“There is a distinct difference between suspense and surprise, and yet many pictures continually confuse the two.” – Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock may have been discussing the finer points of filmmaking, but he could have just as easily been talking about sport—an endeavor defined by soul crushing anxiety. Yet, of its innumerable permutations, perhaps no sport is better representative of terror in its most distilled form than cricket. And considering that one of Hitchcock’s films uses the 1938 Ashes as a major plot point, who’s to say he wasn’t acutely aware of this fact?
Filed under Test, The Ashes
In 1963, CLR James predicted the genesis of T20 cricket—or, at least, that the future of cricket lay in the improvisation and controlled recklessness that we now associate with the shortest form of the game.
Eulogizing Wilton St. Hill—a well-known Trinidadian batsman from the 1920s—James recalled the vicious beauty of Hill’s technique. Facing off against a fearsome paceman, Hill “…[w]ith his shoulder well up, almost scoop[ed] up the ball, his body following through almost towards point… hurtling [the ball] over mid-off’s head.” It was a shot that James believed Hill “had never had to make…before in his life.” For Hill, if success “required the invention of a stroke on the spot, invented it would be.” Presciently, James believed Hill’s style was “where a future for big cricket lies.”
Darren Bravo in Barbados. Photo Credit: YouTube
Bar English supporters, no one wanted to see Joe Root step into the crease in Barbados. Throughout the series, Root had terrorized the West Indies bowling attack—the most impressive performance being a masterful innings of 182 not out in the second Test. For nearly six hours, Root had been nothing less than omnipotent, swatting 21 boundaries, including four sixes. As England’s tenth wicket fell, Root stood alone—the architect of a 464 first-innings total that would ultimately undo the West Indies.
As Root strode out of the English dressing room a week later in Bridgetown, the outlook of a West Indian victory looked no less promising. Yet, with the third Test on a precipice, it would be Root who would fall. With Jason Holder bowling, Root attempted a defensive stroke: The ball caught an edge and carried into the open palms of the man at first slip. After facing just 13 balls and with a solitary run to his name, Root was dismissed. The Kensington Oval roared. Holder leaped into the air, his fist clenched, howling emphatically. Smiles stretched across the faces of the West Indian fielders. They realized how momentous this catch was. Root was gone. England had managed just 28 runs at the cost of four wickets in their second innings. Victory seemed within reach.
Well there is no need to be overly dramatic about it, it is just cricket and not even Test. That said, the Delhi Daredevils have had quite the terrible week. The Daredevils have had four matches and managed to lose each and every one of them and in doing so knocked themselves out of any playoff chance. This is a team that was looking to come back from a disastrous campaign last season and they’ve managed to repeat that again in IPL 8. Continue reading
If you are feeling a bit of ODI withdrawal following the end of the World Cup, take a few minutes to watch the final 18 balls from the famous 438 Match at Wanderers on March 12th 2006. What an amazing match and an incredible run chase. ODI cricket at its absolute finest.
We’ll have more on the third West Indies v. England Test soon, but in the meantime, it appears that Jermaine isn’t the only Blackwood proficient with the bat. Meet Bruce—Jermaine’s brother—who, of all places, appears to play his cricket in the United States for Sportsmen’s Athletic Club.
Jason Holder celebrates his maiden century in Antigua.
The West Indies are finished, don’t you know? They’re in irrevocable decline. Cricket in the Caribbean is dead.
Fortunately, no one seems to have told Jason Holder and Jermaine Blackwood.
Yesterday, former Australian Test captain and unparalleled commentator Richie Benaud passed away at the age of 84. There will innumerous words offered on behalf of Benaud in the coming weeks, rightfully celebrating the legend’s life. However, perhaps the greatest eulogy of all has already been delivered by the Benaud himself.
Enjoy—and rest in peace, Richie.
Brendan Taylor, the recently retired Zimbabwean captain, is off to a great start with Nottinghamshire knocking in 105 runs off 111 balls in his debut. Continue reading
Some potentially good news to report out of Pakistan this week. While in Islamabad on his state visit, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announced, alongside his Pakistani counterpart, that Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan in the near future. Continue reading