Fast Bowling Claims First Fatality in Cricket

The recent death of Phillip Hughes after he was hit by a short-pitched delivery in a local Sheffield Shield game in Sydney, Australia signifies the dangers of the modern game of cricket and the need for some changes to reduce the risks of injuries.

Hughes was hit on the back of the head in an area unprotected by his helmet. His death was an accident and the bowler Sean Abbott was in no way to blame.

Cricket is traditionally known as the gentleman's game and is supposedly to embody all that is fair and just in sport. However the commercialization of the game in the 1970's replaced sportsmanship with the principle of 'win at all costs'. This precipitated greater reliance on fast bowling as this was the most effective way of satisfying the desire to win which in turn increased the dangers to batsmen.

BODYLINE

The first major incident of dangerous short-pitched bowling was the 1932/33 Ashes tour of Australia (known as the Bodyline series). English fast bowlers Larwood and Voce, in order to counter the extraordinary skill of the great Australian batsman Don Bradman, deployed a tactical of bowling at his body on the leg side in order to get a deflection and have him taken by several fielders placed behind square leg.

This tactic proved effective but was contrary to the gentlemanly traditions of the game and over the next two decades the tactic was outlawed by the laws of cricket.

Although it was banned, Bodyline left an ugly legacy. Since then there have been numerous instances of injuries resulting from short-pitched bowling. For example, in 1962 Indian captain Nari Contractor's international career was ended after being hit by a rising ball from Charlie Griffith in Barbados. English batsman Andy Lloyd never played again after being hit by a short-pitched ball from Malcolm Marshall in 1984 at Edgbaston and England's Alex Tudor was hired by a Brett Lee delivery in Perth 2002 which also ended his career.

THE UGLY SIDE OF CRICKET

With the influx of big money into cricket in the 1970's winning became of paramount importance and teams increasingly made use of fast intimatory bowling as this was very effective in overcoming opponents. This tactic was also exciting and was seen as good for the game since it made cricket (especially one day cricket) more attractive. Teams with the most firepower always won and drew the biggest crowds.

A cricket ball consist of cork covered by leather and is hard and solid. As we saw in the case of Phillip Hughes' death it is capable of inflating serious injury if it hits a batsman in an unprotected area.

Fast bowlers bowl at speeds of 90 to 100 mph. They are strong cricketers and what they bowl amongst other unpleasant things is a delivery called the 'bouncer'. They produce this by banging the ball into the middle of the pitch with all the strength they can muster so that it rears up to chest or head height as it reaches the batsman. The purpose of it is to drive fear into the mind of the batsman so that he is convinced that, all things considered, he is better off in seeking the safety of the pavilion. You do not bowl at the jumps but aim at scalps.

In the mid 1970's the most famous pair of practitioners of fast bowling violence were Australians Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee. In two consecutive winters they humiliated England and the West Indies and propelled Australia to the pinnacle of world cricket. At home they bowled on wickets specifically prepared for them, in front of crowds that yelled "kill, kill, kill" and were aided by native umpires that wave visiting batsmen little protection.

After their 5-1 thrashing to Australia in 1975/76 the West Indies quickly learned the lesson that it was fast bowlers that won matches. They learned their lesson well. They tweaked the tactic and sinceforth deployed an all pace bowling attack working in tandem with each other with the idea that incessant pace would wear down batsmen and make it more difficult to protect not only their wickets but also their personal safety. This new tactic led to the West Indies' domination of cricket for nearly two decades.

CHANGES NEEDED

Bowling that thratens the body has become an accepted part of the struggle between bat and ball in modern cricket.

It is unfortunate that Phillip Hughes paid the ultimate price for playing the game he loved. To avoid a repetition of this tragedy new changes have to be made to provide more safety for batsmen:

First, young players need to learn how to evade or play short-pitched bowling. Because of the prevalence of one day cricket there is too much front-foot play and no knowledge of how to play faster bowlers off the back-foot or how to duck or sway to avoid a ball (ABConline – Phillip Hughes injury: Attacking focus and lack of evasive techniques putting youngger cricketers at risk of injury; by Rene Ferdinands, November 26, 2014).

Second, cricket helmets are not foolproof and their design needs to be altered to provide more protection for unprotected areas such as the back of the head so as to avoid a repetition of the Hughes tragedy.

Third, umpires need to make more use of their powers and enforce the laws of the game more strictly especially in stopping the overuse of bouncers.

Contrary to what some people suggest there is no need to change the rules and outlaw short-pitched bowling. Some amount of fear needs to be maintained as a part of the game but hopefully the price to keep it will not be too high.

Victor A. Dixon
December 2, 2014

Soccer Fitness – The Common Characteristic in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final Four Teams

The world cup quarter final games of late have been very exciting and dramatic to the least. Soccer fitness has certainly been very noticeable from my perspective as a major reason the four remaining teams are in the semifinal games. It will also be an important part of the finals.

The ability to perform repeated sprints with minimal recovery was key in Germany's victory over Argentina. This was very evident as the game progressed in to the second half. Any time Germany attacked and lost the ball they were quick to return and defend. Unfortunately Argentina appeared to fade as the game went on. They lost the ability to attack and defend with the same intensity.

This quality for soccer fitness is invaluable. A soccer player that is able to sprint and recover quickly regardless of the position he or she plays makes a difference towards the end of the game.

The soccer fitness level of the Netherlands grew as the game against Brazil carried on. It was as though the Brazilian players were being worn down as the Netherlands were relentless on their attack. Sprint and recover, sprint and recover and sprint and recover appeared to be the motive of the Netherland attackers up front. Unfortunately for Brazil they were unable to slow the game down or turn up a notch or two as many would have expected.

In the two other quarter final games it appeared to me that Spain, Paraguay, Uruguay and Ghana were fairly level with their fitness levels.

This makes it quite obvious that soccer is a game of power and speed and should be trained that way regardless of the age or gender of the soccer player. There are several ways to get into this type of condition:

1) Soccer players may perform interval training by changing the intensity, movement and recovery for soccer fitness drills. An example would be forward sprints for 10 seconds with twenty seconds recovery for a certain number of repetitions.
2) Repeated sprints of distance of 10M-40M
3) In season 3v3, 2v3, 4v4 or 3v4 at high intensities for time or goals then a short active recovery in the form of light individual dribbling then repeat again.

By doing these three things the ability to attack and defend with out being tired improvements soccer fitness over the season and creates the stamina necessary to last an etern soccer game

IPL Vs ICC World Cup Cricket!

While most of the ICC World Cup-2019 squads of various nations are having or are going to have training camps soon for the all-important event India continue to have just Indian Premiere League (IPL-2019). Well…

That Virat Kohli continued to captain Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) even after the most disgraceful proceedings as far as the team performances are concerned has obvious reason. Being a superlative cricketer that he is and also being Team India captain Virat had been the star attraction of the IPL-2019. Therefore, despite the upsetting losses he was still having most of the commercial time on the air along with some of his non-performers, and an appetizing element of suspense being maintained by the cricketing experts or the media or the spectators that he might stage a comeback for his franchise yet, and who knows..! For similar reasons in terms of money and glamour Indian cricketers just could not leave the IPL halfway while many of the other international cricketers had already left or were leaving for training or preparatory camps of their respective countries. A camp should ideally be one-month long, and most countries were following that in right earnest. However, the last match of IPL scheduled on 12th May, 2019 Team India didn’t have even a fortnight to prepare with the ICC World Cup-2019 staring on 30th May, 2019 in England and Wales. Further, there had been no news so far if there was indeed going to be an Indian camp or not.

IPL has been an enigma in different ways. Many cricket experts and some sports journalists believed that competitive IPL was providing good enough match practice for the coming international tournament. This was a highly contentious issue. The format of T20 is entirely different with the bowlers not able to bowl more than 4 overs each, and batsmen desperately trying to hit sixes or fours with the little time available. How is it going to provide good practice to score as well as stick on the fast England pitches in the one-day international (ODI) or 50-over matches? Besides, stalwarts like Sourav Ganguly kept on making controversial statements intermixing T20 with the ODI format. Ganguly, going gaga over a match winning innings of Rishav Pant recently, said that this world cup was not the end of the road for him, there will more to follow in at least 15 years to come, adding to the astonishing hype created over the non-selection of Pant for the World Cup-2019. A few days later he said that the form of Virat Kohli in this IPL was no indication for the coming World Cup. Well, it was all of a matter of convenience to analyze IPL in the intended ways as was evident from such comments. The day or rather the night when RCB got finally knocked out of the tournament some media personnel were very quick to add that now Virat Kohli should concentrate only on preparing for the World Cup!

God forbid, the IPL could be the biggest stumbling block for the World Cup as far Team India’s performance in that event is concerned. Competitive club bonanza is no match for the international event where pride of nation is much more important than money and glitz. On the other hand if some players had benefited from the IPL they all belonged to rival teams. For example, Warner and Smith from Australia prospered very well just after coming back from serving a one-year ban for the ball-tampering scandal, good batting practice, and now the preparatory camp in addition; some of the Caribbean cricketers also benefited hugely from this tournament with a few of them making it to the World Club squad, and now going to have the training camp too. Only Indian cricketers had toiled like maniacs on slow-flat domestic pitches with no road to exit, and now will be leaving for England without any preparation in terms of physical conditioning. And also, they would definitely be fated to face the superstars created by this IPL in rival teams in the coming international event.

Whichever way it goes, Team India is still favored hugely to lift the World Cup-2019, and we believe too in that positivity. If Virat had problems in IPL captaincy he will have Dhoni and Rohit on his side in the World Cup. However, we still lament the possible lack of any preparatory camp for India to land in England reactivated sans the IPL hangover. And then, this time the ICC World Cup will be fought on a round-robin basis with each of the 10 teams playing each other once, and the top four teams making it to the semi-final stage. This promises to be a saga of super cricketing rivalry with the first match taking place on 30th May, 2019. Happy cricketing times to all the lovers of this game.

Top 5 Windows PC Games

The free to play PC games phenomenon has changed the gaming landscape over the past few years. Now even +++ rated games are challenged by free to play games. There are innumerable kind of games available today to play free on your system. It contains all sort of games. This free to play games list is long and here we can discuss the top 5 Windows PC games. In fact, games are considered to be the great source of entertainment.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2016: This is widely played football video game for last 20 years and admired by millions of users. Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2016 is the official video game of UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Europa League. This award-winning series is returned packed with all new features in 2016 edition. Completely overhauled «Master League», new night time lighting and player models, improved human motion, dynamic weather features, deeper team intelligence and lot has been added to this version.

Dota 2: Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) is a modified version of the old game Warcraft 3. Dota is the game of strategy and action. This is played by millions of passionate fans worldwide professionally and casually. You can pick a hero from the pool of heroes, form two teams of five players and battle with counterparts to control a fantasy landscape. It supports stealth, cunning, and outright warfare. In this game, every hero has an array of capabilities and skills. This game provides brilliant gaming experience.

Killer Instinct: This game has arrived packed with all new features. Rocking reactive music, over-the-top action, a wild cast of combatants, all new visuals and commendable C-C-C-COMBO Breakers it carries all fantastic features which make it one of the most admired games. You can choose from long list of combatants with various animations, exclusive combat tactics, and special attacks. It offers online multiplayer cross play, free fighter, powerful combatants, customization options, 20 stages and lot more. Above all, you can play it anywhere with the Cloud between Xbox and Windows 10.

Angry Birds: This is one of the most played and admired games in the world. Millions of users have enjoyed this game. It takes you back in old times into galaxy far away. Where a group of rebel birds faced off against the Empire’s evil Pigtroopers. It allows you to enjoy the adventure with Angry Birds in the legendary Star Wars universe. You need to fight Pigtroopers to finally face off against the terrifying Darth Vader. It is the fight to become a Jedi master and restore freedom to the galaxy.

Asphalt 8 Airborne: This game is played by millions of users over time. With 140+ official speed machines, stunning graphics, ultimate multiplayer racing experience this arcade game play at its finest. It offers you 400+ career events, 1500 car mastery challenges, five unique game modes, 40+ high-speed tracks and lot more. It allows interaction between the vehicles, environment. You can experience multiplayer action for up to 12 opponents.

The above-mentioned games are just a glimpse of the long list of amazing PC games available today. You can choose games of your choice from different categories. In fact, there are hundreds and thousands of games that are available for almost each category. Play these games to learn and entertain yourself for good reasons.

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Best Football Teams In Bulgaria

Football is religion for this small country. Throughout its communist times, the Bulgarian nation managed to preserve its nationality and freedom exactly through supporting the country’s favourite football club – Levski Sofia named after the apostle of Bulgarian freedom from Ottoman rule, established in 1914. Known under many different names throughout the years, broken down and dissolved in an attempt to subdue the enthusiasm and empower the communist motto «If you’re not with us, you are against us» and stomp on the basic human rights to support a team they love, Levski Sofia football club has managed to perservere and come out on top in today’s society. It has won 26 Bulgarian Championship titles, only beaten by its rival CSKA Sofia. Famous football icons such as Gundi and Gonzo who played internationally have captained the team and have taken it to worldwide fame. Gerena stadium is the main stadium of Levski Stadium with capacity of 19,000.

The other mostly supported Bulgarian team is CSKA Sofia. Its history is a little different to Levski’s as they were the Army’s team in the past – supported by the government in power and managed by the very same. Considering they have won 31 title in the shorter history, founded in 1934, it is only fair to consider the fact that during communist times they were pushed to victories in order to maintain the control of the governing party by proving to the ordinary citizen that the leading party is the almighty powerful tool that is to lead them. If we put that aside, CSKA has provided one of the top quality footballers on a worldwide level, including Hristo Stoichkov and Dimitar Berbatov, one playing for Barcelona, reaching 4th place with Bulgarian national team and winning the Golden Ball award and the other playing for top clubs like Tottenham, Manchester United and Monaco and winning the Champions League, respectively. CSKA Sofia has a great academy for youngsters and is known to promote young footballers and develop them to become great professionals.

The most famous, risen to infamousy football club recently is Ludogoretz. It’s owner is Kiril Domuschiev, a wealthy businessman that funds the club and supplies it with a budget nearly 5 times as large as the second to it in terms of finance. Their main strategy is to acquire footballers from abroad, primarily African regions and Brazil and use them to dominate in the local championship. Results speak for themselves, Ludogoretz has been a champion for the past 4 years since it emerged in the Group A of the Bulgarian football league. They played in the Champions League groups last year narrowly losing to Liverpool and Real Madrid and beating Basel on home turf. The team resembles Manchester City and Real Madrid in terms of management and is the top club in Bulgaria at the moment.

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