I’m not really interested in sport, although I must admit I love Baseball which is probably a bit odd.
It’s just not cricket old boy, what! It’s every Englishman’s duty to follow and understand cricket. I did once many long years ago, I even enjoyed it at times although in truth I usually only took notice of it during the “Ashes” series.
For those philistines out there amongst my followers (do I have any left?) the “Ashes” are or were five games played between Australia and England every couple of years; alternating between the two countries.
These games were once played in the true spirit of sportsmanship, hence the expression ‘it’s not cricket’ one did not argue question or abuse the umpires, their decision was final and every player, and I do mean every player accepted this without question.
Back in the 20th century the players were paid precious little, just enough to cover their costs, some received payment others did not. The English ‘Gentlemen’ received nothing but the honour of representing England; and as they were such jolly good types the English Captain was selected from their ranks.
Those that were paid of course were simply the ‘Players’, until 1962 there was an annual game in England, ‘The Gentlemen v The Players’.
In the late 1970’s this all changed with the advent of World Series Cricket a breakaway professional cricket competition started up by one Kerry Packer, an Australian media mogul, he owned the major television network in Australia and he wanted to televise all the cricket matches.
At the time the biggest and best games were aired on the ABC advertisement free; and Kerry saw there was to be a packet made in TV ad revenue; no flies on Kerry P. he was a smart business man. He signed up the best player from England, the West Indies, Australia New Zealand and started his own competition.
It only took a couple of years and he broke down the old school and the games never been the same since. And that’s when I lost all interest in cricket.
Once upon a time a cricketer would stride out to the crease sleeves rolled up bat on his shoulder and have a go; with WSC the player would stride out to the crease; safety helmet, visor, shoulder pads, thigh pads and any other pad you can name plus fancy dress and try to entertain the crowd. If they scored some runs they would hug and jump with joy. If somebody caught a ball or took a wicket the rest of the team would race up and slap his back shake his hand do everything but kiss. Absolutely ludicrous.
And it still goes on to this day! Is it any wonder I don’t give a damn about the game anymore?
But I really enjoy Baseball, I know it’s a Yankee game but so what? Supposedly it had its roots in the old English game of ‘Rounders’. It was, I believe, played here in Australia long before cricket, brought in by the Americans who flocked here during the gold rush days of the early /mid 18th century. It gained quite a foothold.
There was some consideration given to Australia joining our American cousins early in the 20th century to play in the World Series, but from what I can understand the MCC in England brought great pressure to bear to stop Australia joining; probably from the fear that the ‘Ashes’ series and cricket in general would be placed in jeopardy. The powers to be here said “Yes sir” tugged their forelocks and said no thanks to the Yanks
Well I know what I prefer, 3 or 4 hours of Baseball with a definite result at the end not a game spread over 30 hours and five days with no result, matched fizzled out to a draw, or washed out at the end. What a complete and utter waste of time.
I had actually started out to prattle on about football codes and became diverted so I’ll save that up for another time.