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Saturday, 8 August 2009
We Don’t Like Cricket, We Love It.
It’s high cricket season in England. BBC Radio’s Test Match Special is heard at every turn when out and about, there are at least five radios tuned-in just in this house, in case we feel the urge to go from room to room, not one second will be lost on turning a switch or knob! With it’s the usual mix of ball-by-ball commentary, descriptions of pigeons on the pitch, cakes received and devoured, gigging and slurping, the effervescing Jonathan Agnew, or Aggers, whiles away the hours with humour and antidote between bouts of action for the duration of the five-day Test. It’s culturally difficult to explain, but it has always been the theme tune to an English summer. Tonight, BBC’s Newsnight featured an article and a film from New York about how the police department there are using cricket to help improve relations with the city's ethnic minorities. Of course, the ‘public’ was asked what they knew of the game with the typical comments on the length of the game and the possibility of there being no result at the end. I guess it does take a deeper understanding to realise a draw IS sometimes a result (especially for England at Headingley this week, one fears!) Much is made of the differences between baseball and cricket and how the American audience likes fast-paced games. I enjoy watching baseball and would love to attend a subway series, the closest thing to a Test match in endurance and I think the Yanks could learn to love cricket. The 20/20 game perhaps? After all, baseball is all statistics, nuances of pitch as in fast balls and sliders, telepathic fielding skills etc, so add into the mix, condition of ball (new ball is only offered after 80 overs and the crowd always returns it from the out field, no souvenirs here), how it turns under different cloud cover and humidity, how the pitch differs from ground to ground and during the match and don’t get me started on bowling, the permutations are almost endless. The Leg Spinner, the Yorker, the Flipper, the disguised Googly and I'm only just breaking the surface here.See More. The truth is that the whole game has so many angles that five days is too short a time to witness them all. A lifetime is required! Surely you have to love any game that stops for tea and cucumber sandwiches?