Hello, cricket!

 

by Katherine Giese

Okay. Well. Where do I begin? It’s almost lunchtime. I’ve just surfaced after yet another late start to the day (gotta love the holidays). So far, I’ve left a note on some random’s car, after they parked it behind mine on my nature strip (the cheek!!!) and tried to save the neighbour’s fox terrier from being “romanced” by a stupid long-haired Border Collie that always seems to be running around the street. Turns out that she didn’t want to be saved…she liked the drama.

On Channel 7, it’s the Australian Open – actually, a repeat viewing of the Clijsters vs Li round four match. They have chosen not to televise the Legends’ Doubles match before the Quarterfinals start, much to the dismay of some diehard tennis fans. Channel 9 has…cricket. *sigh* It’s 2/34, with two high-order batsmen having been dismissed in the first hour. Apparently, this is not only good for India, but unexpected. A “subdued start” for the Aussies, says James Brayshaw. The Adelaide weather and the “good pitch” should have been ideal for Australia’s batting, but it’s not looking good.

Ponting’s in…I didn’t even realise he was still playing. His style of play at the moment looks messy, though he’s got a nice tan.  Upon a commentator declaring a hit of Ponting’s was a return to his best, I realise what a fickle game cricket is. Ponting’s four was “as good as it gets”, they say. I think they are far too easily impressed.

Cricket seems to be largely about strategy, tactics, mind games… Great if you’re involved, but not so interesting when you are just watching – in my opinion. Though I must admit, I get a fair amount of entertainment out of watching the cringe-worthy advertisements featuring our cricketers. Ponting saving the poor, sweaty young man, by giving him some antiperspirant deodorant… Not awkward at all. The KFC ads, which seem so out of place during a sporting event, and are largely criticised for being endorsed by cricketers; the weirdly soppy Swisse vitamins ad – Ricky Ponting blowing a kiss to his wife after clocking up a double century in a match in 2003 or something. The commercials that seem to be on high rotation are for fast food, hair regrowth, health insurance, deodorant… I’m starting to feel like I’m on the outer, being a female. I am not their target audience. I don’t belong.

And then there are the commentators spruiking the ridiculously expensive, limited edition, Cricket Australia-endorsed memorabilia. I wonder who buys these things.

The blue skies above Adelaide Oval are very pretty, though the many vacant seats make me feel a little sad for the players. It has a little bit of a local cricket feel about it, rather than a big, international match.

Despite my protestations, I must admit that there is something somewhat calming and reassuring about having the cricket on TV. I grew up in a house full of cricket fanatics, though it never rubbed off on me, and the drone of the televised commentary is the epitome of a Melbourne summer. However, the same cannot be said for radio commentary. My brother is in his room, listening to Kerry O’Keefe on ABC radio 774. Two of my least favourite things coming together: the ABC and AM radio. And while I’m checking that I’ve spelt Skull’s name correctly, someone’s caught. Cowan, apparently. And now Michael Clarke’s in.

The commentators do their best to add to the experience of watching the cricket by posing trivia questions. There are statistics and replays galore. Oh no – it suddenly dawns on me that maybe cricket is actually a multi-faceted form of entertainment. There is the game itself, sales of memorabilia for those with more money than sense (though to be honest, I HAVE purchased some unjustifiably expensive Geelong FC items over the years…), statistics for those of us who are mathematically-minded, replays to fill in the gaps, and sometimes-entertaining banter from the commentators.

Ed Cowan reminds me of Cam Mooney…hello, cricket! Although, his level of organisation disturbs me: who has a shoe bag in their cricket kit bag? Or a bat bag, for that matter? Oh, dear.

Upon returning to the cricket after doing some laundry, watering my strawberry plants (which are finally flowering!!!) and playing with my dog, it’s 3/117. I’ve deduced that the Australian team play better when I’m not actually watching them. I’m a jinx.

On the positive side, I’ve realised that cricketers are excellent promoters of sun-smart behaviour. T-shirts with sleeves covering their shoulders (even long-sleeved t-shirts in some cases), long pants, wide-brim hats, sunglasses, sunscreen/zinc – what other sportspeople are such positive influences in the anti-cancer campaign? Not tennis players, in their barely there attire, sans hat, sans sunnies; not AFL players either.

Anyway, after being useful and productive around the house, I get back to paying attention to the cricket, just in time to witness Ponting’s hundred. Not long after that, Clarke also reached the ton. Things are looking good for the Aussies, after a dodgy start.

My attention wanes as the day’s play draws to a close. I find myself drifting off for a bit of a nap. When I awaken, I see that the Aussies have finished Day 1 on a respectable 3/335 – NOT what I was expecting after the first couple of hours’ play. Ricky Ponting is on 137 while Michael Clarke has overtaken him and is on 140 runs. Ricky is brushing off retirement talk, and showing that he’s still a valuable member of the Australian side.

There are a lot of terms and concepts that I am unfamiliar with, like “new ball” (and its significance), strange names for fielding positions (like silly mid on and silly mid off) and all the different bowling styles. I’m sure people can explain them to me along the way.

For now, I’m going to give this game they call cricket a chance – it may just grow on me. Bring on Day 2!

 

 

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Welcome to the fold Kat. :)

  2. John Harms says:

    That’s it Kat. It will have you in no time. Your story reminds of a part of Confessions of a Thirteenth Man when I was trying to explain to a non-cricket person (perjaps the most non-cricket person ever) the magnificent game of cricket and its delicately balanced parameters which sometimes advantage some and not others, but can change quickly. She wasn’t too enthralled until I got a cricket ball and explained its elements, leather, seam, shine, hardness/softness, and then tried to explain the nature of the wicket and the interaction bewteen ball and wicket, atmosphere and wind and so on. I then cut it open, unravelled the binding and got to the cork. She started to appreciate the game, although I suspect she hasn’t ever been to a game.

    Then I started to explain the golf ball to her.

  3. You’re half way there, Kat. Now we just need to convert you to the ABC.

  4. Skip of Skipton says:

    What else is your brother up to in his room ‘listening to Kerry O’Keeffe’? I’d be keeping a close eye on him.
    Don’t listen to Gigz, the Vodafone,KFC, memoribilia boys are and always have been the voice of cricket.

  5. Great stuff, Kath! There’s hope for you yet. I honestly don’t know you grew up in this household without developing an appreciation for the finer things in life: cricket, footy (for a few years – but then, we all lost at least some degree of interest during the Ayres years) and Power Rangers.

    Lovely piece though. Keep it up!

  6. Peter Flynn says:

    Kat,

    Go to an Adelaide Test.

    Ripper experience.

  7. Mark Doyle says:

    A good perceptive piece Kath. Cricket is a much better game to play than watch. Watching cricket is boring after an hour or two and one needs to either chat with people at the cricket or check the stawberries. Most of the media coverage is garbage – meaningless statistics, trivial and celebrity nonsense information, illinformed and irrelevant opinion in ‘The Age’ newspaper, inane radio and TV comments, useless memorabilia, boring advertisements and ABC promos and gimmicky electronic feedback games. The style of most of the TV and radio broadcasters and commentators is crass barracking and inane comments and the worst of them include blokes such as Jim Maxwell, Drew Morphett, Damien Fleming, Ian Healy, James Brayshaw and Michael Slater, The best commentators are Ian Chappell and Mark Taylor. Re your comments about feeling a female outsider, most cricketers are anti-feminist and only encourage women bimbos.

  8. Skip of Skipton says:

    Mark, have the producers at Channel 9 told Chappelli to stop telling stories, such as “I remember in Guyana in 1973 and Clive Lloyd blah blah blah….etc. etc…..”? He doesn’t seem to do it much thesedays. Richie was always good for stories also, but doesn’t get the mic time anymore. It seems story time has made way for memorabiia sales pitches. The NewGen of commentators don’t do much for me, but yeah, Tubby’s OK.

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