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Sports Articles: And Finally... Cricket

And Finally... Cricket
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And Finally.....Cricket

 

Cricket to me conjures up images of warm, sunny, summer days and half-empty stands that consist mostly of a crowd either sleeping or reading a newspaper. Pretty much anything really other than watching the game itself, as those who have been watching have been lulled to sleep by the lack of action. A sport so slow that it can take 5 days just to play one game and even then not be assured of a result at the end of it without resorting to a calculator and equation to figure out who actually won!

Some people though, such as Ed025 and Ed003, for some reason find it entertaining. But then, as an Everton and Blackpool fan respectively they are accustomed to excruciating pain during the winter, so why not continue it throughout the summer too? Though I did hear tell that Ed003 is not as good at playing it as he would like. One summer he was in the crease and every ball bowled at him was met with a swing and miss from his bat. Poor Ed003 was getting hotter and more flustered by the ball. As the bowler was walking back, he turned to the wicket-keeper and said, "phew what I couldn't do with a bottle of beer right now." The wicket-keeper thought for a moment then replied, "hit it with the bat?"

One thing cricket is quite good for is anecdotes, whether it is the famous commentary of "The batsman's Houlding, the bowler's Willy," or a BBC Newsreader struggling with the scores as John Snagge read out: "Yorkshire 232 all out, Hutton ill - I'm sorry Hutton 111," there is usually some little story from a match.

Such as a county match between Somerset and Glamorgan with a new, unknown batsman named Vivian Richards fresh into the crease. Glamorgan fast bowler Greg Thomas delivers the ball and it flashes past Richards' bat. "It's red and it's round, can't you see it?" The bowler taunts him then bowls once more, and once more the ball beats Richards. "It's red and it's round and it weights four-and-a-half ounces. Can't you see it?" Thomas once more taunted Richards. Thomas then delivers another ball only for Richards to smash the ball out of the ground, with a shot that would later become his trademark, and into the river the flows round it. Richards leans in to Thomas, who watched the ball fly past the boundary dejectedly, and says, "you know what it looks like....now go get it!"

Even an explanation of the game can be confusing enough: You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.

Cricket always used to have a reputation for being a sport for gentlemen, played with perfect sportsmanship and almost genteel. That has long since vanished amidst spotfixing scandals and the 'sledging' revelations of recent years, even though it was probably never true at any time. In the past the cheating was hidden much better than though, which is why when Imran Khan, in the days when he was a cricketer, met Allan Border in Sydney it caused an international incident. Imran had said to Border: "AB, give me Sunil Gavaskar and B.S. Chandra Shekhar from India and we will beat Australia." Border retorted: "Imran, just give me two umpires from Pakistan and we will beat the whole world." Border was later forced to make a public apology.

Not all cricketers are known for their brains, it must be said. Tom Goddard of Gloucestershire is proof of that. He bowled 42 consecutive overs in heatwave conditions before he finally snapped and started complaining about the captain leaving him out there all this time. "Why the hell doesn't the bloody bugger take me off?" he ranted to his team-mates. At which point his team-mates, no doubt through tears of laughter, pointed out that the skipper, Basil Allen, had left the field hours before and handed over the captaincy to, yes you guessed it, Goddard himself!

Australian bowler Merv Hughes is about to bowl in a Lord's Test between England and Australia in 1989, but before heading off he decides to impart some of his wisdom on the waiting batsman Robin Smith. "You can't f**king bat, mate," was the intellectual and extremely cutting sledging remark Hughes used before delivering the ball which Smith smashed away for four runs. "Hey Merv," calls the batsman, "we make a fine pair. I can't f**king bat and you can't f**king bowl!"

Hughes did show better wit a couple of years later when Javed Miandad called him a fat bus conductor. After bowling him out, Hughes ran past Miandad and called out, "tickets please."

Usually sledging just tends to descend straight to digs about mothers and wives, such as when Glenn McGrath asked Zimbabwean Eddo Brandes: "Hey Eddo, why are you so f**king fat?" Eddo replied: "Because every time I f**k your mother, she throws me a biscuit."

That is why it is probably best I leave the last word to the comedy legend that was Eric Morecambe, whose immortal line to Dennis Lillee was: "Are you aware, sir, that the last time I saw anything like that on a top lip, the whole herd had to be destroyed?" Ah yes, now that is much more like cricket as it is supposed to be.

Written by Tris Burke June 28 2019 05:36:52

 

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