REVOLVER cricket, a soft ball training game started in Queensland this year, has been received well in England so far since its introduction in May. It delivers what the inventors claim -- that all players are involved all the time, which does not happen in orthodox formats.
A coach from Stanmore CC in Middlesex described Revolver as an "egalitarian" game, because all players, even the weaker ones, make important contributions. One of the flaws of orthodox cricket is that a batsman might face only a few balls, even in the Ken Barrington pairs, and might not even reach the crease at all.
In existing formats such as Kwik Cricket,the strongest players tend to dominate at the expense of the less able. This causes frustration (and anger sometimes), and periods of boredom discourage young players from the age of about 10 to about 15. Revolver solves this problem.
Revolver is interesting and ingenious because it is real cricket with a competitive edge. The idea of splitting 15 players into three teams is the key. Every batsman faces 12 balls, no more and no less, and the game is rigorously logged on a special scoresheet. Numbered coloured bibs are required and the game works best with revolving stumps and a dead soft ball such as Incredi-ball.
Revolver has been trialled by Charlie Randall at Radlett CC, the Hertfordshire club, and at Stanmore. Anyone interested in seeing this game in action is welcome to contact charlierandallcricket.com for a demonstration. This is one of the most potent developments in club cricket for a long time. If you think this must be an exaggeration, you would believe it after seeing the children enjoy a competitive Revolver game.
Graham Pulsford, a watching Radlett parent, noted that the movement in an under-10 Revolver game kept the boys on their toes. "All were involved and it seemed to hold their interest. That is very unusual at this age," he said. "Last week in a more orthodox game half the boys were lying around on the ground looking bored. Usually at the end of training the boys start rushing off when they see others starting to leave, but the boys playing Revolver didn't seem to notice."
Mark Shashoua, parent watching the same game, said: "The tracking on the scoresheet is amazing. At this age they're facing a large amount of deliveries. Otherwise they usually face much fewer. It's very good."
Arif Rahman, assistant coach at Radlett and a parent, commented: "It's quite interesting the way the game is set up. Everyone gets a fair go at bowling, batting and fielding, and I could see that the children enjoyed the game. The only thing is to get used to it."
Pulsford added: "With Revolver, however good or bad you are, you get a go at bowling and batting -- and the players know that. One young boy was virtually shunned last week in a normal game because he wasn't very good at all. He was very reluctant to play Revolver at the start. Now he says he wants to play next week. It's remarkable."