Cricket and the white white van driver

There is a feast of socialogical debate that could spawn from this, but for now I’ll just paste it. Really charming piece from a Sri Lankan bloke who’s just moved house in London. And…

On Saturday the moving van came home and we finally packed away the last bits of our life. The journey was uneventful until we came towards Hyde park where there was a massive traffic block bc of some parade. The driver and I didn’t exchange much conversation all this time, mainly bc I was too tired to say anything. He then received a phone call and said, “434?! Is it a one day game?? Faaarking hell.” Shit shit, I thought, our record. I asked him to clarify and he said that Aussie had scored 434-4 against South Africa, a new world record team score. We spent the next 40 mins or so talking about cricket, it’s very rare to see an Englishman so fascinated by the game. His knowledge was very impressive too, he knew about the Sri Lankan team and even about the not so prominent guys like Malinga Bandara. It was amusing to find that he had the same problem as I when it came to bowling leg breaks, we both end up producing only googlies and toppies. With an average male in India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan such a conversation would be expected, but in England with a young white Englishman, it was truly surprising. He took my phone number and invited me to play for his club up in Mill hill. We ended the day comparing our bowling actions on the main road, run-up and all.

Since working for Cricinfo, everyone talks about cricket. It’s normal. It’s a cricket office. We talk cricket, we laugh at cricketers, we make crude cricketing puns. We abhor the drivel, and dribble, from certain commentators and lavish praise on, well, nobody. It’s all thoroughly normal. But in most other offices, well, you talk about other stuff (other far less interesting stuff). When’s the photocopier being fixed? Can someone help me lift the water bottle thing? I’ll only hurt my back and I can’t be dealing with a sore back in March, the wind cuts right through me (I used to hear that twice a week in my last job. Moaning old bastards). Who’s got my fucking stapler? (as if anyone would want to steal a stapler). Anyway, shan’t depress you any further – I’m sure you’re all well aware of the crap which people talk about in offices. Onto my point, then.

Cricket’s not really on the same “general chit chat” level as, for example, football.

So I think this guy highlights an interesting point in British society which, actually, raises another question: (oh, two actually) on what level is cricket’s popularity in Britain? It’s not on a par with Football, and nor will it ever be. Which is perhaps why it’s so humbling, if that’s the right word, when you bump into someone who at first glance might not appear to know the other definition of a fine leg. Or a short leg, for that matter. Or any bloody leg, frankly.

Sport’s a great leveller and a great connector. And there wasn’t another question to be asked, so I’ll log off now.

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