It can last five days after which it still ends in a draw. It is famously dependent on good weather. And its rules are a mystery to at least 99% of the world’s population.
And yet, dear reader, I put it to you that cricket is still the greatest sport ever invented.
One, it’s nice to look at. Players dressed in white, in lush green fields on perfect summer’s days. What could be more picturesque?
Two, you’re never too old. In my club we have players well into their seventies, and their wisdom and character is just as valuable to the side as youthful energy and strength.
Three, it’s an equal opportunities sport. Women’s cricket is a fast-growing sport – helped by the fact that the English women’s team won the last World Cup.
Fourthly, it is a love affair that can last a lifetime. You never fully master the game. Even when you know your leg before and your silly mid offs, are you sure you know how to deal with a doosra followed by a googlie?
Fifthly, food is included. I won’t labour this point – I’ll only say that oranges in a sweaty dressing room that stinks of deep heat bears no comparison to a homemade cake in a pavilion lined with black and white photos of teams from yesteryear.
Fifthly, and most importantly, cricket is a mind game, a test of character. Perhaps only golf rivals it in this regard. You can have all the natural ability you want but if you lack patience, courage and judgement you will never make it count. If sport is a test of character then cricket is its ultimate test.
Still don’t believe me? Well at some point over the next few weeks take a look at the World Cup which is currently being played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. One day cricket is not the finest version of the game, but in that part of the world it is more ardently supported than football in the favelas. Last Sunday England drew with tournament favourites India in a thrilling , high scoring match in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 40,000 in Bangalore.
Take a few minutes in the next few days to watch a bit of the tournament, and then try to tell me this is a dull game. I’m confident that you’ll soon agree that this is in fact the greatest sport ever invented.