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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

King and I

Published in the Times, 19 June 2012

Dear Sir

As a cricket fan I wish I could agree with Lord Desai (letter, June 18) that the reason Sir Mervyn King followed rules scrupulously is that he is a cricketer, rather than a footballer happy to indulge in professional fouls.

If there ever truly was a cricketing "golden age" which justifying the saying that something unsporting was "not cricket" I am not sure when it was. Certainly not that of Clive Lloyd's bullying West Indians or Ian Chappell's bullying Australians, and much less still Douglas Jardine's win-at-all-costs Englishmen.

Perhaps Lord Desai has in mind the Victorian era, though I doubt it: the greatest Victorian cricketer was W.G. Grace - the amateur who made a fortune from the game, and who once nonchalantly replaced the bails after being bowled and took guard again. [In response to the umpire's umbrage he casually offered "They've come to see me bat, not you umpire".]

Words in square brackets omitted - rather a shame as they constituted the punchline. 

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