What drew you to cricket and why? Was there a particular moment which highlighted the game to you, or which made you see the game in a new light? I was asked this by a friend today, so am replying via the blog…
I first “noticed” it in the 1993 Ashes, watching Paul Reiffel trundle in and bowl deceptively well. Then, the following winter, addiction set in while listening to the West Indies practically kill England in the Caribbean. Seeing brief highlights on the news in the evening; watching Mike Atherton do his utmost to rally his young side; Alec Stewart’s two hundreds; most of all, it was the West Indies and their passion, energy, natural grace and ferver which spoke, to me, more than any other sport. Almost overnight, maidens, point, silly midwicket, overs and everything else made sense.
I’d listened to my Dad curse me and my brother in the car for fighting. Not that he was particularly against us trying to kill eachother, more that it was drowning out TMS’ valiant attempt to relay the score to him, some several hundred miles away in France. And I thought, time and again: “What the hell are you listening to, or trying to listen to?”
Little did I realise that, a few years later, I too would be scaling mountains (ok, raised bits of land, but you try lugging a bloody backpack round Greece in 40c heat) to find reception. It’s these strange things cricket fans do – which include crowding around Dixons or a TV shop in high streets – which almost make me like the game more.