wasn’t in my arc.” Oh well, nearly shower time. Then beer time. Then curry time. God, what a great day!

Happy cricketer
“Nought? Just means I get to the bar earlier”

THE MIGHTY DUCK

Nought doesn’t have to mean nothing. For a No.11 striding out with a few left to get and one job to do – hold up an end – there can be unimagined heroism in the 0 not out. “Bat on ball,” they say – all those teammates too crap to have got the thing done themselves – and there you are, heart-a-flutter, showing just how simple it actually is to just bloody well stay in when you need to. Your partner gets the runs, but he’s not the only one raising his bat when you walk off with your triumphant red-inker. You know it’s cricket when even in zero there is glory.

cricketer celebrates
Sometimes, even in zero there is glory

Any from the world of club cricket you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments section below

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3 Comments

  1. trypewriter said

    The ‘worldie’ catch and the absolute jaffa – both of which (not even exclusively) can come when you are in the baddest of bad trots. From your position back in the hutch, you watch your teammates dropped several times on their way to rather wheezy 50s while tucking into the buffet bowling that you missed out on.

    True story, an old team mate of mine got a first ball jaffa that cleaned out all his stumps. A bit grumpy, he changed out of his batting gear, then went to watch proceedings. The opening bowler was still on – and it was still the first over. ‘He’s shit, said the scorer. ‘Since that first ball it’s been all no balls and wides – he’s on his eleventh delivery…’

  2. mikebrewer said

    The Gilt-Edged Golden Duck

    Getting run out at the non-strikers end backing up is downright infuriating, whether having secured a few runs or a hundred it’s never palatable, an afternoon utterly unfulfilled.
    The ultimate humiliation in this instance is when on nought, and worse still if it is the very first piece of action after getting to the crease, or is there a silver cloud? You stride out into the middle grateful that the last chap, having skied a top edge conveniently placed for the wicket-keeper not to have to move an inch before it plops into his bucket hands, at least had the presence of mind to charge up to the other end leaving you to survey matters from the non-strikers end with the guaranteed assurance that at least you wont be out first ball, yet. In text book style you steal a few feet as the bowlers arm goes over only to freeze in disbelief as the half volley is bludgeoned by your as yet unfamilair colleague, along the ground arrow straight back up the wicket, glancing the bowlers despairing outstretched fingers before crashing into your stumps…. out first ball, well not even a ball.
    Runs; 0, Balls Faced; 0.
    But the beauty is you are utterly blameless and can bask in the knowledge that far from juggable you will be supplied with consolatory beers from team-mates for the rest of the evening.
    It’ll be time to leave though when someone inevitably points out that it was your own fault for straying out of your ground.

  3. Dom Friel said

    The inevitable. Even the teammates know it’s coming.

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