February 07, 2009

Today's players are defecating on cricket's history

First it was the pedalo.

Then it was the awful Stanford Cup.

Then Pietersen/Moores, soon to be made into a film starring Michael Sheen.

Now it’s the Indian Premier League.

English cricket’s gone bad.

If you didn’t see this week’s auction of players, have a look. It makes the money-grabbing antics of football look perfectly reasonable. There’s something quite wrong about players being fought over by rich benefactors in the lovechild of a Christie’s selling room and a press conference.

And as for the suggestion that players should somehow share the cash with their poor colleagues back in Blighty? Pffff… Ha…! No chance. These selfish players and their WAGS need the money for more holidays. Although, of course, cricket is just one long holiday already. When did the England team last play a league match in England?

Football gets criticised for being ostentatious, overblown and ruined by commercialism. But at least it started in the boardroom.

Cricket’s new obsession with money is being driven almost solely by the players.

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. To be fair, the obsession is hardly a new thing. W. G. Grace could smell hard cash from miles away and wasn’t above some quite frankly outrageous cheating to earn more of it.

    07 Feb 2009, 18:33

  2. Sue

    Until recently, catching a ball was one of the few areas of sport that science had not touched. Rackets, bats and the other tools of sport have been designed along scientific priciples, as have athletes’ diets and, to some extent, athletes themselves. Many sporting techniques have also been subject to scientific refinement – javelins, for example, are now launched at a precisely calculated angle, with the thrower moving in a scientifically guided way. Ball catching, though, has remained the province of natural skill. The closest that science has come to it is recounted in A. G. Macdonell’s classic 1933 account of an English village cricket match:-

    The scores were level and there was one wicket to fall. The last man in was the blacksmith…he took guard and looked around savagely. He was clearly still in a great rage.
    The first ball he received he lashed at wildly and hit straight up in the air to an enormous height. It went up and up and up, until it became difficult to focus it properly against the deep, cloudless blue of the sky, and it carried with it the hopes and fears of an English village. Up and up it went and then it seemed to hang motionless in the air, poised, like a hawk, fighting, as it were, a heroic but forlorn battle against the chief invention of Sir Isaac Newton, and then it began its slow descent.

    In the meantime things were happening below…the titanic Boone was not likely to bring off the catch, especially after the episode of the last ball. Major Hawker, shouting “Mine, mine!” in a magnificently self-confident voice, was coming up from the bowler’s end like a battle cruiser. Mr Harcourt, the poet, had obviously lost sight of the ball altogether, if indeed he had ever seen it, for he was running round and round Boone and giggling foolishly. Livingstone and Southcott, the two cracks, were approaching competently, their eyes fixed on the ball…In the meantime, the professor of ballistics had made a lightening calculation of angles, velocities, density of the air, barometer-readings and temperature and had arrived at the conclusion that the critical point, the spot which ought to be marked in the photographs with an X, was one yard to the north-east of Boone and he proceeded to take up his station there, colliding on the way with Donald and knocking him over. A moment later Bobby Southcott came racing up and tripped over the recumbent Donald and was shot head first into the Abraham-like bosom of Boone. Boone stepped back a yard under the impact and came down with his spiked boot, surmounted by a good eighteen stone of flesh and blood, upon the professor’s toe. Almost simultaneously the portly wicket keeper, whose movements were a positive triumph of the spirit over the body, bumped the professor from behind…and all the time the visiting American journalist Mr Shakespeare Pollock hovered alertly upon the outskirts…screaming American University cries in a piercingly high tenor voice.

    At last the ball came down…it was a striking testimony to the mathematical and ballistical skill of the professor that the ball landed with a sharp report upon the top of his head. Thence it leapt up into the air a foot or so, cannoned onto Boones head, and then trickled slowly down the colossal expanse of the wicket-keepers back, bouncing slightly as it reached the massive lower portions. It was only a foot from the ground when Mr Shakespeare Pollock sprang into the vortex with a last ear-splitting howl of victory and grabbed it off the seat of the wicket-keeper’s trousers. The match was a tie.

    07 Feb 2009, 23:24

  3. Sue

    Another extract from the same book (he really does have a knack for bringing the best books into the house):-

    “A new life has now begun. Perhaps it is no more than Darwinian evolution at work which dictates that the sperm with the greatest mastery of physics is the one which has the best chance of initiating life.” Food for thought.

    09 Feb 2009, 07:30

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