Cricket coaches often tell their young charges that the game of cricket can sometimes be considered a synopsis of life with so many twists and turns that sometimes after a lengthy innings, one is still unsure of the result until the very end.
Recently, I was watching a replay of an old Test Match and it dawned on me that cricket could not only be reminiscent of life but also of love.
The toss at the start of the innings could be considered the introduction of the swain and his lass. In the first innings of a match, the teams usually play a cautious game trying to assess each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The young lad, keen and flamboyant, rushes in to open the bowling, but the lass, ever vigilant, is content to let the opening salvo go harmlessly outside the off stump.
Not to be deterred, the keen tyro tries a few yorkers, but these are easily blunted with a straight bat and dribble slowly out on the offside. Realising that he has been unable to make any impression with his fast attack, he changes his tactics and decides to slow down his game by introducing the spinners, hoping that he can fox the young lady out of her crease. The object of his intentions is, however, equal to the task and dances down the pitch to smother the spin and when it is tossed up, she drives it straight to the cover boundary.
When it is his turn to bat the tyro is keen to display his attacking technique but is confronted with swing rather than raw pace and finds that the late movement off the seam has him in all sorts of trouble and he cannot get the ball off the square. Removing the seamers from the attack and replacing them with a chinaman and googly specialist, the lass now has him up a certain creek without a paddle and in frustration he hits across the line and lobs a catch to mid-wicket.
Having conceded first innings honours to the opposing team, the young lad decides to take the advice (previously ignored) which had been offered by some old stalwarts and opens the bowling in the second innings with a medium pacer. This tactic has the desired effect and the young lady succumbs to the seemingly innocuous offerings and gives
away her wicket by playing too early at one that moved off the seam and is out caught behind.
Now that he has a winning target, which is apparently within his reach, the young lover eagerly approaches his task with relish, but little does he know, or realise, that the game is not over until the last ball is bowled.
After successfully seeing off the opening attack, he believes the end is in sight and in his anxiety throws caution to the wind, forgetting the sage advice from the elders. With his hormones raging and blood in his eye, he sees victory in the shape of a juicy, full toss and charges down the pitch, only to see the ball deviate ever so slightly, leaving him stranded down the pitch.
In dismay, he looks back to see the wicket-keeper pull off a smart piece of stumping and he has lost the game. The innocent lass
whom he thought he had outsmarted has caught her fish, and reels him in hook, line and sinker.
This is cricket at its finest, a game in which tactics, skill and patience play very important roles. At the other extreme, however, there is the Twenty20 version, which in this context can only be construed as gang rape.
We wish Test Cricket a long and happy life.
Cricket, Life and Love.