As some readers of this blog will no doubt be aware, I’m a cricket fan. What you may not be aware of is that Mrs Nomad is also quite an avid cricket watcher. Not necessarily of Test and County cricket, although she likes to keep up-to-date with international scores, and she likes a day sat at the County Ground in Taunton, where mainly she knits while I drink beer and watch the actual cricket, but especially of Twenty20. Which means that currently, on any afternoon/evening when she isn’t working, you can guarantee our tv will be tuned to ITV4 and their coverage of the IPL (Indian Premier League).
Now, anyone who knows about cricket will know that T20, and especially the IPL, is a controversial subject. There are those who think T20 is an abomination, an offence against all that is good and proper. There are those who think it is the saviour and future of the game. And there are those, like me, who are somewhat more ambivalent.
I have to admit, my wife loves watching the IPL. She enjoys the colourful uniforms, the huge number of big-name players, the constant supply of enormous sixes, phenomenal catches, outstanding wickets. She especially likes that she’ll have a result in a few short hours rather than 4 or 5 long days. She even likes much of the razzmatazz – apart from the cheerleaders, she’s not keen on them, in particular the way they tend to be white, in skimpy outfits, and doing western-style acrobatics – she’s not so fussy when they’re Indian women, in beautiful Indian outfits, doing Indian dancing – after all, she says, it’s the Indian Premier League, in India, why not use Indian cheerleaders? But asides from that, she enjoys watching the IPL. And I enjoy watching it too. And I enjoy that we can sit and watch it, and get excited about it together. And I enjoy that if I’m unable to watch it she’ll update me on what’s happening, either by tweet, or text, or coming and telling me while I’m at my computer in the study.
But, just because I like watching the IPL doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy other forms of cricket. I’m looking forward to heading 90 minutes up the road to Taunton a few times this summer, on some of my days off, to watch the Cidermen play, often in games that won’t finish that day! I’m also looking forward to listening to back-to-back Ashes series on TMS, especially since Australia have just announced their touring squad for the series here in the UK! I think all forms of cricket ought to have a future. In rugby we play both 7s and full 15. I know a lot of people who love football, but only play 5-a-side or 7-a-side. Golf is normally played using stroke-play, yet one of the world’s most watched tournaments, the Ryder Cup, is played using match-play. No reason why cricket can’t maintain the same situation. Each form requires the same basic equipment, same basic rules, same basic techniques. Of course, there are also differences – the phenomenal century Christ Gayle recently scored in the IPL might technically be possible in a Test Match but it’ll never happen – the tactics of Test cricket would make an attempt at such an achievement almost impossible because of unrestricted fielding positions, unlimited overs for bowlers, and the need to bat over a long period of time.
I’ve heard people say about T20 that “It’s just not cricket!” I disagree: it is cricket, but it’s cricket done differently. We don’t criticise Usain Bolt and Mo Farah for doing things differently. They’re both running, the same basic skill is involved, but they do things differently. Of course, the thing with different forms of cricket is that it’s often the same players playing them all, so the comparison isn’t quite the same, but I still think those of us who love cricket, and want it to thrive as a sport, make a mistake if we are disparaging about one form or another. They’re all cricket, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the show, whether it takes 3 hours, or 5 days!
Whatever form of the game you’re playing right now in life, travel well.