Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'll have a bash instead

There wasn't too much to write about yesterday; lots of attritional batting, thus demonstrating that even cricketing regimes dedicated to the wholesale philosophy of attacking occasionally have to slide their swords back into the scabbard; a bowling attack that lost one strike bowler, and found another one of its primary spearheads committed to a strangely defensive mindset, which refused to be flexible, and lastly a pitch, which refused to turn into the minefield that all and sundry had predicted (if I had a dollar for every time television commentators' predictions about the demise of a pitch had been proven wrong, I could have bought several expensive legal textbooks by now). So, what I'll do instead, is indulge in a bit of bashing – mainly directed at some folks that have managed to irritate me profoundly over the past few days and months. It always feels good to have a go, its pretty cathartic, and you stand a good chance of pissing some people off as much as your targets have pissed you off.

So, exhibit Number one: Billy Bowden, a legend in his own mind. Bowden is by the looks of it, a not very good umpire. He has somehow convinced himself, and no one else, that he deserves classification as one of the games “characters”. Unfortunately, he hasn't managed to learn the LBW law. Whats more, there is little evidence that his experience is standing him in good stead, for he refuses to learn. This weakness might be tolerable were it combined with a little humility but that quality is in short supply when it comes to the Goat. Instead, he projects an air of superior wisdom, and a feigned nonchalance that manages to come off as carelessness. But it gets worse. For within the heart of this LBW-law-ignorant-failed-cricketer, beats the heart of a frustrated schoolmaster, one eager to reprimand , correct, and admonish. He loves to give dirty looks to bowlers who dare appeal, to all who appear not to be wholly approving of his slipshod decision making. Perhaps his frustration at not being universally loved for his supposedly-quirky personality characteristics bubbles up in these circumstances, and prevents him from thinking about the midnight oil he needs to be burning while studying those forgotten laws of cricket.

Exhibit Number Two: Ian Healy. Are most hypocrites as sanctimonious as Ian Healy? I doubt it. Most of them are not given jobs as commentators, and thus not reassured that their pronouncements are important. Thus, their sanctimony knows some reasonable bounds. Healy, however, steadily climbs up the slopes of Mount Sanctimony, only disappointed that its summit is not higher. If it were, he'd try harder to go beyond his previous efforts. For what else could explain his constant harping about Irfan Pathan's minor chirps at Australian batsmen, his urging that Pathan reign himself in, that the umpires caution him, that order must prevail on the cricket field? This from the man who could not keep his mouth shut behind the stumps, and who was as much a "mental disintegrator" as anyone else.


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