July 18, 2010

Why cricket trumps football

The summer pastime is in danger of being engulfed by the beautiful game and its not-so-beautiful groin-injuring fans
27

Having locked myself in my flat for the week, cowering in a corner of my living room, hidden under a Dutch flag and hugging the remains of an orange vuvuzela whilst rocking back and forth in a foetal-like position, I find myself contemplating my life’s athletic priorities.

Over the last eight years both football and cricket have dominated my sporting life and as the respective seasons overlap one another each year, I need to decide which one takes priority. The decision is usually taken using the method perfected by American politics, i.e. the knee-jerk reaction. If I have a run of ducks, wicketless games, dropped catches and, more importantly, rubbish teas, I tend to favour the beautiful game. However, this attitude may reverse in the space of seconds, when, say, some ginger-haired midget, reeking of booze, with pupils the size of dinner plates pulsating so violently they look set to explode, crashes into me with a two-footed dropkick. As I feel his sharpened studs steadily dig into my groin I may find myself longing for the bored hours spent counting grass stems at fine leg. Every year I find myself facing this choice and this year is no exception.

Although I am 25 years old, mentally I haven’t aged since the age of 14, and physically I have accelerated to around 40. This means that like any 14-year-old I would like to, among other things, play sport all day every day. Unfortunately my body is about as resistant to injury as you would expect any 6ft 4in lump of meat at just a shade under 100kg (220 lbs) to be. Currently I am carrying a permanently swollen right ankle (football and bowling), a displaced left shoulder joint (mountain-biking - I have a lovely bit of bone sticking out of my shoulder and am banned from taking my shirt off in certain public areas), a strained knee ligament (football), and a mystery injury to my right shoulder, which for the last few weeks has prevented me from bowling (this unexpectedly occurred whilst I was giving my older brother a serious education in beach football). I imagine that the word “hypochondriac” may be balancing on the tip of your tongue right now, dying to be spat out at your computer screen, but unfortunately I guarantee the authenticity of these, which means that over the last few years I have led a very sporadic athletic life.

As mentioned, I am presently unable to bowl – not a reflection on the quality of my bowling, although I am sure some batsman, not to mention my captain, Buck, may think otherwise – and have thus reverted to keeping wicket and holding a bat for an over or two, rarely causing any massive depletion of ink in the scorer’s pen. If it weren’t for the enjoyment of wicketkeeping (definitely a lot more exciting than fielding) and post-match socialising, my cricket could be feeling the pressure of the ever-present football threat. Although quite happy to be missing the pre-season training, which generally involves something horribly masochistic like sprinting up and down dunes (about as much fun as a colonoscopy), once football season is in full swing, around two months before the end of the cricket summer, I will be sure to get itchy feet again. To keep myself faithful to our beloved summer pastime I have forced myself to conjure up the following list of the virtues of cricket over football.

It wasn’t particularly challenging. Here it is:

1. Can't play cricket in the rain / sleet / snow / hail (huge bonus for anyone who has ever played football in the Scottish winter)

2. Tea.

3. Fewer psycho ginger midgets (i.e. less trips to A&E to get football studs surgically removed from sensitive areas).

4. Missed opportunities in cricket generally met with awkward silence as opposed to volley of abuse one would receive on a football pitch.

5. Sledging is more refined in cricket (although that is pretty marginal in NE Scotland).

6. Tea.

7. Cricket is more an individual sport, so even if the team loses but personal milestones are achieved, one is still satisfied.

8. The Netherlands would definitely beat Spain in cricket.

9. No damned German octopuses predicting scorelines.

10. Tea.

I fear that my inner struggle is a microcosm of modern-day society. Football’s tentacles (only and last Paul the Octopus pun, I promise) are wrapping themselves ever tighter around our precious summer pastime. I do not want to be the Sky Sports of Aberdeenshire cricket, briefly embracing the sport in June and July before chucking it back onto the slagheap as soon as Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal creaks back into action. I feel I must make a stand, however minor, and show that cricket will not lie down without a fight. If only Buck the Colossal Captain would let me bat at No. 4.

So this is a rallying cry to protect our great summer pastime. Footballing Cricketers (or Cricketing Footballers), do not abandon your whites until the season is over. Force your respective leagues to hold off until mid-September. Only through mass action can we prevail. Equally importantly, captains of Footballing Cricketers (or… well you get the point by now), be sure to offer your stars every incentive to keep on their whites. Let them open the batting, let them clean up the tail, and be sure to give them first dibs at tea. I just hope Buck the Colossal Captain is listening. Psycho ginger midgets seem to be everywhere at the moment.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naila on November 5, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Nice and entertaining article. I myself have been torn between football and cricket at times -- but cricket always wins over football. Oh, and I completely agree with all reasons.

  • waterbuffalo on July 29, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Cricket is exciting when it is a contest, for example, Pakistan vs Australia, no australian scored a century, and it was a very low -scoring match, contrast this with Sri-Lanka vs India, everyone and his mother scored a century, 1000 runs and only eight wickets fell, that is extremely boring...in contrast the tension in football is unbearable, even 0-0 to me is very exciting, I supported Holland against Brazil, (won money) and against Spain (lost money) what I like about about football is that one mistake and it is all over. In cricket the tension comes after 3 or four days.

  • Buck on July 27, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    No chance.

  • Byrner on July 26, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    those bloody ginger midgets!!! great stuff rene..... even aberdeenshire beat spain at cricket!!! x

  • sanjeev on July 20, 2010, 2:42 GMT

    The reason why I love Cricket most, is because the variety it brings. It is not always in the same pace. Eg: It's great to see when the bowler returns to the bowling mark and we don't know what's coming next or what the batsman will do. A defence has its own beauty. Ofcourse there are those boring moments too, but that is the variety.

  • Ayrtons on July 20, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    What a wonderful article ! cricket is most definately a beautiful game. Good luck to all of the up and coming national teams, I would really like to see test matches being played between Ireland, Holland and some of the South American countries like Brazil and Argentina.

  • duncan on July 19, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    whatever football's ills(& it has many) at least it doesn't treat it's developing nations with utter contempt. it's ironic then to find this article written by a Dutchman.

  • ace on July 19, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    i would prefer football over cricket any day . crickets a boring game.the crowds boring too.there's hardly any movement .its so long.i watch the matches on tv and theres a stupid ad after every over ... theres no excitement .. the only excitement in cricket is the last 5 overs.

  • Pat on July 19, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    Anonymous said "I wonder what is the football equivalents for an on-drive, or stumps cartwheeling."

    LOL - you're joking, right? A scything pass into the penalty area, a moment of magic as the striker takes control of the ball and curls it into the top right corner of the net, the screaming as s/he celebrates and disappears under a puppy pile pyramid of joyous teammates... and you say football isn't in the same league as cricket? I agree - it's several leagues higher.

  • Anonymous on July 19, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Cricket is more like human life, initially there are lots of edges, mis-hits, bouncers on the body,LBW appeals etc, but for one with perseverance there is a century in waiting. Football might have 'Hand of God', but it is nothing close to 'Corridor of Uncertainty' or 'Spending time at the crease'. There can be the offside rule, not as subtle as a LBW. Cricket is beautiful to 'watch', I wonder what is the football equivalents for an on-drive, or stumps cartwheeling. Football has only one 'goal', in cricket it changes from time to time which makes it more complicated and interesting. Football is more physical involving tackles etc, nothing close to the slow legcutter dismissal of Amir Sohail by Prasad, or the not fast not slow ones due to Chirs Harris. It is always not necessary to be athletic, acrobatic, with quick reflexes to play 'this beautiful game'

  • Naila on November 5, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Nice and entertaining article. I myself have been torn between football and cricket at times -- but cricket always wins over football. Oh, and I completely agree with all reasons.

  • waterbuffalo on July 29, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Cricket is exciting when it is a contest, for example, Pakistan vs Australia, no australian scored a century, and it was a very low -scoring match, contrast this with Sri-Lanka vs India, everyone and his mother scored a century, 1000 runs and only eight wickets fell, that is extremely boring...in contrast the tension in football is unbearable, even 0-0 to me is very exciting, I supported Holland against Brazil, (won money) and against Spain (lost money) what I like about about football is that one mistake and it is all over. In cricket the tension comes after 3 or four days.

  • Buck on July 27, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    No chance.

  • Byrner on July 26, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    those bloody ginger midgets!!! great stuff rene..... even aberdeenshire beat spain at cricket!!! x

  • sanjeev on July 20, 2010, 2:42 GMT

    The reason why I love Cricket most, is because the variety it brings. It is not always in the same pace. Eg: It's great to see when the bowler returns to the bowling mark and we don't know what's coming next or what the batsman will do. A defence has its own beauty. Ofcourse there are those boring moments too, but that is the variety.

  • Ayrtons on July 20, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    What a wonderful article ! cricket is most definately a beautiful game. Good luck to all of the up and coming national teams, I would really like to see test matches being played between Ireland, Holland and some of the South American countries like Brazil and Argentina.

  • duncan on July 19, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    whatever football's ills(& it has many) at least it doesn't treat it's developing nations with utter contempt. it's ironic then to find this article written by a Dutchman.

  • ace on July 19, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    i would prefer football over cricket any day . crickets a boring game.the crowds boring too.there's hardly any movement .its so long.i watch the matches on tv and theres a stupid ad after every over ... theres no excitement .. the only excitement in cricket is the last 5 overs.

  • Pat on July 19, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    Anonymous said "I wonder what is the football equivalents for an on-drive, or stumps cartwheeling."

    LOL - you're joking, right? A scything pass into the penalty area, a moment of magic as the striker takes control of the ball and curls it into the top right corner of the net, the screaming as s/he celebrates and disappears under a puppy pile pyramid of joyous teammates... and you say football isn't in the same league as cricket? I agree - it's several leagues higher.

  • Anonymous on July 19, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Cricket is more like human life, initially there are lots of edges, mis-hits, bouncers on the body,LBW appeals etc, but for one with perseverance there is a century in waiting. Football might have 'Hand of God', but it is nothing close to 'Corridor of Uncertainty' or 'Spending time at the crease'. There can be the offside rule, not as subtle as a LBW. Cricket is beautiful to 'watch', I wonder what is the football equivalents for an on-drive, or stumps cartwheeling. Football has only one 'goal', in cricket it changes from time to time which makes it more complicated and interesting. Football is more physical involving tackles etc, nothing close to the slow legcutter dismissal of Amir Sohail by Prasad, or the not fast not slow ones due to Chirs Harris. It is always not necessary to be athletic, acrobatic, with quick reflexes to play 'this beautiful game'

  • Aditya on July 19, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    So, dutchmen are catching up. And so are Ireland. And will be amongst the test-playing nations some day. Welcome both of you to the world of 'boringly beautiful' game!

  • Prahlad on July 19, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    Hope it isnt a torn rotator cuff.

  • Mike Richardson on July 19, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    Cricket trumps football: When i heard England lost in the world cup (didn't watch any of it) I saw so many people who were angry sad frustrated hateful. I laughed. Thats a dumb attitude for a sport. Even though I support England, When I saw Bangledesh beat England in that recent ODI I felt an inner glow, I was happy, glad that the Bangledeshis who had worked so hard won and deserved that victory. Crickets not about winning, crickets about friendly sportsmanship, the beauty of the sport and endless other laudible qualities I don't have time to mention

  • James on July 19, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    I watched several World Cup games; how can so many elite athletes get so hurt just falling over? Give me a break... don't they get coached into how to fall over? Overpaid actors and bad ones at that. I'll take cricket any day.

  • Samraat Dash on July 19, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    A whole bunch of rather interesting sentences and equally interesting story.

  • bavaria babe on July 19, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    From a spectator's point of view there is also a lot to be said for cricket in preference to football: 1. We can choose the length of our entertainment in accordance with our concentration span: - T20 which is over before you can blink; - ODI for the perfect excuse to get out of all the accumulated domestic chores; - Test cricket for those in training to become Zen Buddhist monks. 2. Apart from recent matches involving Pakistan, the vuvuzela is not a feature of cricket matches (this may change, but hopefully not). 3. I have never yet been chucked out of a cricket match for wearing an orange dress.

  • Annual Quandary on July 19, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    I face this same dilemma every year. The true test of character would be to persevere with the sport in possession for the sake of the team in spite of individual failings (be they ducks, a dry spell in front of goal etc.). Sadly, I must confess to having failed this test of character at every turn. The grass always seems greener..sadly, it very rarely is.

  • kabir mahajan on July 19, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    Great article. I dont like football mainly because of the way its played. If someone cheats like they do in football you're bound to be banned for a good amount of games . Or even if they abuse each other.. Footballers lack sportsmanship spirit in my opinion. Just the way they cheat ALL the bloody time.

  • Praveen on July 19, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    "No damn German octopuses predicting scorelines". I second that and laughed my self silly to that comment, thanks for the great article although I completely disagree.

  • rob heinen on July 19, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    In spite of all good intentions, enthusiatic encouragement - from the highest levels of cricket journalism even - cricket is too refined a sport for the one track Dutch mind. Get over it & live with it. Ever witnessed a Hans Teeuwen show in Brittain? We feel he's the funniest man in the country right now. The brits couldn't see the humour.

  • Prashant on July 19, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    So, umm.. where exactly do you stand on the subject of Tea?

  • Krish on July 18, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    ha ha...much the same dilemma that i face...except, i've got tennis to reckon with as well

  • Anil on July 18, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    I enjoyed reading this!

  • Imran on July 18, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    Iam sure that spain will definitely loose to the dutch.I want to see some crowd support as well.

  • Duck on July 18, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Great article as usual. You have been amazingly quiet about your cricketing exploits recently. When are you going to share you scores with the wider World? Great picture by the way - that guy on the right of the picture is particularly handsome....

  • Abhishek on July 18, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    Good article.Exposes workings where cricket is yet not embraced by d public...... The rise of teams like zimbabwe ireland,netherland and scotland is important for the development of d game and d game will start to spread. A example will be T20 WC where dutch beat england in d opener.It made headlines in d pprs

  • Andy on July 18, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Awesome article and Dutch have qualified for the world once I believe and many of South African cricketers have Dutch origin as well.

    Someday I would like to see the rise of Ireland, Holland and Zimbabwean teams.

    Cheers to Rene

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  • Andy on July 18, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Awesome article and Dutch have qualified for the world once I believe and many of South African cricketers have Dutch origin as well.

    Someday I would like to see the rise of Ireland, Holland and Zimbabwean teams.

    Cheers to Rene

  • Abhishek on July 18, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    Good article.Exposes workings where cricket is yet not embraced by d public...... The rise of teams like zimbabwe ireland,netherland and scotland is important for the development of d game and d game will start to spread. A example will be T20 WC where dutch beat england in d opener.It made headlines in d pprs

  • Duck on July 18, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Great article as usual. You have been amazingly quiet about your cricketing exploits recently. When are you going to share you scores with the wider World? Great picture by the way - that guy on the right of the picture is particularly handsome....

  • Imran on July 18, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    Iam sure that spain will definitely loose to the dutch.I want to see some crowd support as well.

  • Anil on July 18, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    I enjoyed reading this!

  • Krish on July 18, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    ha ha...much the same dilemma that i face...except, i've got tennis to reckon with as well

  • Prashant on July 19, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    So, umm.. where exactly do you stand on the subject of Tea?

  • rob heinen on July 19, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    In spite of all good intentions, enthusiatic encouragement - from the highest levels of cricket journalism even - cricket is too refined a sport for the one track Dutch mind. Get over it & live with it. Ever witnessed a Hans Teeuwen show in Brittain? We feel he's the funniest man in the country right now. The brits couldn't see the humour.

  • Praveen on July 19, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    "No damn German octopuses predicting scorelines". I second that and laughed my self silly to that comment, thanks for the great article although I completely disagree.

  • kabir mahajan on July 19, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    Great article. I dont like football mainly because of the way its played. If someone cheats like they do in football you're bound to be banned for a good amount of games . Or even if they abuse each other.. Footballers lack sportsmanship spirit in my opinion. Just the way they cheat ALL the bloody time.