Sunday, April 29, 2007


Cricket is a funny sport; it's played all day, sometimes all week, usually at a time that nobody can watch because they're at work. It is obsessed with nuances of changeable weather and is structured to ensure that you can take both lunch and tea without disturbance.

To a non-believer like me, the first week of the World Cup was quite interesting. Players were thumping sixes all over the place, village players from the Netherlands and Scotland were playing superstars from South Africa and Australia, working ridiculously hard for every run and bowling like five years old on a beach. 19 stone lumps from Bermuda were taking flying catches from the slips. The boozy Irish tied with Zimbabwe then beat Pakistan. Then the Pakistan coach got murdered and there's a myriad of conjecture about match fixing and snake venom poisoning. Brilliant. And all at a convenient time; games started at 2pm meaning you didn't have to watch the dull bit at the start; you could watch the interesting bits after you've finished your tea.

The cricket purists' view of this: rubbish.

Then we get to the 'Super Eights' - which weren't the slightest bit interesting. Only Australia were in any way good. The top 4 teams predictably beat the bottom 4 teams, in empty stadiums. The games seemed to all finish by about 4.30pm. Then the final is delayed by rain; they start late, then play through torrential rain, then come off, recalculate the scores to accomodate, come back on, play in the dark, come off, come back on again even though it's obvious who's won to finish the game. Even the presentation of the cup takes 45 minutes because long speeches were needed and the everyone including the groundsman needed to be given a medal.

The sort of sport that can only have been invented in England.


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