We see the Boundary, That’s where we aim
Fours and Sixes, That’s the name of our game
The stands are full, The ground is packed
Here comes the ball, Ah, Howzzat!
This 1983 calypso from 'Here come the Windies', not only captures the true spirit of cricket, but also makes it look alarmingly simple. Batsmen score runs, bowlers take wickets and the spectators enjoy the game. A far cry from today’s game, which is played as much off the field, as it is on it.
There’s another reason for choosing this 1983 calypso. My earliest cricketing memories revolve around India’s twin tours of Pakistan and West Indies in 1982/83. The World Cup win in 1983 did help in cementing my love affair with this game. And like all good wines, it got better with age.
‘Cricket and All That’ is about celebrating the simple joys of cricket - a stroke well played, ball well bowled and a catch well taken.
The title is also a rip off from "10 for 66 and All That" – an autobiographical account of Arthur Mailey – Australian great of 1920s.
In addition to being a good leg spinner and an even better writer, the genial Arthur Mailey also had another endearing quality - of poking fun at self. Once, playing for New South Wales against Victoria, Mailey remarked at the fall of last wicket, ""A pity that last wicket fell; I was just striking my length." That, after conceding 362 runs for his 4 wickets in Victorian score of 1107!
Equally good was the placard atop the meat shop he started in Sydney. It read - Arthur Mailey, used to bowl tripe; used to write tripe; now he sells tripe.
While I have no intention of retiring any soon, and certainly none, of venturing into meat business, I consider myself a worthy contender for other two attributes Arthur Mailey spoke of - bowls tripe and writes tripe.