Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why I hate the England cricket team

It has been a while since I have blogged. Years, indeed. Life and laziness are the causal factors, but also a rising disenchantment of the game.

Well, not so much the game, but the players.

This is a generally a symptom of age: a cliched tail of creeping curmudgeonliness in one who was once so youthful and open-minded. And my source of inspiration has been a book, gifted to me recently, an autobiography of Channa Gunasekera, a post-independence Sri Lankan cricketer.

Amongst the score-setting and name-dropping, the author indulges in a closing rant on The State Of The Modern Game. His main complaint is the lack of decorum in contemporary players. Upon taking his 19th wicket in Old Trafford, Gunasekera muses, Jim Laker took his cap from the umpire and sauntered off the field of play. Now, such feats would be accompanied by a parade of shrieking and frolicking performed in similar fashion to delirious sea nymphs.

Far from role of the sport to civilise and educate young men in the conduct of gentlemen, we now watch the childish cavorting of the England cricket team. I couldn't stand watching their fist pumping, champagne wanking, teeth gnashing, hair gelling, urn slobbering and oafish defilement of everything about the game.

Look at their faces. Look at all their odious obnoxious faces. Now look at Jack Hobbs face. Which would face would you prefer your son to wear? Which face would you like to see about you on the train carriage to work? And in the office?

Would you enjoy Stuart Broad leaping on the desk and bellowing a mindless ‘come on’ into your face as another invoiced receives approval? Wouldn’t you prefer Jack Hobbs understated nod at a job well done?

This belies crickets role in our lives. It is not about winning or losing. It is much more important than that. Cricket is a teacher, a kindly, school masterly guru showing us the way to live our lives. It is about reserve, fair-play, honesty, playing with a straight bat and treating your fellow human being as you yourself would like to be treated.

It is not about winning at all costs. It is not about commercial deals. It is not about playing hard on the pitch. It is not about watching a bunch of preening footballers on a round pitch. It is not even about publicly urinating on the same pitch where Tony Locke bowled England into Ashes glory in 1953. It is not about pissing on the game.

It is about respecting the game. And respecting the way of cricket. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How many grades to side strains have?

I guess about 12. Of course, we all appreciate the subtle nuances between differing grades. So, there is no need to explain this to anyone.

We'll just continue mentioning it as if it has meaning, as if you understood and as if I wasn't a pontificating twat.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The final is here: to the pub

After cunningly whittling the foreign sides away through the targeted use of dodgy curries and water-borne diseases, only Asian teams remain.

But, where can we find a pub to watch the bloody game?

Only time will tell…

Sunday, February 27, 2011

England and India amazing things - none of them matter

England and India did amazing things in a way that never could have come about in a T20 match. Yesterday’s match had laughter and tears. Both sets of fans enjoyed the pleasures snatching victory from the jaws of defeat… before allowing the other side to claw their way back again. And then it all went horribly agreeable.

Unfortunately – much like a political compromise – a tie left both sides feeling disappointed. “Oh” we all collectively thought, “so we didn’t win”.

Interestingly, the match, despite its drama, was still meaningless. Both sides will probably qualify. So. It was all just a waste of everyone’s time, really.

The match did show simply the relative ineptness of the bowling. Aside from Zaheer’s moment of maddeningness and Bresnan’s tedious reliability, neither time has sufficient firepower to blast their way to the world cup.

Sachin Tendulkar, though, eh? Fluky bloody bastard.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The big match: who will be the biggest disappointment?

So. World Cups. You don’t get them that often. Only about once a year – in between Ashes tours.

The weekend brings England’s big match. We play tournament favourites, India. People think India will win because they are “local” and therefore their side is immune to debilitating toilet strikes which bedevil sides coming from the “potable water belt” from where most of the other participating countries come – as well as the non-cricket playing nations also.

Local boys also include Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. All these countries share the same strategy of having one or two alright players and then the rest used chiefly to clean up the skids marks off the others’ kit. So hopefully the sub-continental sides will turn up nicely over the next twenty weeks.

Much has been made of the money-grabbing length of the tournament. Personally, I like cricket. Similarly to that annoying bloke on the train who simply cannot get enough of his ring tone, I can happily watch Pakistan destroy Kenya again and again. Especially when all hope of an upset is extinguished within the first ten minutes.

Anyway. England. A knackered bunch of workhorses far from home for too long. Children’s lives are missed, wives are abandoned, girlfriends are restless. It’s as if the lesson of Alan Johnson have been entirely forgotten.

England will lose. I feel safer territory after the Ashes. England have been practicing that homesick brand of the game that we all familiarly know as “shit”. Even the Dutch took our bowlers to the cleaners. And no one know why the Netherlands plays cricket.

Don’t they have their own friends?

No. Nor do India, mind. But, the difference is: they shall beat England. Their kit will be the cleaner. Sreesanth will make sure of that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Are Australia the new West Indies?

When I was a lad, I remember watching the 1995 West Indies tour of England. Little did I know at the time that I was witnessing a pivotal point in history. I was dimly aware of Windian dominance against England, but the well-fought draw did not itself suggest to me immanent collapse of the once strutting mega-stars.

I am now old enough to appreciate any such spectacles life throws at me today. I have experienced enough inevitable disappointments, sufficient certain disasters and a more than adequate amounts of predestined catastrophes to be able to spot future failures.

Now, as the Australian bunny blinks mindlessly back into my headlights, my mind quickly recalls the many fiascos in which it has participated, just before engaging the wind-screen wipers to remove the debris.

Unlike the current Australian side, the 1995 West Indies team had hope. They had some world class bowlers and a sprinkling of legendary batsman. Currently, Shane Watson has the role of Brian Lara.

But, it is difficult to see where the future lies for Australia. Much is made of the post 1986-7 cull, but who do they replace the old guard wife? Michael Beer and Phil Hughes?

No one wants to be captain. No one can captain.

No one can bowl, either. Not even Michael Beer.

There are glimmers of hope in the batting department. Much as there are glimmers of sanity in the Tea Party.

The only solution I can see is either scouring the English leagues for anyone who has a secret Australia shame in the bloodline – or a sun tan.

Or, merging with New Zealand. The Oceanic Islands may yet conquer the world.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dreaming in the colour of cricket

The problem with cricket on the other side of the world is the poor hours it keeps. Last night, I feel asleep to the congenial banter between Jonathan Agnew and Vick Marks. Apparently, as a statement of support for pinkafied cancer awareness day, Marks sported a pair of pink pants.

Vaguely, my sleep-fogged mind caught the early wicket of James Anderson, the nightwatchman, but by then it was too late. The damage was done.

I eventually passed out, to be haunted be a night of terrible visions. Firstly, I dreamt that was a spectator at the SCG. Having never visited Australia, the ground took the form of something akin to a polo stadium in Libya.

Slowly, I, and some surprisingly rowdy friends, watched the innings unfold. Alastair Cook took a quick single and a fluke collection saw the stumps thrown down. An appeal was made, but so languid was Cook’s run that it appeared a rather optimistic enquiry.

The third umpire’s screen loomed large over us. I saw that Cook was out of his ground upon impact. I reported to this to my disbelieving colleagues. Cook’s innings was over. A disaster. A collapse.

Never fear, Kevin Pietersen was next man in. A good opportunity for vengeance. I turned to my friend that didn’t speak Afrikaans, “you speak Afrikaans” said I “hurl some proper abuse”. He made those deep, throaty sounds that marks Low Dutch as an excellent language for insult.

Stirred by these pleasing noises, the entire English contingent launched into a tirade of abuse directed towards the advancing Saffer.

I awoke to briefly hear some continued underwear exchanges, to the delight of one and to the discomfort to the other.

Sleep once again took me, but this time to the SCG’s men’s toilets. In there, were the firmly planted feet of David Shepherd, the now-deceased umpire. In his unexpectedly broad Scottish accent, he delivered some rather scathing opinions concerning the Umpire Decision Referral System as I made use of the neighbouring urinal.

Imagine my joy, therefore, upon hearing that England were destroying the Australian bowlers. Two centurions and a lead of over 200. Marvellous. Marvellous. It almost makes like worth living during the grim, post-Christmas return to the terrible truth of reality.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Which way will it go? To stay up or to snooze in ignorance?

The main problem of not being unemployed is having work. This means the hours between 11 and six are traditionally reserved for recuperation and rest. As previous experience has proven, sleeping for hours at a time in the staff toilets is frowned upon.

So, the cricketing world once again asks me that familiar question: How recklessly irresponsible are you?

Just as the first test match of the Ashes teeters on the edge of mythology, with the possibility of ludicrous victories either side securing legendary status, my already questionable work-ethic is tested to the limit.

AYALAC has prepared some sure-fire methods to watch the game, whilst preserving the aura of professionalism in the office.

1) New project. Developing an entrepreneurial new product that will add value to your workplace will show that you are dedicated and inventive and generally amazing. Working on this has kept you up all night. What a champion. No one will question the quiet abandonment in few weeks as the Great Plan goes that way of all new ideas: The bin.

2) Emergency plumbing. For those accustomed to the rich vein of fantasy that are the “WFH” emails, working from home is a perfect time to catch up on needed sleep. Escaping to your “work-bunker” will also raise a convenient excuse to your total unresponsiveness to emails or calls.

3) Bravely soldier on. The announcement of disease instantly provides sympathy and distance from your fellow man. The bleary eyes and clumsy decision-making can plausibly be as a result of a massive virus attack. Once the ruse is established, frequent emergency trips to the toilet for micro-sleeps may get you through the day, as well as winning more credit.

4) Form a sleep co-operative. The key to skiving off work is thorough and meticulous planning. Identify all those sympathetic to your course in advance to the match. Prior to the night-long vigil, book an all-day mega-meeting with cricketing colleagues. Take your bedding into the meeting room first thing in the morning, lock yourselves in and sleep like demons.

5) Coming clean. Remind your boss of his or her obvious insignificance to cricket, laugh at their thoughtlessness at scheduling work during an Ashes series and slap yourselves on the back before heading homeward to bed. The long-term advantage of this strategy is its possibility of relieving you of any further work-related inconveniences in the future.

AYALAC is personally considering a combination of numbers (1) and (3). Infected dedication should throw them off the scent long enough.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If you could stay awake, will you be able to stay awake?

So. The Ashes are here. Not a great surprise. Given that there are three other, probably more interesting series going on. Nevertheless, myopic parochialism has never stopped the British press before and there’s no point going back on it now.

The question is: how will you stay awake?

The BBC has a very useful guide. The most educational suggestion was in relation to strategic coffee taking. The idea behind this is that the you can stay away by taking frequent naps throughout the course of the evening. But, ensure that these are only 15-20 minutes in length.

As all siesta-takers will know: short is good.

The interesting trick is, however, to take coffee just before napping. Apparently, it comes into effect just about the time you are waking up, and therefore it stimulates you to once again to an attentive state.

I write this at 10:15. I am already thinking about bed.

Here’s to us not cocking up the toss.