Archive for February, 2009
For once, our peg-toothed, spade-headed captain has not composed one of his famous waltzes. There was nothing elegant or classical about the way England dragged herself towards a draw at the Old Rec like a sloth traversing a desert.
It will rightly be remembered for the unbearable drama of the closing session, and the hearfelt effort put in by the bowlers and batsmen on the final day. It was a brilliant test match. But if this is what Struass had scripted, it was at the expense of what should have been a well-worked England victory. For a cricket fan the game was a nail banquet, but it made England fans feel a bit sick afterwards.
There’s an unsavoury hint of apathy about the English dressing room, which is especially annoying after the drubbing at Sabina Park. Nowadays, members of the batting team dwell in the shadows of cavernous, bunker-like dressing rooms. We catch the occasional long-range glimpse of them as they stretch and yawn, or maybe huddle anxiously round a laptop. Is it just me who wishes they were lined up in batting order on a bench on the boundary rope? It would at least give the illusion that they cared.
1. Allen Stanford
2. The Goddess Apate
3. Robert Maxwell (L-H bat)
4. Frank Abagnale
5. Charles Ponzi
6. The Talented Mr. Ripley
7. Richard Nixon
8. Ronnie Biggs (Wk)
9. Victor Lustig
10. JT LeRoy
13. Allen Stanford
Wicket, wicket, take a wicket.
Make them play and soon they’ll snick it.
360 still to make,
Seven wickets still to take.
Eye of hawk and leg before,
Splice of bat and knowledge of law,
Dubious pitch, with lack of zing,
Flintoff’s hip and Swanny’s spin,
For the series soon to level,
Like a hell broth, be spicy and dry!
– Hamlet (The Antiguan Folio)
This may have been a blessing in disguise for England. A very good disguise.
A bit like Manchester City, we are a team that has a damagingly disparate complexion and no clear identity or philosophy at the moment. No-one is sure about the selection policy or the leadership, and no-one is certain that we will win against any opposition. This makes it hard to establish any real belief in what we are doing.
If we had lost the first test against the Windies in mediocre fashion – by fifty runs or so – then the usual, tedious explantations and solutions would have been trotted out. As it is, it can be written off as a freakish anomaly, too unlikely to take seriously. It is, at the very least, a refreshing way to lose. It was further buried out of sight in the sandpit farce, and now we are building a healthy lead on the fourth day of the ‘third’ test in the sunshine. If only we could deal with all our losses like this!
“India triumph despite Murali feat,”
the Beeb have misleadingly reported. What they mean is that India went over Sri Lanka with the heavy roller before peeling them off the outfield, propping them up with protective equipment and steamrollering them all over again. There was no ‘despite’ about it.
We are invited to believe that Murali achieved a superhuman feat of wicket taking, against which the Indians epically prevailed. Murali’s return of 1 for 60 in his ten overs was average, to say the most. To say the least, it was poor. To say less than that, it was below par.
Sehwag and Yuvraj were magnificent. Above par, even at the height they set the par. It was another smash and grab run raid from the top order, and another alarmingly mature display from Dhoni. In the one day game, at least, the heart of the Indian innings is being transplanted to him. He more than anyone is the difference between Australia and India – a leader cut from the same cloth as the rest of the side. And Indian tailoring is much better than Australian.
Zimbabwe are hammering Kenya into the ground like a stump right now, with Elton Chigumbura the hardened steel face.
But the thing that I find most overwhelming is not the dizzy totals being posted by Chig and his mates. It’s the number of O’s in the Kenyan team.
Look at them all: O, O, o, O, O, o, o, O, O, O, O, o, O, o, o!