A young Pakistani, whose parents hail from Lahore, noticed me reading Andrew Strauss’s book on the bus this afternoon. “Cricket, is it” (it wasn’t a question, more a statement; “is it” is relaxed, Londonish ghetto-talk for “eh”. Like an Australian would say “Ahhh cricket eh?” I am your professor, heed my knowledge).
“Yes, cricket,” I answered. “You like cricket?” was my pathetic, tired attempt at continuing the conversation.
“Ah is it! Cricket innit, you know” he offered, which was either an abrupt end to our brief chat or the makings of an entire diatribe – I wasn’t sure. Instead, I chose to big myself up and told him I was a journalist.
“Cricket journalist? What paper is it?” (correct usage of “is it” there) and he knew Cricinfo, his favourite site and so on. Immediately I regretted telling him – every other word he uttered was either Inzy, ICC or Hair. I couldn’t tell him much – the hearing was mid-way through and is due to run on tomorrow too. He was still at school, yet knew all about the hearing, its location, Inzamam and so on. Hilariously he assumed I’d be best friends with Mr Inzy, not to mention drinking pals with Daz and Billy D. “Can’t you call ‘em innit? Call Inzy, is it!”
The passion a sport can ignite in people astounds me sometimes.