Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Salvador Dali - time melting
while at the crease
Time - it's one of those slippery concepts is it not?

Fantasy Bob's remaining brain cell began to speculate on this after he was approached while standing empty minded at the bus stop today by a stranger who asked him 'Do you have the time?'  The conventional smart ass answer to this innocent question is 'Yes, if you have the money.'  But FB restrained himself, whether because of his interrogator's stern aspect or some other defence mechanism and passed the relevant information on - accurate to within 10 minutes.  You can be exact or you can be approximate - people are equally happy with either.

Cricketers through the ages have dwelt on time - some have argued that it is has a substantive existence, others that it is no more than a convention for ordering reality - and their theorising has got more and more elaborate as time passes....or doesn't, depending on your theoretical point of view. 

But one thing that they all recognise is that batsmen such as David Gower and Brian Lara were blessed with more time than other mortals.  These special players were never rushed and seemed to even the casual observer to make the ball slow down as it approached them so they could consider a full range of possible shots to dispatch it to the boundary.  No doubt when approached by a stranger and asked 'Do you have the time?' they would answer 'More than you think.'

Some bowlers had the inverse skill of being faster than they look - stealing time from the batsman.  FB of course is the inverse of both of these special cases - his bowling is slower than it looks and he has no time to play even the slowest bowlers who to him are always considerably faster than they look.  So asking FB if he has the time can get him very mixed up.

Time has always been special in cricket - games used to be played on a timed basis - none of this set number of overs but 20 overs after 6 was a common format or 40 after tea.  This added to the skill of knowing when to declare for draws were allowed in those dim dark days.  But in first class cricket time has been stolen as over rates have plummeted despite the attempts by the administrators to enforce more action.  40 years ago or so Brian Close was soundly booed for slowing things down to prevent the opposition from winning.  His mentality still runs deep in the game.

There is talk about recreating a time-less test to decide the proposed Test World Championship restoring a splendid part of cricket heritage. The thought of having a final drawn is too much for the administrators so the thought of play till you drop is being considered.  Imagine asking a fellow spectator during that match 'Do you have the time?'  The answer could only be 'None of us here has any time at all - this is timeless.'

The Goons - timeless
The last timeless Test was in 1939 between England and S Africa when England settled for a draw after 10 days play at 654 for 5 in the fourth innings in order to catch the boat home.  Thank goodness for that thought the bowlers who had been making ship siren noises from fine leg for the best part of 2 days.

Some comedy is simply timeless too.  For the greatest routine on asking the time - click to this link and thank the Lord for Spike Milligan.  Test Match Quality

No comments:

Post a Comment