As I was saying here (just about two years ago), — and to misquote Thomas Edward Brown one more time – “Cricket is a lovesome thing, God wot.” I return to the subject because it appears on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today, as the opening of the Cricket World Cup tournament approaches (and for which 750,000 tickets have already been sold).
The poet Edmund Blunden wrote:
“Cricket to us was more than play,
It was a worship in the summer sun.”
The Daily Telegraph obituary for the batsman Colin Cowdrey said of him that his cover drive was “like some promise of endless summer”.
And the great cricket writer R. C. Robertson-Glasgow said, on the death of Don Bradman, surely the greatest batsman of all time, that “two contrary feelings dispute within us: relief, that our bowlers will no longer be oppressed by this phenomenon; regret, that a miracle has been removed from among us. So must ancient Italy have felt when she heard of the death of Hannibal.”
His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh once said that “There is a widely held, and quite erroneously held, belief that cricket is just another game.”
C.L.R. James, the Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist theorist and essayist, said that “cricket is first and foremost a dramatic spectacle. It belongs with theatre, ballet, opera and the dance”.
The International Cricket Council lists 125 countries in membership (one of which is Afghanistan, where enthusiasm for cricket is growing exponentially) – and an estimated global audience of more than a billion people. So what is all this about a “World” series for baseball?