Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Delusions Of Grandeur

I was at the Test yesterday. Managed to get in, at around quarter to nine. We'd been there since quarter past seven. Still, it was absolutely worth it. A quality days play, some of the best cricket I've ever seen live, and my first England test, if you can believe it.

Of course, I'm enthusing about this mostly because I wish to rub people's noses the wrong way, as we say around here, but I am also so chuffed it was a good day's play. In fact, I have no voice left from my vocal exertions, and apparently my efforts landed me on the tellybox. I need an agent, quick!

Since this seems to be the done thing, a couple of points of my own:

1: It was, without doubt, the loudest sporting event I've ever been to that didn't involve motors of some kind. No Premiership football match I've seen has been louder, or at least not for many seconds anyway.

2: Simon Jones has taken up the mantle of 'crowd favourite.' The receptions he received at the start and end of every over were astounding. I have to say, quite right too. He was easily the most threatening bowler, and he's come so far from the start of this year it's hard to believe it's the same guy. I was mightily impressed.

3: It's possible that Hayden will score a big total at some point in the next two tests. Personally, however, I reckon he won't. He just looks, as does Gillespie come to that, not particularly bothered, almost tired. I can't believe Australia have no-one they'd prefer, so maybe we'll see Tate instead of Gillespie. Oh, and yes, by the way, he does need a haircut. Desperately.

4: It strikes me that this series has done more for cricket in Britain than anything in the last twenty years. Two of my best mates have hated cricket for years, yet suddenly they're watching every ball of every day with rabid interest. I know people who hate sport, anything to do with it, who have told me they were watching the match. In 'The Mirror' this morning, a match report took up the whole of pages three and four, or maybe five and six. At any rate, it was astonishing that a simple sports report should be so high up the paper, no matter how bitter the rivalry involved. It just goes to show how good the cricket's been, and how closely matched the two sides are.


5: Cricket is the best sport by far for access to the participants. My mate went for a wander yesterday, and found a group of lads, proper Mancunians one and all, just ripping the piss out of Gillespie in the nets. In what other sport could this happen? In what other sport could Australian players have passed so close by the fans that, forget being able to sign autographs, the crowd could have trodden on their toes if they were so inclined? That, as much as anything else, is the beauty of cricket.

Compare and contrast: Jonesy looks fired and enthused, while

Gillespie looks like a third-rate pimp. Get a haircut!

It's true - cricket is the new rock 'n' roll, and Gillespie is its Gene Simmons. (It's still rubbish though.)
Jones looks like the pimp's minder.
There's some truth in that. He does have a slight look about him like a bouncer at a nightclub that nobody actually goes to.

Still, I bet he doesn't have nits.
I suppose I have to eat humble pie about Hayden now too . . .
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