Photo feature

Wait for a pause

Lulls in the game are not necessarily dull

Nishi Narayanan  |  

Laurence Griffiths / © Getty Images

When seen from the outside, cricket looks like brief moments of action interspersed with a lot of waiting around. But for fans of the game, the pauses give them time to digest the complex and layered moves they just watched (or time to go fetch a beer, complete a crossword, or take a power nap).

In the photo above, batsman Scott Richardson and the fielders wait for bowler Jimmy Ormond to deliver the ball. From the end of every delivery to the beginning of the next, a batsman is usually left alone with his thoughts while the bowler walks back to his mark. The best of them can keep from cluttering their minds with noise, but sometimes the seeds of a dismissal are sown in this time spent alone.

© Getty Images

In Pretoria, 2005, Karen Rolton (extreme left) and other members of the Australia Women's team sit inside during a rain delay at a World Cup game. Naps, newspapers and card games used to keep players occupied; these days perhaps it's video games and discovering new emojis to use on Twitter.

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Spectators have a chat while waiting for play to begin at the SCG during the 1950-51 Ashes Test, which was wise of them because there wasn't much time to talk during the six-day match that ended in four days.

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"Wait for the ball to come to you" - an instruction that applies not only to batting but also to catching. When a fielder gets under a skier, it can feel like an eternity has passed before the ball lands in (or evades) his hands.

© PA Photos

More nerve-wracking than facing a fast bowler is the prospect of being next in line to face one. (From left) Footballer Mick Channon, sailor Chay Blyth, boxer John Stracey and footballer Colin Bell didn't have to face Holding and Co in this Superstars contest at Crystal Palace in 1974, but they look understandably jittery while waiting for their turns to bat.

Rebecca Naden / © Getty Images

The non-striker can end up as a glorified spectator if the batsman on strike is struggling to put bat on ball. But the real spectators are not going to be pleased with you if you're keeping them from watching Brian Lara bat.

Nigel French / © PA Photos

Sightscreen adjustments often hold up a game, but so can the flight plan of a flock of birds.

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Off the field, players spend a lot of their time travelling to venues. Here, Frank Tyson waits at the Northampton train station to join the England squad in Australia in 1954.

Frank Burke / © Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Fans queue up outside the SCG for the 1954-55 Ashes Test in which Tyson took a match-winning 10 for 130.

Laurence Griffiths / © Getty Images

The third umpire's decision, and DRS today, briefly blurs the line between players and spectators as everyone on the field and on TV watches what just unfolded and then waits for the verdict.

Nishi Narayanan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo