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More cricket euphoria September 12, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

OK, OK, so I’ve got as caught up in the Ashes mania as much as the next man and I’m perfectly happy to admit I’m complete putty in the press’s hands and have only been euphoric because everyone else in the country has. (I mean country in a virtual sense. The BBC is my England, lived via the internet.) But not only am I glad that England have won for the first time in 18 years; I’m actually rather pleased that cricket’s star has once more shone. Yes, it’s soppy and sentimental to equate cricket with old England, warm beer, the village green etc., but I can’t help feeling a bit squelchy when remembering that old funny gentlemanly world it evokes. There’s a nice article about Mr. Flintoff in The Spectator and, of course, his humility and modesty only go to underline – very deliberately, but anyway – the difference between cricket and, say, football or tennis, where the testosterone seems to be brimming closer to the surface and not necessarily in a very pleasant way. When countries are playing each other in sporting fixtures, I can’t see any option but root for your own country (unless you particularly want the other team to win, for whatever reason. I do suffer from the odd queer blip. If Finland were playing England in anything, I might have my loyalties severly tested, but the Finns hold a special place in my heart) BUT, at least where cricket is concerned, you can do this politely, respectfully, unwankerishly. This is a gentle war. This contrasts nicely, in my view, with the unpleasantly partisan crowd at the US Open men’s final last night. (I’m chuffed Roger won, incidentally.) So I hope this won’t be a flash in the pan as far as cricket’s position in England is concerned. Even from this distance, I can see this series has gripped the nation’s imagination and I hope that will keep the sport going strong. Some traditions, I think, are worth saving merely because they are good traditions; I believe cricket belongs in that league.



1. lukeski - September 13, 2005

There will be a brief surge in interest in cricket form all parts of English society – yesterday’s news had an item about the Fulham WI watching it in a pub. The papers have had articles explaining the rules of cricket – can people who do not kow what bails are really be cricket fans? It is precisley the same national fervour that leads the green-welly brigade to watch the football world cup, and Sun readers to engage with tennis. How many ‘tennis’ fans watch the final once Henman has exited?

2. Broke in Berlin - September 13, 2005

Lukeski, yes, I think it’s probably easier to actually support England and be sillily jingoistic from abroad when I don’t have to hear everyone else getting as stupidly excited as I do. Being away makes one somehow idealise ‘home’, unless, of course, you’re scorchingly happy in your new home. But my current love for England is really only fuelled by a slight dissatisfaction at being in Berlin. Of course the moment I land at Stansted and see the swirly carpets and the immigration officials and the Stansted Express and Finchley Road and the price of a Travelcard and the filth, I instantly remember why I left in the first place. But one forgets easily, like the folk in Laurie Lee’s valley who, he says, every year seemed shocked at the arrival of a new season. But loving England from abroad is like loving a dead person – it’s easy. They do so little wrong.

3. lukeski - September 13, 2005

I must apologise for the reptitious nature of these posts. Ich kann nicht mehr. Thank god we lost to Northern Ireland, or the sporting world would be utterly intolerable.
I can appreciate the yearning for Britain from afar – even the grot seems delightful after evne a few weeks abroad.

4. Broke in Berlin - September 13, 2005

I’ve got nothing against a bit of repetition, unlike Nicholas Parsons. Anything is better than silence. So rant as much as you like. That’s what I’m here for. And I agree. I’m chuffed to bollocks that Northern Ireland beat England, just to prove it’s not all jingo with me. I couldn’t give a toss about football, although, to respect our instant tradition of combining sport with Ukraine, I’m chuffed to see that country has qualified for their first World Cup, government in place or no. If I haven’t died of Heimweh by then, I might even be cheering them on from anear next year…

5. Blonde at Heart - August 21, 2006

I arrived in Engalnd last year just as England won the Ashes. I came from underground to Trafalgar Sq. and the whole place was filled with people and flags. I asked someone what it was all about and he said “after we taught the Aussies how to play cricket they bit us for 18 years. About time we won!”.

A daft question: what IS the Ashes?

6. BiB - August 21, 2006

A five-test (match) cricket series held every summer between England and Australia. As England is hopeless at all sports, apart from utterly scummy ones that no-one else would dream of playing – snooker, darts – Australia wins every year. But last year, England won, so we all had to get very excited about it. It’s called the Ashes because the trophy is an urn holding the ashes of the stumps (the wooden things the batsman stands in front of when he’s being bowled to) from, I think, the first Ashes series however many millions of years ago. (I’m not a cricket expert at all – I hear cricket is popular in Israel, by the way. Is this true? – but I did get carried away on the wave of joy last year, I must say.)

7. Blonde at Heart - August 21, 2006

Cricket is not at all popular in Israel, I am afraid. Most Israelis do not even know what cricket is. Even though Israel was once under British control, I guess it was not enough to invoke love to this game.

8. BiB - August 22, 2006

I think it was a BBC programme I heard once about some Israelis – probably ones who’ve come from England and South Africa – who’ve set up a cricket club in Israel and they’re having some success. It would be fun if Israel produced an international team, as the sport is pretty limited geographically.

9. Blonde at Heart - August 22, 2006

Why limited geographically? There are teams in England, India, Pakistan and Australia. This is pretty much a wide area.

10. BiB - August 22, 2006

Yes, but there are only about 10 – perhaps a few more – countries playing at the international level, unlike football, say, where almost every country has a team. Yes, it’s spreading a bit. Bangladesh, Scotland, Kenya, maybe even Ireland appear at the cricket World Cup now.

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