Why I love cricket

Posted by Dom
I can’t wait. The Ashes is upon us and this series has the potential to be one of the closest, most keenly fought and tense sporting battles of recent years. Will Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff lead the English boys to glory, retaining the trophy so dramatically won in the summer of 2005, or will the Aussies bite back and re-claim what they believe to be rightfully theirs in the first place? With blanket TV, radio and online coverage across the globe, you’re going to find it very hard to avoid cricket during the next 6 weeks.
And yet… amongst my friends, whether work-based or outside of the office, I stand out as some nerdy cricket-loving freak, immune to what is perceived as the game’s glaring faults: it’s ‘boring’; ‘over-complicated’, ‘pointless’, ‘never-ending’…. blah blah blah.

Even my own girlfriend comes up with the classic cricket-hater’s lament: ‘I just can’t understand a sport where a match can take 5 days to finish, and then not even have a winner!’. As if saying that negates anything positive about cricket whatsoever, and we should all rush back to the wham-bam, instant fix culture of football or rugby.
Well, I’m here to fight cricket’s corner, and have been doing so pretty much all my life, ever since I started going to see Warwickshire play Sunday league games at Edgbaston as a little kid. Yes, I love football, but cricket offers a whole new world of pleasures and, – yes- excitement that you just don’t get in any other sport.
The ‘5 days = boring’ argument is patently nonsense. Aside from the fact that the instant-thrill sporting fanatics which so many people seem to be these days can still get their kicks from the shortened version of cricket – 1-day tournaments, or even the razzamatazzy 20-overs-a-side version – the test-match standard of five days means that all cricket’s nuances, its personal battles, its games-within-a-game, can come out slowly, and be all the better for it. A test match takes you on an incredible rollercoaster of emotions – and it’s a prolonged thrill, not one that’s over in an hour and a half.
Cricket players aren’t on £140,000 a week, don’t gather round the man in charge in a screaming, baying mob, and in general exhibit a code of conduct on the field of play that few other sports can match. ‘Beefy’ Botham may have hit the headlines in the 1980s and 90s for various alleged drug misdemeanors, but you can still count the number of lurid sex scandals involving the game’s top players on the fingers of one hand. Whereas sometimes it seems that the News of The World would be almost out of business if our football players started to behave themselves. The lurid carnival that football’s Premiership has become would do well to take a leaf out of cricket’s book – and try and make its players realise that passionate, competitive, thrilling on-field action doesn’t have to involve cheating, diving, touchline histrionics or pathetic attempts to get your opponents in trouble.     
Of course, cricket isn’t perfect. Drugs scandals, the fact that a whole day or match can be wiped out by a bit of mild drizzle (or even a team refusing to come back onto the field of play, as happened infamously in the England v Pakistan test during the summer), and some occasionally arcane rules, don’t help cricket’s cause. Even hardcore cricket fans such as myself can struggle with some of the terminology surrounding the game, and jargon obscuring even the most simple of fielding positions. Silly mid-off, long leg, backward point…. strange. But the language which has grown up around the game in my mind actually adds to the game’s charm and uniqueness – and there’s absolutely no requirement to understand every baffling term anyway.   
Anyone doubting the glorious effect the game can have should have just observed the country during the last Ashes series, in the summer of 2005. Queues for miles and miles at 6AM outside grounds as people desperately tried to get any tickets they could lay their hands on, huge viewing figures for Channel 4, massive broadsheet and tabloid supplements following every single passage of play, online ball-by-ball commentaries, mass absenteeism from work, incredible sportsmanship when in the moment of victory after the ‘Greatest Test of all time’ Freddie Flintoff paused to comfort the vanquished Australian batsmen, the world’s best spin bowler (Shane Warne) practicing his trade…. and, of course, an English series win only achieved on the last day of the last test of the series, when in a manner peculiarly typical to our nation, we tried to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory, before a masterful, cocky and belligerent century from Kevin Pietersen finally meant that victory was ours.
Ultimately the people who trash cricket not only don’t ‘get’ it, but don’t even want to open their eyes to what the sport has to offer. It’s a unique game, which holds a special place in our culture as a nation, and just because it doesn’t fit in to the instant-gratification demands that seem to dominate our lives, that’s no reason to trash it.
Come Wednesday night, I’ll be watching the coverage on Sky bleary-eyed for as long as I can take it – and across the land on Thursday morning, just look at the facial expressions of the people walking to work, catching the Tube, hopping on the bus or doing the shopping. If we’re doing badly, the greyness of a cold November morning will be magnified ten-fold. But if we’ve taken a few wickets, or one of our immensely promising crop of young English batsman has come to the party early, the world will fleetingly seem a better, happier place. And we can dream that we may just be holding on to that famous Ashes urn for a while longer.


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100 Responses to Why I love cricket

  1. Allyd says:

    Mate, I\’m completely on your side here. As someone who only managed to get to the Friday of the Old Trafford test, and had to miss out on the glorious scenes where thousands upon thousands of people were turned away from Manchester\’s Piccadilly Gardens by the police, these are the scenes that cricket can evoke.
    Football can keep it\’s mindless hooligans, where it\’s considered fun and acceptable to berate the opposition and pelt them with coins simply for being that week\’s opposition. Even the chief tormentor of all England cricket fans and players over the last 15 years Shane Warne didn\’t get abuse from us, instead we stood up and sang "We only wish you were English."
    So all you who knock the game and it\’s fans just think about it. Would you prefer to take your kids to a game of football where the fans swear abuse and assault each other, or a game of cricket, which shows that sport can be sporting? Players can give it their all and still appreciate the efforts of their opposition.

  2. Dan says:

    im on your side cricket rules once i play in the under 13s instead of under 11s and in one game the first bowl i got played to me i got i four and got 12 runs untill the game ended because i was 11th or so and i allmost made the team win 

  3. E says:

    I must admit to feeling a little worried that we might get beaten in fairly short time. I know we lost the first test last time around but we MUST get off to a good start in this series. Even if we don\’t win the first match as long as we don\’t loose pressure will start to build on the Aussies. They are unused to that, and don\’t like it much and it might just tip the scales in our favour.

  4. nick says:

    great point ally! cricket is a sport where parents can show their kids what a real sportsman is, and that a cricketer is an ideal role model for any youngster! ok the game CAN be a little dull at times, but never at any point has an England/Australia match been dull! I attended the Sunday of the Old Trafford test match last year, and it was a great experience, the banter between the two sets of fans was fantastic, both sides taking the jokes with good nature, talking amongst each other at the lunch/tea breaks, drinking together, and having a great time. If anyone out there can tell me when that has happened with football, then i will show mr @rse on the town hall steps!!

  5. Unknown says:

    Cricket is a game that many people will never come to turms with , cricket is not just a sport No its much much more Cricket is WAR without guns and violence ,a game where winning is the onlything , played by gentlemen in a spirit which other sports can never match, test matches are 5 days why ? simple ! wars take longer than 90minutes, its a game where stratigies are everything , Cricket is a game That continusly changes and thats why many dont grasp what it brings to us true fans , simple cricket is not a game its LIFE !!!!!!! 

  6. Laura says:

    Cricket is the best game ever invented! The people who don\’t like it just don\’t understand it. Can\’t wait till the Ashes start!!!!

  7. ANIL says:

    I cant wait for the Ashes to start – I thoroughly enjoyed watching England win them
    I remember one time a guy was watching and his Swedish (I think it was) girlfriend asked him when half time was – and the thought occured to me was that only takes place after both countries have batted their first innings – so half time is in approximately 2 days – HA HA !!!!

  8. Ali says:

    Cricket rules……………. n i m a cricket freak. I love football but that doesn\’t make me hate cricket. I totally agree with all the people here who thinks that cricket is game of passion and is a thorough test of temperament. It is a battle where the bowler can attack the batsman with bouncers n tow breaking inswinging yorkers, and the batsman can destroy the line n length of the bowler with sweet, classic shots n smatching 6ers n 4s.
    As far as 5 days test match is concerned, if sometimes its boring when one ov the sides totally dominates others, don\’t forget nail biting, thrilling moments when you can feel the heart pounding n blood rushing through the veins as soon as the bowler starts to take his run up. And this is the only game where you can enjoy this experience, for 5 days. At the end i would say CRICKET IS A GAME WHICH TEACHES MANNERS AND SPORTSMAN SPIRIT THE BEST.

  9. Kasha says:

    i don\’t get all the fuss!! i\’m a girl, i love cricket, but i don\’t feel the need to shout about it, any more than if i loved football!! just get on with and enjoy the sport for what it is…….a perfect example of team work, strategy, and people in the sporting world actually having manners and being polite to each other. it\’s not rocket science guys, all the argueing…..well, to be honest. it\’s just not cricket!!!!!!

  10. Pete says:

    I Love Cricket and it is a game which takes strenght of muscle and brain, cricket is a thinking man\’s game. As I am a bowler myself you gotta think about where you are gonna pitch the ball and should it be an inswinger or an outswinger. Short or full pitch delivery. I\’m only 14 years old and i understand most of the rules of cricket but it is complex but easy. Cricket is a gentlemans game. Plus I Agree with the person without a name who said does war last 90 minutes.

  11. Unknown says:

    There is no other sport in the world like cricket! And this is one of the reasons why i love it so much! It is part of our English tradition just like football, and they are both amazing sports with endless amounts of emotion. Can\’t wait until the Ashes because i know we will retain the urn, and show the Aussies what we are made of…again!

  12. Keisha says:

    Cricket, beautiful cricket; Cricket, wonderful cricket. Who could not love this game?

  13. Titilope says:

    Wow, I couldn\’t even finish reading the article for fear of dying of boredom!!!

  14. R says:

    Dom for Prime minister! =P
    I couldn\’t agree more with your passionate and powerful argument. \’And yet… amongst my friends, whether work-based or outside of the office, I stand out as some nerdy cricket-loving freak\’ haha, join the club!
    It is very true that most people who wage this jihad against cricket have never properly sat down and watched a game. If they did, I\’m not sure they would join our ranks as hawkeye-pampered modern aficionado\’s, but they would probably have a lot more respect for the game.
    The nineties, which any england fan will have to admit were really detrimental to the game here, are in my opinion the biggest reason for the anti-cricket sentiment. That\’s why you had british asian\’s like me throwing my lot in with Pakistan, who were then crickets answer to Brazil\’s football team. And could you blame me for picking Wasim, Waqar and Afridi over Fraser, Caddick and Atherton?!….. Exactly.
    Cricket just wasn\’t sexy enough, and that\’s something that is now is, with the godsend\’s that are Kevin Pietersen, Andrew \’Freddie\’ Flintoff and Simon Jones (ok, ok, he plays about as much as Imran Khan, but thats not the point). I think this current generation of england cricketers are doing their bit to put it back on the map and restore it\’s position as THE sport, which is where it was during the mid 20th century, above football, and deservedly so…I wouldn\’t say I\’m an england supporter per se,  but there aren\’t many a more riveting sites that Freddie Flintoff bowling a away swinger around the wicket, or Pietersen reverse sweeping the greatest off spinner of all time for six, nor even Paul Collingwood pulling off another miracle in the field.
    I\’ll be behind the team all the way though, and hope to see some top class cricket, regardless of whether it comes from Mitchell Johnson\’s left arm thunderbolts, or Kevin Pietersen\’s swashbuckling strokes!

  15. Ray says:

    For all you English cricket supporters, the day of reckoning is close, roll on Thursday and the Brisbane Test.
    Aussie EXpat

  16. ciarondunne says:

    cricket is great. that\’s it.COME ON ENGLAND.And Warwickshire  :)scaredygenie

  17. joff says:

      The midnight run is always worth it. Any time of day (or night) Cricket gives so much to so many. It will always be the best game. And the Ashes is the crown to any England or Australian player.

  18. daniel says:

    It\’s worth it as were going to see England retain the ashes.

  19. ALLAN says:

    cricket is so boring and sad..what do people see in it

  20. Fahmedah says:

    Cricket,cricket.I am a girl and i love the game. . .CmOn. . .Cricket is the best game. . .England should kick buTt in the world cup. . . . .

  21. john says:

    the theory that the "Ashes"are the burnt residue of a cricket bat is a lie design to cover up a gruesome reality. In fact crickets best kept secret is that they are the ashes of a spectator who watching an early test match after four days became so bored that He poured a gallon of petrol over himself therbye incinerating Himself. His ashes were consigned to an urn where His widow who in fact detested him decided to donate them to the Mcc. 

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