After the washout that was the fifth day of the third test, summer gave an encore yesterday as the sun shone on the righteous of Lancashire for the England and Australia one day international at Old Trafford.
It hadn’t looked promising when the Headingley match was called off without a ball being bowled on Thursday as the rain fell heavily, but then that’s Yorkshire for you – wet and windy.
As it was I worried that I hadn’t bothered to put on any sun screen, but apart from the result it was a thoroughly enjoyable day out.
Those not versed in the subtleties of the game – ie anyone from on-cricket playing nations – think it can be rather dull little realising that that is the whole point. Watching cricket is about relaxing and enjoying the weather and the company and not about an adrenalin rush and anger at the opposition. Well not much anyway.
And before you argue with me about the popularity of cricket, may I remind you that the list of countries which enjoy the game includes Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. Even Afghanistan and Holland play one day internationals.
The beauty of the game is that it is both simple and complex both in its play and its laws which given the antiquity of cricket have developed to cover almost any situation.
For example, a batsman hits the ball powerfully and it is headed for a six when it strikes a pigeon and drops inside the boundary and is caught by a fielder. What does the umpire decide? Well unluckily for the batsman (and the the bird) he is out.
But as if to contradict this ruling, in a village cricket match, a cow wanders through a gap in the hedge at the same moment that the batsman strikes the ball. It bounces off the cow’s rump and is caught by a fielder. Surely this must be out too?
Apparently not. The umpire awards four runs because part of his job is to inform the two captains beforehand that should any spectators or animals make contact with the ball while it is play then a boundary will be awarded.
So if you are one of those who deride the game, I recommend You Are The Umpire; The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to the Laws of Cricket if you can get hold of a copy, or try the online version at the Guardian.
And I will continue to enjoy the spectacle because in the words of 10cc, I don’t like cricket…. I love it!