Cricbuzz: The Rock Band
A 2009 article about The Duckworth Lewis Method from Cricbuzz.
Duckworth Lewis Method - The Rock Band
To an outsider, the complicated world of cricket can seem mundane and impenetrable and the last thing that a rock musician would write an album about.
But this has not deterred Irish musical all-rounders Neil Hannon, best known for his work with The Divine Comedy, and Thomas Walsh, member of the band Pugwash, from taking up the challenge.
Performing under the name Duckworth Lewis Method, after the complex mathematical technique used to set a target for rain-interrupted matches, the pair have penned a tribute to the ancient game, just in time for the Ashes.
“There’s a complete absence of cricket songs,” Hannon explained to AFP. “Because of its long and varied history it lends itself to good writing. There’s so many subtleties to it.”
They are bidding to join a limited group of cricket-themed songs, including 10CC’s hit “Dreadlock Holiday” featuring the line “I don’t like cricket, I love it”, and Lord Beginner’s 1950 calypso hit “Victory Test Match,” written after the West Indies first Test win on English soil.
The album’s release this week coincides with the start of the oldest and most bitterly fought sporting competition in world sport.
England and Australia will do battle over five Tests, potentially 150 hours of fierce competition, to claim the coveted urn, which is currently held by Australia.
“I think England ought to win but I wouldn’t like to venture by how much,” Hannon said.
“Half the reason we made this album about cricket is that it represents something that goes against the incredible pace of modern existence,” he added. “You can just sit and exist, it’s like meditation.”
“We’re living in a Twittery world where everything is ridiculously instant and pared down to the minutest degree,” bandmate Walsh added. “Cricket is the complete opposite of that.”
The surge in popularity of cricket in Ireland, where it was long derided as a symbol of British colonialism, has been due to impressive performances by the national team and the popularity of Twenty20, the shortest form of the game.
“Maybe people will stop thinking of cricket as just an English thing because it’s not. If that was the case why do so many ex-empire countries play it and beat England regularly.
“People are coming to us and saying ‘I’ve always loved the game, I’ve just been afraid to say it,’” Walsh added. “Ireland beating Pakistan (during the 2007 One Day World Cup) on St Patrick’s Day was incredible.
“We’re not making any political statement, it’s just good that countries took the game from Britain and said: ‘We can play it this way.’ That’s what makes the game brilliant.”
There is concern among fans that the razzmatazz and instant excitement of Twenty20 cricket, which rewards risk-taking and power-hitting, could dilute the appeal of the more studious five-day Test match version.
“It’s a worry but I think there’s a large enough number of real fans who know that Test cricket is the absolute pinnacle of sport,” Hannon claimed.
The duo, who picked their name as it sounded like “a psychedelic band name of the highest order,” have received glowing endorsements from ex-players Michael Atherton and leading cricket commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins.
Most importantly Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, the statisticians who conceived the mathematical theory, have voiced their approval.
“They sent us a lovely mail saying: ‘We’re very honoured you took the name, we think the album’s great and wish you every success’,” Walsh said.
One player yet to respond is former England captain Mike Gatting, who is the subject of the track “Jiggery Pokery,” which deals with the batsman’s ignominious dismissal by then unknown leg-spinner Shane Warne.
The “ball of the century,” delivered during the first Test of the 1993 Ashes series in Manchester, signalled the arrival of the greatest leg-spinner of all time and helped to cement 16 years of Australian Ashes dominance.
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