Not Cricket

The legendary cricketer Harold Larwood once generously agreed to take part in a charity match. It soon became apparent that the umpire regarded Larwood's bowling with some disfavor. After a dead-straight ball was intercepted by the batsman's pad, Larwood, confident of an out on the leg-before-wicket rule, called out, "How's that?" "Not out," the umpire declared. Larwood bowled again, faster this time, and the batsman slashed at the ball, snicked it, and sent it straight into the wickerkeeper's gloves. "How's that?" called Larwood again. "Not out," the umpire declared.

Hearing this, Larwood, irate, took a full run and, unleashing his deadly fast delivery, blasted the batsman's wicket from the ground, bails and stumps flying through the air. Larwood then turned to the umpire: "I damned near got him that time."

[In 2003, Cranfield University's Centre for Sports Surfaces in Bedfordshire launched a PhD course on improving the performance of cricket pitches. "There are few sports where the playing surface is so critical and scrutinised as in the game of cricket," explained the Centre's director Dr Iain James. "Cranfield University will apply its expertise in soil mechanics and soil water physics to determine the optimum conditions for cricket pitch preparation."]

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