Monday, 20 July 2009


I am doggedly translating a single sentence of 27 pages (this must be the new world record, even for Mr K, beating his own old world record by almost fifteen pages) but I have Cricinfo running on the tool bar just above the text, and watch the wickets-down figure rise and the name Flintoff recur.

Look, I am a Hungarian, and it took me seven years to understand cricket (1963 on Brighton beach, if you want to know, listening - not watching - as Cowdrey went in to bat with a broken arm and Brian Close strode down the wicket to Hall and Griffiths), and I know from the withering looks I have received from the true-born English, even the true-born Anglo-Welsh, that it is not my place to comment on that which has not been in my blood for at last three generations. Nevertheless, sneakily I have kept an eye on the sport while keeping my mouth shut, but the Flintoff story is, well, rousing. The blond giant, the green man, the stout-hearted boozing dare-devil combination of Little John, Samwise Gamgee and Henry V, is injured but bowls the spell of his life, consistently over 90 mph (that's almost as fast as the nuns in the story below) to take five wickets. The big-hearted boy that is for ever pastoral England wins it.

As to the win, excellent of course, though it would be even better if it had not been for a few questionable umpiring decisions. But then it is the first England win over Australia at Lords since 1934, so damn the quibbles, and back to the 27-page sentence with a new bounce in my stride.


Billy C said...

Phht! Who's bothered about a few questionable umpiring decisions?

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have beaten the Ozzies
In England's green and pleasant land.


Nicole S said...

My father was reading the Torygraph or somesuch on a beach in Spain and a chap came up to ask him the cricket score. My father said sorry, he didn't know, to which the man replied: "Sorry, I thought you were English." Mind you, the thick East European accent might have been a bit of a clue too. Me, I still don't understand cricket.

George S said...

'Sorry, I thought you were English' is perfect, Nicole. Deep in the heart of the nation is a set of stumps with bails perched on top, while somewhere, out of the murk, a young man is striding towards the wicket, a bat in his hand.

Cricket is in fact quite glorious, though I say so only in a whisper. More a form of civilisation, more a church, than a game.

You see how Hungarian all that sounds? I feel like Jacob Bronowski explaining the Duckworth-Lewis method.

I now that 'questionable' means only theoretical questions, Billy. And I'm all in favour of stuffing the ever self-confident Australians.

Rachel Phillips said...

I dont like cricket. I once went out with this bloke who fancied himself as a cricketer, could have played for his County he said (but he never did). In the summer it was nets during the week, whatever that was, and a game on Saturday and a game on Sunday and I never knew what time it was going to end or when he was going to be home. Once we were moving house on a Saturday and he still played cricket in the afternoon. We werent really suited.

Dafydd John said...

Who are these Anglo-Welsh?

Cricket is my favourite sport, however.

George S said...

A one-time colleague and friend of mine, Dafydd, called Parry, whose lip distinctly curled when I commented on the contrast in style between Gower and Botham (or was it Gower and Gooch?). 'What do you lesser mortals know of such things!" was the import.

You can see what a deep wound this must have left on my vulnerable psyche.