July 27, 2006

English cricket

Cricket should have balls ... but a smile would be nice

Martin Williamson

In The Guardian, David Hopps bemoans the loss of a more sporting approach to the game ... not a hankering back to the "good old days", but a valid argument that cricket might have lost some of its charm.

It has taken me a long time to realise where cricket, the most cerebral and yet joyful of games, has been going wrong. Mercilessly stifled by grim-faced commercialism, it has utterly lost its generosity of spirit.

He cites several examples of the way things used to be:

Maurice Leyland paused as he walked to the crease - to give the Somerset fielders a hot quadruple tip from the afternoon's race card. The players pooled their loose change and all four came up. The home scorer semaphored the succession of betting triumphs. In their excitement, Somerset put down four catches.


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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