Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Play Up, Play Up!

There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.

Sir Henry Newbolt Vitaï Lampada (extract)
It's a bit bloody early in the season to be heading off to Lord's - I've not even taken delivery of the rosé yet, but needs must when the devil rides.
The reason for this early start is that the Twenty20 World Cup has to be fitted in next month. Twenty20 is a vulgar and idiotic form of the game invented by greedy Indian businessmen and television executives. The Indian Premier League, in its second year, has had to be transferred to South Africa because of the behaviour of murderous gangsters and lunatics in Bombay and Lahore last winter. It is making cricketers very rich, but peversely less good at cricket. A better name for them is the Dumbslog Millionaires. When they have finished playing this form of baseball, they all move to England for the World Cup; if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, reckoned the international cricket honchos. Even Lord's is hosting some games. Terrible, terrible. The only reason I'll be attending them is to entertain my godsons, you understand.
Anyway, that's why we are starting a proper test match today with the Windies, who unaccountably beat us this winter in the Caribbean. Look out for me on the telly. I might be sinking a glass with Farqs and Alceste of this manor. I promise not to run onto the pitch; only people who have never read Sir Henry Newbolt do that sort of thing.


hatfield girl said...

Have you read Steve Waugh's 'Out of My Comfort Zone', Idle?

A real, proper length test match book, an entire summer's worth of player view.

"The sky was a menacing gathering of black, tightly congested clouds with that grey-green tinge that often precitates hail, and the pitch was a dreaded bright green, signalling moisture and meaning extravagant movement and a real examination of one's technique....

Greg Ritchie in the slip cordon immediately got my attenion as I began o scratch out my middle-stump guard, saying, "Get ready champ - you ain't playing with the schoolboys any longer."

And that's only page 39. I'm safe all summer, drifting through the days.

idle said...

This is most surprising, hattie; it is rare for any modern sportsman to be able to write. Do we detect a ghost writer? If so, someone who has made a reasonably decent fist of it, perhaps. I'll investigate further.

The reason I'm not bothering with the Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's this year is because they have asked Adam Gilchrist to deliver it. Gilchrist was a fabulous attacking batsman, good wicket keeper, and a fine sport - the only Australian for a generation to 'walk' when he'd knicked one. But he is no John Arlott, and I doubt he will be worth the train fare, frankly.

Scrobs... said...

The best cricket story is still A.G.McDonnell's 'The Cricket Match'!

I can read that over and over agin, and still laugh at just about all of it!