I love cricket, it’s strange customs and beguiling rhythms and the fact that it appears to be almost completely anachronistic to the world that we now live in that demands instantaneous reaction and scorns contemplation and reflection. I cannot imagine that a game that can last 5 days and produce no result at the end of it could ever be invented now and for that I love it all the more. Living in Leeds means that I have one of crickets’ iconic grounds on my doorstep – Headingley, which despite some recent modernisation is, to be honest a pretty ramshackle affair when compared to other modern stadia but again holds a certain charm. This means that I get to watch international matches which for me is where the main attraction lies. Of course this now requires almost militaryesque planning to get a ticket, months and months in advance the fixtures worked out, date in the diary when tickets go on sale, seating plans checked for optimum preference etc. The downside of all this is that they aren’t many international days cricket played at the ground so you don’t want to miss them when they happen.
3 years ago the West Indies were scheduled to play a 1 day international here in mid May, which when it was announced had the local sages scratching their chins knowing that a match in May carries a risk of a weather interruption or two. We were informed that all would be well as fantastic new drainage systems had been installed. Unfortunately they had not had time to bed in as the torrential rain that took place in the morning led to the farcical afternoon with the sun blazing down but no play due to a waterlogged pitch.
Today the West Indies were back in town. Now I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the West Indies greats over the years but have not seen Chris Gayle in full flow so was really looking forward to him keeping the crowd on their toes with some lusty blows. The weather forecast was not great but with tickets bought months ago, I along with thousands of others took the day off work and headed to the ground. It’s not May but the middle of June but I don’t think the rain abated for a second and after a few hours stoically waiting and hoping the match was called off. Now I’m no statistician but I would love someone to calculate the odds on two games against the same opposition separated by 3 years both being called off by rain.
Still you’ve got to look on the bright side, it was great people watching, from the ever more elaborate fancy dress outfits that seem de rigueur for many at matches these days (my favourite being the Jack Sparrows), the Steel Band getting people wiggling, the British stoicism of sitting under your umbrella watching rain, friends young and old meeting and chatting and laughing. So yes I wish that I’d seen some play but you make your own fun and I still had a great day out. Oh yes and I’ve got tickets for the South Africa test in July so can we have a nice warm sunny day please. Cheers.