January 26, 2010

Pakistan

Teens gone wild

Andrew Hughes


Oh pipe down already, or you'll have detention with Shane Watson © International Cricket Council
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I’ll be honest. I don’t like teenagers. Their music is dumb, their hair is too long, they are having way, way too much fun and most irritatingly of all, I’m not one of them. So, the Under-19 World Cup, an entire tournament confined to adolescents, was never going to appeal as a prospect. Still, if Sky has gone to the trouble of sending an outside broadcast unit all the way to a field in New Zealand, it is the least I can do to tune in and pretend to take an interest.

So on Saturday, I sat down to watch the highlights of the India versus Pakistan quarter-final. It was a little disorienting. A 50-over game, reduced to 23 overs per side, then squeezed into a half-hour transmission. Take out the ad breaks, the replays and the waffle and it boiled down to a collection of sixes, wickets and the more amusing cock-ups. Every piece of action seemed only vaguely related to what had gone before. It was like watching a French film.

I am not qualified to say whether the teams were any good, although after witnessing a particularly horrendous slog across the line, I had to drape a handkerchief over my marble bust of Peter May, lest it start to weep. But all told, they did a fair impression of a proper grown-up one-day game, albeit with more hair and fewer beer bellies. They even managed a few circus shots (I counted at least two Dilscoops, one of which actually worked).

I could have lived without the cranked-up celebrations though. I haven’t seen that much roaring, posing or strutting since I stopped watching WWF. It is not possible for the sane viewer to watch a cricketer puff up his chest, stick out his bottom lip and howl like a baboon in the mating season without feeling a spasm or two of irritation. When the cricketer in question is a teenager who has just dismissed one of his peers with a long hop, the irritation is increased exponentially. I blame Shane Watson.

Nick Knight was Sky’s man in a suit for this occasion, paying his dues before he moves on to bigger things. He troubles me, that one. It’s the eyes. At first, I thought he was just frightened. But now I’m sure he’s trying to exert some kind of mind control through hypnosis. I haven’t worked out what he’s up to yet, but he doesn’t appear to want to join the Botham-Gower-Lloyd-Hussain-Atherton axis of washed-up old warriors. I can imagine him hosting a Saturday night quiz show or founding a cult in the wilds of Warwickshire. He’s plainly someone to watch, by which I mean, keep your eye on him. Just remember to blink.

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Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by babarzia on (February 2, 2010, 20:06 GMT)

the best part is a cricket article about the under 19 world cup managed to offend a frenchman's sense of articitic intellectual integrity or something.......amazing...cant stop laughing

Posted by segars on (January 30, 2010, 17:46 GMT)

Cracking article! Good acurate observations with the usual twist of humour. Agree with you 99%, except for the French films. Keep it up Mr Hughes.

@ Rahul. That prat was a real nuisance to watch last year in Kuala Lumpur but I think he has matured now, playing well in the senior side.

Posted by Abhi on (January 29, 2010, 12:47 GMT)

wow this was one of the funniest articles... I couldn't stop laughing on the nick Knight description. I had to go online and look him up to add a face to it :-).

btw ppl when an article features on a page with the title 'Cricket humour and satire', maybe just maybe the article is intended in jest...

Posted by ramesh on (January 28, 2010, 18:45 GMT)

haha you seem to have touched the nerve of some people .. but really when we can scream and shed tears in gully cricket matches the under 19 tournament is at least sanctioned by the ICC ..

Posted by Andrew Hughes on (January 28, 2010, 17:35 GMT)

Thanks to those who took the time to comment. I seem to have attracted one or two criticisms, so I will do my best to answer them.

First of all, I do think some respondents might have saved themselves a little trouble if they'd taken the time to read the article before venting their spleens.

Then there are those readers who, in taking a determined stand against irony, insist on reading everything on Page 2 as straight journalism. I cannot fault their determination, although I do fear for their blood pressure.

It has also been suggested that I am in some way jealous of teenagers. Well, that goes without saying, surely. Who wouldn't want to be eighteen again?

The only criticism that left any impression on me was the suggestion that I had unfairly slighted French cinema. Guilty as charged. It was a cheap shot and I apologise.

Finally, to Arshad, you are very kind, but I am afraid I am not an Australian.

Posted by Lou on (January 28, 2010, 17:28 GMT)

Funny article, but I have enjoyed the tournament. You should have watched Mitch Marsh batting. He bats as correctly as you'd like.

Posted by Auchi, Sri Lanka on (January 28, 2010, 5:44 GMT)

You're just jealous of teenagers!

Posted by Syphier on (January 28, 2010, 3:40 GMT)

Funny article i really ejoyed it. I likw how you hate u-19 crickets. Lol.

Posted by Rakitha on (January 28, 2010, 2:21 GMT)

not the best article ive ever read in my life

Posted by cpndodgee on (January 27, 2010, 23:55 GMT)

I thought only old fellas like me deplored the state of modern cricket...thank god for tv totherwise...yes totherwise we the viewing public would be unable to put a face to a name as in Englands u19 captain doing a feddie mercury pose after taking a simple catch to beat india i think in a play off for 33rd place in the posing stakes. perhaps the brains trust known as australian cricket commentators shuld take some of the blame as well.is mark nicholls secretly in the closet for the aussie team. The last peach of a shot i saw was my missus

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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