Friday 17 July 2020

Not Cricket

As one whose idea of cricket – and whose love of the game – was formed in the age of Peter May, Ted Dexter and Colin Cowdrey, of Brian Close, Fred Titmus* and bespectacled wunderkind Geoffrey Boycott, I have been taking less interest, and slowly falling out of love, ever since those golden days. The modern game at international level interests me less and less, and I am no longer glued to Test Match Special as I used to be (when I had the chance) not all that long ago. I've barely even noticed the current Test series between England and the visiting West Indies. I knew it was taking place in the sterile conditions imposed by The Science, with no spectators allowed – and that alone was enough to reduce the game to a rather empty and uninvolving spectacle. What I did not know, until I caught a brief news report last night, was that the players of both sides have been 'taking a knee' (some with the raised fist of Black Power) and wearing Black Lives Matter logos on their shirts. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Even the Premier League – run by a bunch of men not noted for their intellectual penetration – went cool on BLM when they discovered a little more about that dangerous organisation. But not, it seems, the blazered buffoons who run cricket. Oh dear oh dear – I never thought I'd live to see Test cricket played to an empty stadium and preceded by a display of formation virtue signalling. Strange days.

* Sedate off-spinner immortalised in the Half Man Half Biscuit song 'Fuckin' 'Ell, It's Fred Titmus'.


  1. Apologies to my American readers – not to mention the good people of Turkmenistan and Norway – to whom none of the above will have made any sense at all.

  2. No fears, Nige. Every American wee'un's favorite bedtime book is "Cardus on Cricket."

  3. Ho ho, very good.
    I learnt about American cricket from reading Joseph O'Neill's Netherland. I believe at one time (long ago) it could have become the national sport...

  4. Black Lives Matter qua organization is not what people have in mind, generally. Mostly they think that it would be good if the police did not kill people in the course of arrests for non-violent crimes.

    American cricketers, as far as I can see from very rare observations, tend to be immigrants from the Commonwealth, the islands or the subcontinent generally. The novelist Abraham Verghese included a medical-school team so manned in his novel Cutting for Stone.

    The advantage of baseball is that even in the 21st century one can generally finish a game in three hours. In the 1960s--before television needed more time for ads; before every .250-hitting second baseman needed to adjust his gloves between pitches; before managers switched relievers twice an inning--games ran two and a half hours or less. My impression is that cricket matches can run for days. I think the record for a baseball game, set in the minor leagues years ago, is 22 hours.

  5. The longest cricket Test match ever took place in Durban in 1939. It lasted nine days, and only ended because the English tourists had to catch the boat home. Needless to say, it was a draw, neither side having managed to win...