I am often a little bewildered by people who have no time for cricket. By cricket I mean Test Cricket. The Americans have World Series football and basketball and for all I know World series horse shoe tossing. But only Americans play. Of course there are the Olympic games but they don’t count like the super bowl counts. Then there is Soccer. And so it goes. But why is Test Cricket out on its own as the very one and only.
I remember sitting up and watching the American invasion of Baghdad. It was a spectacular fireworks display. It was war. And so began years of turmoil and despair and death and destruction and an almighty war on terror so intricate and all pervading that there are no innocents, no guilty, but much “Co-lateral Damage”.
I want you to picture this. Take a huge country under the sway of an imposing colonial power. In this country there, for the sake of simplicity, are two major religions. These religions are very very different. One is monotheistic and the other has a plethora of deities. Next we will divide the country into two. One will be for one of the major religions and the other part is for the other major religion. In the process of dividing the country neither of the two groups, nor the relinquishing colonial power are without guilt. There is much for all to feel guilty. Finally place a beautiful section of the country between the two and let it become a cause for continuing dispute. Is this not a recipe for disaster?
Furthermore give to each of these two, what are now countries, nuclear capability.
But, apart from what can only be described as minor skirmishes, even minor wars if you will, these two countries have never been to war. Not fully declared total war. Why not. Because how can you declare war when you have to play a Test Match next year.
Cricket is war. It is war between one country and another. It is war where the civilians do not get hurt. It is not a game of baseball where everything is over and decided in a few hours. Nor is it international Basketball where things are decided in less time than that.
Cricket – Test Cricket is war – decided over five days where the ebbs and flows are often incomprehensible. And if one nation loses, so be it. We will try again in four years. And all our national pride will hang on the balance. India will defeat Pakistan and then Pakistan will defeat India. And both India and Pakistan will keep their atomic bombs unused. And South Africa will give up apartheid because we won’t let you play cricket if you don’t.
Cricket is war. We should all fight our wars this way.. If you don’t understand, don’t worry. It is a matter of no concern if you don’t have the understanding. And don’t issue a fatwa against me or even a small derisive laugh. Just ‘no-ball’ me and I’ll bowl a fresh one.
What I want to say is this;
With the exception of Canada, all the major countries of the old Commonwealth play Test cricket. Now I know Canada is cool.And many, many countries now play cricket. In fact more than 100 countries play a form of cricket but only those ten play test cricket.
What is really important is that Test Cricket is the worlds only really important game. It might be boring. It might be difficult to understand. Even the Americans, who are relatively intelligent, find it difficult to comprehend. Even, God forbid, some died in the wool Australians are more interested in Basketball than in Test Cricket.
The world needs Test Cricket. I only wish the world knew it. And the worst thing is that the ICC and the major countries have been hi-jacked by the money of the pay TV Channels. And that I believe is one of the saddest things to happen tp international goodwill and understanding.