Cricket lovely cricket

I have a love for the game of cricket bordering on the religious, and on the incomprehensible for non-Anglo Saxon friends of mine. And Australia has long been my favourite country, certainly of those I have lived in. So I was distressed to find my regard for both undermined by the last day’s play in the Brisbane test, where the ‘sledging’ – Australia’s only original contribution, I think, to the game; compare that to India, which gave us the exquisite leg-glance – reached quite vicious proportions, not at all in what we old farts would call the ‘spirit’ of the game. Maybe England were as bad – I don’t know, and none of their comments was said to the press, or picked up by stump mikes. But it makes no difference. It’s clear that one or two of the Australian team (Warner, for example) are really nasty characters, and that certain players on both sides are regarding the present series in the light of a ‘war’. It isn’t. It’s a game. Real cricket lovers appreciate the quality of the play, far more than any result. At the beginning of this series I was hoping Australia would win it, narrowly, in order to even things up. The cricket world needs a strong Australia. (It has already lost the West Indies.) Now however I don’t care. If the series goes on as it has begun, and Australia win, it will be a pyrrhic victory. Who now cares – or remembers – who won the ‘bodyline’ series? This series could be remembered in the same unsavoury way. So I won’t be listening to the commentary in bed tonight (one of the last pleasures in bed an oldie like me has). Even if England do well.

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