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I had so many lovely responses for my recent Vanity Fair column explaining everything about cricket that I was asked to try my hand at reviewing the current Ashes cricket game at Manchester, which is a city somewhere in the north of England. Here goes!
As I said in Vanity Fair, "You don't have to understand cricket to enjoy it." It's really good to see that lots of people are totally with me on this, with some of them even going on to be the umpires in this actual cricket game. Because cricket has so many complicated rules, the umpires on the field (JARGON ALERT! "The field" is the technical name for the field on which all the cricket is happening) can phone a friend to help them with difficult decisions.
So there is a third umpire (MATHS ALARM! There are two umpires on the "field" [see above] and one watching on TV, so that obviously makes three umpires and the one watching on TV is the third umpire. Phew! No more maths homework, I promise!) replaying all the big moments on a TV screen or most probably an iPhone, to help make sure that everyone gets a fair chance. As I was saying to Umpire Dharmasena only the other day at a Jenny Packham pre-season warm-up, all these catches and leg before wickets (don't ask, srsly!) are enough to give a girl a headache, and he was very much of the same opinion.
Obviously I'm not an expert. I mean, making a lovely home or planning a party is more my area of specialist expertise, as I think I demonstrated in my recent best-selling "Consider offering guests some nice food or drink and possibly a chair to sit on" top-secret domestic goddess advice book. But even I can tell that poor Umpire Dharmasena and his chums were given a horribly tough time of it during this recent cricket game. And that's just not cricket! (Little cricket joke for the purists there xoxo.)
I don't want to bore you with the technicalities, but basically it comes down to looking through loads of cameras to see if there are spots on things, which is something anyone in the public eye who has been papped without their make-up on the way for a pint of milk (secret tip: try it in tea!) will recognise all too well. The level of scrutiny is quite frightening.
You do wonder if cricket - lovely and full of scrummy men such as that tall one, the blond one, and especially that ginger Yorkshire one though it might be - is actually getting too intense and even dangerous. I could totally understand when the umpires decided that it was getting really dark out there on Sunday evening. One of the umpires, who is called Tony Hill, was worried that he might get hit by a ball, and is an older gentleman. Now I'm all for the gentle thwack of leather on willow but I don't think that anyone wants to hear the thwack of leather on umpire! So if he thought it was better that we stopped the cricket then I think that's actually quite a sensible idea.
Besides, by that point, everyone had been cricketing for like several hours and you could tell that the England ones were totally knackered because they were doing everything so slooooooooowly. I'm quite sure everyone agrees with me that we'd all had a really fun day and it was time to shake hands and go for a drinkie or two. I had a text from one of the Australian players called David Something asking if wanted to go for "a few bevies that evening and may thump a Pom" but sadly I had to decline because, as I texted to David, "There's not room for more than one world-class arse in any relationship" and all things considered he'd be better off focusing on the cricketing.
More cricketing etiquette and insights in WG Grace Ate My Pedalo, hereFeeds: Alan Tyers
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Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.