An Elegy to Cricket, past and future

It’s amazing that when one gets old and full of fog what one remebers as the finest moments in life. I mean I have done a great deal and can be consoidered a hotshot in several areas, but when I lie back and dream I dream of oiled cricket bats, pads, shiny kookaburrah balls, sweetly mown grass and entire week-ends of nothing but cricket ahead of me. And of the tournaments, with 5 full days and never enough. I remember the balls which were bowled to perfection, the sweet shots that sailed effortless out of the ground, the dislocated thumb, the concusssion, facing Peter Pollock, captaining Kepler Wessels. Being glorified at school. It has all to do with cricket and I fail entirely to understand why I did not make it my life’s work as my parents expected me to. Apartheid is what I blame. Apartheid and a love of war, or at least the idea of it. Kepler went to Aussie to realise his dreams and a great many far better than I like Dave Martin, did not bother either. Many of the finest cricketers the world has never seen are are transposed into Grey’s Elegy in a country Churchyard.
I remember the white flannels and the ethics of the gentlemans sport and therefore react with chagrin to the flagrant exhibitionism that has overtaken the sport, the clown-like costumery, questioning the umpires decision, not walking when you know you edged the ball, and the downright low-class mood that dominates the sport.Where cheating to win or lose rather, is accepted along with the paycheck that follows.
Test cricket and text cricket alone retains the essence of the game while the rest has descended into a form of exhibitionistic baseball. That Is why I hope the Kevin Pietersen, Hansie Cronje’s,  and all like them are never allowed to enter the test cricket arena ever again, no matter how good they are. The team always transcends the individual and undivided loyalty and modesty  is the only quality shown outside the dressing room.Let soccer stand for the rest of that despicable self-glorification. Rugby has always been inviolable and I hope it stays that way.

©Howard Gamble

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