Two different cricket games

In recent days, with the CPL centre stage in the Caribbean, concurrent with England/Sri Lanka Test matches in the UK, we are seeing quite a contrast in cricket compared to the sport most senior folks grew up with in the region reaching back to the Union Jack days. In that time, the only game in town was Test cricket, with games lasting 5 days, and there was no hurry to score runs. If you had six dot balls in an over that was because the batsman was taking his time to work out the bowler, and the bowler, too, was doing his own deliberate probing and scheming. Urgency was usually not the order of the day. In the stands, people would bring a basket of food (after all, you were there all day), and if there happened to be spells of three maidens in a row, the boys would repair to the bar, and the ladies would chat about the boys at the bar, while play proceeded. There was a low volume p a system, and numbers painted on tins told you the score, with the scoreboard often lagging behind reality. Some folks would read the newspaper or the latest scandal sheet (the Bomb in Trinidad); often the only sound you would hear was bat hitting ball; some people would actually fall asleep. Amid the athletics, Test cricket was a very social exercise, reflecting a more leisurely and, some would argue, more valuable way of life.

Fifty years later, we are dealing with an upstart version of the game that is in keeping with the more hectic, high-energy, immediate kind of existence we now have, and the game in town is T20, with the story done in 3 hours, and runs in a river (three dot balls is panic time). The stadium is jumping, alive with music, an electronic scoreboard, and dancing girls. People …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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