Rewatching that slow-motion Michael Holding footage, I was struck by how often the producers cut to a shot from behind the batsman (that is, facing the bowler). You very rarely see that point of view nowadays, except in replays. It’s usually accepted that the best angle is the one behind the bowler’s arm. Does anyone know when this change happened? And does everyone think it works aesthetically?
A few observations: 1) I’ve grown used to the angle, so much so that I resented (as did J.Rod) the off-kilter “free hit” camera angle that the World Cup producers used. Didn’t understand the logic there. I also didn’t much like it when broadcasters used a running camera that trailed the bowler’s run-up from the side. It was fun, initially, but it seemed more like a gimmick than anything useful. 2) One problem, however, is that the bowler-arm-view makes it harder to understand why batsmen do what they do. Watching a ball from a batsman’s angle, I argue, gives you a better sense of the effect of a ball’s line and length.
There’s a bigger issue here, of course: how do representations of cricket affect/mediate the game’s reality? As a youngster, I remember facing a faster bowler and constantly failing against him. I could barely see the ball before it inevitably hit my stumps. It made me think about how different it seemed when I watched cricket on TV and I could track the ball and its movements. What would a cricket match feel like if we cut out all slow-motion replays?