‘Bear’ with me here (awful pun to kick off blogpost – tick).
I was half inspired to write this by a post by The Anonymous Widower entitled ‘Badgers Stop Play’. Now, clicking through the link you’ll note that the post was a quick tale about a local club who’s facilities have been wrecked by swarm of conniving badgers; an unusual tale and one worth reporting, but not quite a post to blame for the nonsense that will follow here.
The post combined two of my great and weird fascinations. Cricket, naturally. Badgers, not so naturally. They’re my second favourite animal. Lots of people like cats. Apparently even more people like dogs. Well, badgers are pretty much dogs on crack (give or take a few strands of DNA). Now, my respect is more specifically aimed at the fearsome honeybadger, who basically takes little or no shit from anything. It jogs around with the swagger of Chris Gayle in tinfoil, but unlike Gayle it is a fearsome, sleek unit to be feared across all formats. Given that it originates from Africa, if I were to look for a cricketing analogy it would be the Graeme Smith, and trust me when I say that I don’t think I’ve ever paid the Proteas captain a bigger compliment. Gayle is more of a horse (looks stunning in his dressage environment but at the end of the day he’ll do anything for hay).
Expanding on this, I immediately came to that bog standard question you ask six year olds to determine which Waugh brother they are more likely to be: a Mark (a house cat – nice to look at and elegant, good when it works but probably couldn’t exist on it’s own) or a Steve (a spider crab, adaptable, hard shelled, grossly unpleasant but there’s a reason there’s millions of them on the seabed)?
For those not used to being told to look after nephews, the question of course is:
If you were an animal what would you be, and why?
Now if cricket was an animal, phew, we’re getting deep here and I know what you’re thinking. How can a sport be an animal? This is just utter nonsense, surely? Why am I still reading this crap? Well it’s because animals are cool, and because cricket is (quite) cool (in some circles) too.
Obviously the year is 2013 and we have to distinguish between different types of cricket.
1. Chris Gayle’s format, the twenty over thrash, is a short, sweet glimpse into the basics which somehow lacks the basics. You know when you go to the zoo and head into the “Monkey World” section and see those little Marmoset things bouncing around on their ropes. They’re ok, for those with short attention spans, but they’re all the same. Oh he’s on the rope. Now he’s on the tyre. Now he’s on the rope. Now he’s on the tyre. Now he’s hurling his faecal matter at the glass window because he’s frustrated as hell that he’s got to spend his entire life in such a limited space with so many of his mediocre species. Now he’s on the rope. Now he’s on the tyre…etc. Yup, that’s T20.
2. The One Day International format has a bit more to it. It’s probably still of the monkey variety but it’s larger, with more distinct ebbs and flows. It’s the much maligned orangutan sat on his own; no-one really wants to feed him and he’s basically just a cage filler. At his best though it’s a very worthwhile beast with his combination of power and intelligent graft. There is a little too much slumping in the swinging basket scratching his balls to be considered a great, though.
3. Test Cricket. The pinnacle. Now, it only really survives in certain areas of the world but it has been about the longest. For a long time nothing happens with it. It sorts the wheat from the chaff. It is rarely ‘must watch’ but you must never take your eye off it. Sound familiar, crocodilians? They lurk for ages, often spending hours at the bottom of some bleak pond, everyone forgets about it sometimes even mid-session. It sits there, waiting and lurking. Three days later, when all appeared calm, what’s that log floating towards me, BOOM, a cow is ripped into a death roll and things are sorted.