More cricket euphoria September 12, 2005Posted 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.