bowling to the field side

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Marinka, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Marinka Senior Member

    French - France
    Hi all,

    Is there any cricket fan who can tell me what "bowling to the field side" means? Or better what this figurative expression means when not speaking about cricket?

    If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that - pray excuse cricketing argot - there is no point in bowling to the fielding side.

    Thanks
    Marina

     
  2. Redshade Banned

    UK
    English.
    Hi Marinka.

    It would be a pretty futile thing to do.

    It is the fielding side that does the bowling.

    To the batting side.
     
  3. Marinka Senior Member

    French - France
    Thanks for the explanation but I still don't see what the sentence means :

    If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that - pray excuse cricketing argot - there is no point in doing futile things ???
     
  4. mrsroynie Senior Member

    Montréjeau, France
    English - British
    Exactly!
     
  5. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    There is a cricketing term, to bowl to one's field: this means to bowl in such a way that the batsmen will be inclined to play the ball to the fielders; if you are going to bowl down one side to the batsmen, you place most of the fielders on that side.

    I have tried not to be very technical and I hope this is clear. What is not clear to me is whether this is truly a cricketing metaphor, despite the journalist's remark. Notice incidentally that the journalist got the term (fielding side) right, but Marinka transcribed it incorrectly.

    I actually think he's using a cricketing metaphor in a much more crude sense. To bowl is seen as to attack, to criticize, and the batting side are the government, the guys who get a chance to play the shots. The statement is just saying, therefore, that there's no point in criticizing the people who aren't in power. He would have been better off saying that, in my view, and leaving cricket out of it.
     
  6. Redshade Banned

    UK
    English.
    Hi TT.

    I am aware of the "bowling to the field" tactic but did not want to confuse things.

    The original quote is "bowling to the fielding side" which is a meaningless phrase whatever the writer intended to convey.

    I think we agree that the journalist was not having one of his better days.
     
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't see the difficulty with this expression.

    It comes from the Sri Lankan Sunday Leader, which clearly believes its role is to criticise the government, not the opposition.
    As TT says:
    Is it an appropriate/relevant metaphor?
    Only the Sunday Leader's readership can answer that question.
     
  8. Marinka Senior Member

    French - France
    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for your interpretation that helps me a lot understand what the journalist is talking about. And yes, you are right I didn't transcribe the expression properly.
    What I don't get is why you suggest this may not be a cricketing metaphor, as your interpretation shows it is. Or do you mean, that if it as cricketing metaphor, it is a very unclear one?

    Marina
     
  9. Redshade Banned

    UK
    English.
    There may (or may not) be a point in criticizing the people who aren't in power but at least it is possible to so do.

    But bowling to the fielding side ?

    It really does not work for me, and must be equally unintelligible to a non native speaker.
     
  10. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    The point is that the journalist uses the cricketing terms, batting side and fielding side, to indicate the government and the opposition. So far so good. He then says there's no point in bowling to the fielding side: i.e. there's no point in asking questions to or in criticizing the opposition.

    But the metaphor doesn't work as he applies it - as Redshade says, the fielding side does the bowling, so the expression bowling to the fielding side, is, in cricketing terms, strictly meaningless.

    I'm sorry I was imprecise about this, Marinka. I don't mean that the metaphor is unclear, but that strictly speaking it doesn't work in cricketing terms.

    If it's from a Sri Lankan newspaper, that may explain a lot. The country is very fond of cricket and very good at it.
     
  11. Marinka Senior Member

    French - France
    Thomas,

    Yes, this article is from a Sri lankian newspaper. It was actually written by a Srilankian journalist that writes about his future murder as he knows he will be murdered.

    As fot the cricketing metaphor, I just skipped it in my translation. Anyway, even if it made sense, I don't think I could have found a French equivalent comparison...

    Thanks again for your help.
    Marina
     

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