The Aussies were seriously lacking in skullduggery at the Adelaide Test last weekend. But that didn’t stop us from having a good time at the Adelaide Oval. Even if it did seem to involve a full day of watching England’s mercenary South African batsman Kevin Pietersen spend the whole day smacking Australian bowlers around the pitch.
Oh, wait, that was exactly what it involved…
I know that most of my readers aren’t cricket fans but I choose to believe that this is due to ignorance rather than indifference*. I’m firmly convinced that if you are a generally a sports fan and someone takes the time to explain the Byzantine rules of cricket to you that you will become a fan of the game. If you’re not a sports fan, well I can’t help you.
Yes, it is slow paced. Yes, it can go on for days – by design. Yes, you can score 500 runs and still lose. All of these things are true and they are only a few of the things that make cricket such a compelling sport.
And The Ashes? Well, the Ashes is cricket at its finest. Every couple of years since for the last 120 or so, the finest that Australia and England have taken the field for the summer to battle over the eponymous trophy, purportedly the ashes of a bail that represented the death of English cricket. A demise brought on by the first defeat of the English side by filthy colonials in 1882.
Over a century later, it is still the biggest sporting rivalry between England and her erstwhile colony. So much so that for several glorious weeks in December and January, ‘the cricket’ rules. Staff was pretty scarce on the ground at work on the first day of the Adelaide test last Friday and those of us cursed with meetings or other unavoidable work engagements spent a lot of time refreshing scoreboards on our phones.
Having lived in each country, having one son born in each, I have the advantage of neutrality in the series. This may be all the more advantageous this time around, because it looks as if barracking for Australia is going to be a hard slog.
And if all this doesn’t convince you to care about The Ashes, well, many of us know that The Ashes are “vitally important for the past, present and future safety of the Galaxy”.
*That’s right, insulting your readers is bound to keep them coming back.
There is, perhaps unsurprisingly, very little good music about cricket. But Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy managed to put together a cracker of a side project concept album. The Duckworth Lewis Method is remarkably uncampy and a good listen for both the cricket fan and music lover alike.