All right-thinking people believe in their hearts that cricket is the greatest sport known to humanity. It is a wisdom vouchsafed to every Englishman and woman at birth, a knowledge that is imbibed with every sip of English water. People may occasionally watch twenty-two men kick a ball about or sixteen burly fellows race down a river, but an Englishman’s conscience tells him that – no matter how much he might kick a ball, ride a horse or hit a ball over a net – the only sporting endeavour truly worthy of the expenditure of his energy is cricket.
And yet in the frosty days of winter – and spring and autumn – it is impossible to play this great sport. An icy pitch or a sodden outfield combine to make cricket a summer sport. And yet, anyone with the slightest sense wants to play cricket all year. Our forefathers were stuck with this thorny issue, but they were giants of imagination and solved the problem in a way that has had great consequences for the world.
The real reason Australia was discovered
New data recently available from Cairns University suggests that what many have long suspected is true. Australia was discovered in order that Englishmen could play cricket in winter. All the talk of criminals and prison colonies is a red herring. The English were searching the world for somewhere to play cricket in winter. It is what drove their voyages of discovery. Finding somewhere to play cricket in winter was the raison d’être of the British Empire. People think that cricket is only played in countries as a side-effect of the English turning up. On the contrary, they turned up solely to play cricket when conditions were too cold back in Blighty. All that empirey stuff just happened between overs.
So why is cricket not played in every nation on earth?
Why hasn’t cricket taken off in other countries when it is such a remarkable sport? I have been told that cricket is too complicated. This is to misunderstand the very essence of sport. The absurd complexity of the rules is one of the many joys of cricket. Any sport where the rules can be easily learned is a mere game. A real sport needs so many arcane rules and regulations that it takes a lifetime of study to gain even the slightest understanding of what is going on. This is a positive feature of cricket. If anything the rules should be made more complicated. It is only when someone can watch an entire day of action whilst entirely mistaking which team is winning that a game truly becomes a sport.
More reasons why cricket should be the only sport in the Olympics
Sartorially cricket is one of the few sports that an aesthetically aware person can watch. It is generally acknowledged that the male leg was not designed for viewing. For getting from A to B, when paired with another of similar stature, there is little to beat a leg. However there is no decorum in any sport that demands its participants wear shorts. Cricket allows the athlete to be adorned with flannels, to appear on the pitch in the guise of a cat-walk model.
Another argument I have heard from the anti-cricket brigade is that it takes too long to finish a game. To this the only reasonable reply is nonsense. Once you have watched a five day test match you will find it hard to believe that some sports are over in a mere ninety minutes. That is barely long enough to look up from your newspaper and realise that play has started. The Tour de France lasts three weeks and sometimes I think that cricket should take a leaf out of cycling’s book. What could be better than a cricket match lasting three weeks? Especially if it ended in a draw.
Cricket respects meal times
Cricket is a respecter of meal times. Luncheon and tea are both enjoyed during every test match. The game even stops for elevenses. Doing anything in the rain is intolerable and cricket takes this into consideration by refusing to play in the wet. Cricket is not played during the winter, when even to venture a few metres from a roaring log fire is madness. As has been proven, for those who do wish to play cricket in winter Australia was discovered.
When men have undertaken such hazardous journeys for the sake of cricket it behoves those of us alive today to keep the cricketing flame alive. Spread the word. Make cricket the only sport in the Olympics. Tell the nations.