I don’t like cricket…

For the third time this season, I find myself unable to go sailing tonight. Unlike the thick sea fog and the heavy cold that thwarted me on the previous occasions, this time it was because nobody else from the regular crew was available. I think that Mark, our skipper, was able to borrow a few spare crew members from one of the other boats in order to get out this evening, but they all live quite close to Holyhead and nobody was able to give me a lift; unfortunately the bus and train timetables wouldn’t allow me to get home by public transport after sailing so I had to sit this one out. I must admit that I’m slightly glad that the weather here’s a bit overcast tonight (at least where I live – it could be glorious sunshine in Holyhead, but I’ll choose to assume it isn’t) so I don’t feel like I’m missing a particularly fine evening to be on the water. In any case, rather than moping about what I’m missing I thought I’d catch up on an opportunity to do some random blogging.

With at least two major sporting competitions (Wimbledon and the Euro 2016 football tournament) going on at the moment and the Olympics just round the corner, it’s perhaps not surprising that I find myself going through one of my occasional bursts of enthusiasm for sport. However, just to be contrary, it’s not tennis, football (the association variety, aka. soccer, for the benefit of any readers from places who use the basic word to mean a different sport to what we call “football” here in the UK) or any of the Olympic sports that is grabbing my attention at the moment, but cricket. (At least, I’m not aware that this is an Olympic sport.)

I used to play a bit of cricket at school, during PE lessons. I don’t recall that I ever particularly enjoyed it or displayed a great deal of aptitude for it. I have enjoyed my share of informal cricket games on the beach or in parks, though it’s been quite a while since I did that. As with most of the people avidly glued to their TV screens for the tennis or the football this week, my current interest is purely as a spectator. Or perhaps more accurately an auditor, since I’ve been listening to a fair amount of radio commentary but not really watching a lot (not least because I don’t have a TV, so I’ve had to content myself with a few video clips of highlights).

The first time I can remember getting at all interested in proper, organised cricket was when I was a student. I had just finished a particularly difficult set of exams (including one on quantum mechanics) and felt like doing nothing more energetic than sitting in front of the TV for several days afterwards. At the time I lived in a shared house with a TV and a housemate who was pretty keen on cricket, so I joined him to watch two or three days of a test match (it was the first England v. South Africa test of their 1998 series, as I recall). My interest was largely stirred by the fact that Tim was able (and willing) to explain to me a lot of what was going on. It’s fair to say that cricket isn’t the simplest game out there, so having my own expert on hand was decidedly useful.

That was pretty much the only time I’ve really sat down and watched an extended amount of cricket. From time to time, over the years, I’ve listened to snatches of games (mostly bits of Ashes tests) on the radio or at least looked at the results online and had a go at deciphering the scorecards and other, slightly more extended, text-based summaries. While most sports, I think, probably benefit considerably from actually being watched (if you’re sufficiently interested), a lot of enjoyment can be had from cricket by just listening and reading. I also rather enjoy looking at the various statistics (such as batting averages) and trying to make sense of them.

I don’t want this post to get too long or too technical for the non-cricketphiles, so I’ll conclude it here and aim to follow soon with a post about the actual games I’ve been enjoying this week. So feel free to skip that one when it comes, if it doesn’t interest you.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, the title of this post is a reference to the lyrics of “Dreadlock Holiday” by 10cc. The follow-up line, which will make sense of this one, will be the title of my next post.

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