There is an awful lot of anxious waiting time in cricket. For those who don’t "get it", it looks like a very long wait for nothing to happen, but we all know that something does happen — eventually. Though it might not be much. One of the most underrated "waits" is the one endured by the reluctant nightwatchman, because he gets the double-whammy. First he has to wait until the agreed time before he is officially "on duty" — say, 20 minutes before the close of play — and then he has to sit through the agony of every delivery, usually observed through a haze of nervous perspiration. Sadly, the reluctant nightwatchman has become the rarest species in the game — sad because they provide one of the funniest sights in cricket. These days pretty much everyone can bat and, even worse, most tailenders actually want to get in earlier than usual and back themselves to score 50 the following morning. There’s something very comforting and reassuring about a cricketer being genuinely incompetent ...

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