Saturday, March 24, 2007

only a game?

I was thinking of doing a Cricket World Cup preview/story so far blog post at some stage this week, but events have overtaken me, specifically the shocking developments following the tragic death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer.

Strangely enough the end of Woolmer's playing career at Test level marked the start of my Test cricket watching career (and subsequent lifelong obsession). It was 1981, I was 11, and England were playing Australia in what would become (thanks largely to Ian Botham) the most famous Ashes series of all time, until 2005 anyway. Sadly for him, Woolmer wasn't involved in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Tests on which the series' claim to historic status rests; he played in the first Test at Trent Bridge (in which he made a pair, and England lost - the image on the left shows him being caught at slip by Graeme Wood off Dennis Lillee in the first innings) and the second Test at Lord's (which was drawn) in which he made 21 and 9. These were the last two of his 19 Test appearances, as he went on Graham Gooch's rebel tour to South Africa that winter and received a 3-year ban (as did all the other rebels).

It looks as if the World Cup will continue in parallel with the police investigation. There are all sorts of the show must go on, it's what Bob would have wanted, etc., arguments to be put forward in support of this, though it's undeniably true that it's what the providers of the £millions worth of sponsorship and the TV companies would want as well. I hope Malcolm Speed doesn't end up being as reviled for that decision as Avery Brundage was for decreeing that the 1972 Munich Olympics should continue after the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes.

Time will tell. A more directly cricket-related post will follow, probably once the preliminary round is completed and we know who's in the Super Eight. In the meantime, here's Herschelle Gibbs making one-day cricket history by hitting six sixes in an over off Dan van Bunge of the Netherlands.

1 comment:

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