Tuesday, 7 July 2009
The greatest test - The Ashes
In a couple of hours time the greatest sporting event in the world will recommence. I wish I was there, it's the thing I miss most about living in England. Hawai`i is lacking when it comes to the noble sport of cricket.
Although England had played Australia previously, the Ashes was born after a match in 1882 when the Aussies beat England and it was seen as the death of English cricket. This is a common occurrence to this day, but every so often England manage to win one of the biannual contests.
In my opinion there is no greater sport than cricket and there is no greater contest than the Aussies vs. the Poms. It's a team sport but is also an individual game with the batsman taking on the bowler. Unlike baseball, it's acceptable for the bowler (pitcher) to try and take a batsman's (batter) head off (but it must pitch first, i.e., bounce) and afterwards they'll both joke about it and shake hands. Unless they're some called Jeff Thomson.
Placing the fielders is like a chess game - put a couple of fielders out at long leg and the batsman might think the bowler will send another ball towards his head and prepare for a hook, but he may not, it might be a yorker or even cleverer, a slower ball!
Don't know what I'm talking about? No problem!
Cricket is one of those sports you really have to play from childhood in order to understand properly. You can certainly learn the laws (cricket has laws, not rules) later in life but you'll never learn the nuances. Does it matter who won the toss and decides whether to bat or bowl first? It certainly does but explaining why to someone new to the sport is challenging! It's why I might just stay up a little longer to see which side the coin lands, England's or Australia's.
Anyway, over the next couple of months there will be 25 days of the most intense sport and rivalry that cannot be compared in any other game and it'll surely get nasty at times. Despite that, they'll always stop playing for lunch and tea. After the day's play is over, they'll share a beer or two.
I just wish I was there to see it.