Tottenham play cricket part 2: Expert view on Dier’s keeping skills, Kane vs Hart... and Dele Alli’s bowling

Will Macpherson
·6 min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur/Youtube)
(Tottenham Hotspur/Youtube)

Top of the league, you’re having a net. Yep, the Spurs lot have been playing cricket again.

Earlier this week, they gave us just one delivery to enjoy – and boy, did we dissect it.

Now they have gone full bore, sharing a nine-minute YouTube vid and clipping up two minutes to go viral on the socials.

This time it’s a whole different story with specialist production, including ball-tracking and Hawkeye, not reliant on CCTV.

More minutes of footage means much more to unpack, so here we go.

Conditions

As we warned in our last report, the pitch does not appear to break up the more it’s played on. Still flat and true. The fielders have taken note that you need to set a very straight field at Hotspur Way, with lots of protection down the ground.

Eric Dier and the keeping gloves

These were perhaps the first thing to really stand out about the whole wondrous business. It seems there is quite a deep attachment here. Literally no one else wears them, which marks Dier out as a Proper Keeper.

Dier is not the only keeper, but he is the only wearer of the keeping gloves. When he bats, the gloveless Gareth Bale, a specialist slip fielder, stands in behind the stumps. He is probably actually a better keeper than Dier. Bale takes a really sharp catch to dismiss Matt Doherty (who really isn’t much good at anything cricket-related, more of which later) and as he poses for the cameras, Dier ambles back into shot putting the gloves back on as if he might just have had a leak.

While we’re at it, we should talk about Dier’s batting.

Tottenham Hotspur/Youtube
Tottenham Hotspur/Youtube

He’s a hard-hitting batsman (as he should be, being a wicketkeeper), but boy does he know where his off-stump is (see pic). That truly is one of the great leaves. As soon as he is finally dismissed, he turns to take up his rightful spot behind the stumps.

Would be a great shame not to see Eric Dier (†) on Spurs teamsheets from now on.

Celebrate good times

Up at Hotspur Way, the game of cricket has collided with football celebrations, and it’s joyous. Harry Kane might be the first batsmen to have ever pumped his fists after a fielder dropped him, while Dier gives it the big ones after a cut shot nails Jack Clarke on the body at silly point.

Sergio Reguilon – not even the bowler, just a random fielder – does an actual knee slide when Kane is dismissed, reminiscent of Tim Bresnan’s legendary Roses moment in 2017. More of this sort of thing.

Could this all be down to Ben Davies? (Hear us out). As Spurs Cricket hysteria gripped the sporting world, it emerged that Davies once described himself as “a half-decent cricketer back in the day” who “was a wicketkeeper [EDITOR’S NOTE: was he too scared to tell Dier?] and scored a couple of centuries” and is now President of his old club Ynysygerwn CC near Swansea.

Ynysygerwn appears to have a bit of form for heavy sledging. In 2010, Glamorgan banned members of the club from attending its county matches after home and away players were abused by the crowd in a match against Sussex at Swansea.

Fresh blood

A noticeable aspect of the new video is the number of Tottenham’s new signings that are involved in the cricket japes. There was some surprise when Spurs brought in Hart from the Burnley bench, but it all seems clear now. Bale, Reguilon and Doherty were also all summer signings. Are Spurs top of the league because of cricket?

Reguilon really is the cricketing hero we had no idea we needed.

Tottenham Hotspur/YouTube
Tottenham Hotspur/YouTube

He is the very beating heart of the whole event. And not just for the knee slide. Reguilon spends much of the game stood at midwicket banging away on a piece of gym kit he is using as a bongo, stepping away momentarily as the ball is bowled. As soon as he knows he is not involved in the action, he goes back to drumming.

Then there’s the run out attempt. With Kane out of his ground, he has a shy at the stumps from range. He is genuinely gutted when he misses, showing great game awareness. Reguilon seems so into the game that it’s got to be possible that he withdraws from the Spain squad for the Euros next summer in a bid to get a game in the Middlesex League. His game is a work in progress, but there’s no doubt he will put in that work. When he finally gets a bowl, he gets panned, but responds with a smile.

Doherty covers himself in less glory. His bowling gets some treatment (although he does appear to be able to turn it both ways and uses his crease well), he drops a couple of sitters and the highlight of his batting was the way he twiddled the stick in his hand like Alec Stewart. When he’s dismissed, his team-mates let him know about it with a chorus of “embarrassing”.

Kane v Hart

Now we turn to our more established characters. It is absolutely clear that Harry Kane v Joe Hart is the premier battle on the Spurs Cricket scene.

Kane, frankly, is a nightmare. He runs the show at this joint. He stands his ground strongly after appearing plumb in front (although some dubious DRS footage would have saved him) and he plays some nice shots.

It’s clear that the fielders know Kane is the prized wicket around here so they turn to the gun quick, Hart. When he is preparing to come on, his team-mate go nuts in slack-jawed anticipation for some true theatre. They are right, he does bowl a bit like Mitchell Johnson. He starts with two bumpers to let Kane know he’s there, then cleans him up with an absolute peach worth every inch of Reguilon’s kneeslide.

As soon as Kane’s finally out, he’s bowling – it’s like playing cricket with your nasty older brother. He has a bowl at Hart, and manages to dismiss him, but the batsman has cause to be aggrieved. It’s a sensational pull shot that leads to his downfall, caught off the legside wall. Hart is a rare thing – the left-arm bowler who bats right-handed.

The other old favourites

Harvey White plays a few more lovely strokes, and takes a sharp catch at slip to get rid of Dier. Jack Clarke shows there’s more than just off-spin in his armoury with some seam off the wrong foot, a la Mike Procter.

And then there’s Dele Alli, the man who started all this. The bloke really cannot bowl and we are yet to see him bat, but if there’s a deflected catch to be taken, he really is your man – there’s another beauty off the roof to get rid of White, a batsman who just cannot catch a break.

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