Monday, 13 July 2009

It's just not Cricket...

Once upon a time, I'd have engaged in a spot of schadenfreude at the plight that England's Cricketers found themselves in yesterday. Like many young Scots, for reasons I won't go into at present, I'd have enjoyed the spectacle of England being made to suffer in a game they invented and that I didn't understand.

Now I take a more mature attitude with views tempered by age, a greater understanding of the social as well as political importance of the Union and by living in England. I also have a much better understanding of Cricket.

While it is still difficult to get emotionally attached, I now wish England well in every tournament (unless against the Scots). It's just not Cricket to do anything else...

So as the wickets fell yesterday, I felt disappointed for England and their prospects. It looked like they were staring defeat in the face in a first test that has not been a great advert for English Cricket. From the choice of Cardiff as hosts, thorough the apparently irresponsible play of Kevin Pieterson, to the gamesmanship at the close, the whiff of controversy has never been far away.

The timewasting that characterised the late stages, and helped (at least) to force the draw, was particularly disappointing. Test Cricket is a game which, far more than most, trades on its history and heritage and The Ashes are at the centre of that heritage.

There is an expectation that the game be played in a gentlemanly fashion absent in other sports. Overs played in sessions punctuated at civilised intervals by lunch and tea. Wickets are readily acknowledged and the Umpire's decisions are respected.

Perhaps it's inevitable that Cricket will go the way of Football and, more recently, Rugby Union. Perhaps the advent of Twenty20 has brought an attitude that will inevitably spread to the 5 day game. Perhaps I'm being unduly sentimental and old-fashioned in resisting changes to the way the game is played.

Whatever the future, though, come Thursday I'll be hoping for a good match, played with respect and sportsmanship. And I'll be hoping for an England win.


As an aside, I'd like to direct you to the One and Other site. In case you're not aware of it, this is the name of artist Antony Gormley's project that sees ordinary people spend an hour doing whatever they want on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. Last hour there was a man with a barbecue, now there's a man with a Gorilla suit...

The site features streaming pictures and short pieces on each participant. I'm likely to come back to this topic in future as I know someone who is taking part, and still considering applying to do so myself.

1 comment:

Stephen Chapman said...

I watched someone on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. Obviously, it wasn't empty at the time or that wouldn't be worth watching.

As for cricket... tests are too dull. 5 days play and you still get a draw. 20/20 may upset the old guard, but it could be the making of cricket.

My best memory of cricket is travelling with my dad to away games when I was aged 6-10 I suppose and then playing with the other kids for hours, completely ignoring the game being played.