August 30th, 2010

The Fourth Test

I've been following the Test series against Pakistan at a distance- mainly through the Guardian's live over by over coverage- which also serves up generous helpings of the banter and self-mocking statistical nerdiness which is what we cricket buffs indulge in to fill the many gaps in the action- and it's been really rather good. The last match in particular- the fourth-  was an absolute belter- with fabulous bowling on both sides, extraordinary batting collapses and an heroically implausible, record-beating stand for the ninth wicket- and it seemed like it would go down in history as a classic- and then we learned- on the morning of the very last day- that one of the teams had been taking bribes from a fixer to deliver no-balls- and heaven only knows what else...

I don't particularly blame the players- who are very young and weak and may have been under pressure from the crooks- I just think it's sad and dispiriting.  We create a beautiful thing- and Test Cricket is a beautiful thing- the most arcane and weird and multi-layered of field sports- and then shit all over it- for money.