Hampshire v Yorkshire at Southampton, County Championship Division One (Day 4)

The lull between England-India tests has created something of a lull here at Limited Overs, as well. Which doesn’t make a great deal of sense, as I used to write plenty every day long before India landed at Heathrow. I would talk Associates and Affiliates and County Cricket, but now: I am bowling on a flat deck.

And there is so much happening!

I mean, there is cricket, international cricket, happening not a two hour plane ride from my house, as Afghanistan and Canada play out a four day match in Toronto. Canada was unable to avoid the follow-on, but are leading by just 13 runs with only 3 wickets in hand going into the final day which does not bode well for their chances.

Which, honestly, blows my mind. Afghanistan has been, to put it lightly, war torn for its entire existence, give or take a decade here and there. And yet, here they are, putting the hammer down on Canada, a first world, oil rich, and multicultural nation. It’s interesting about cricket, about how certain nations are just better at the game. There are very, very, very few sports in the world where Afghanistan or Namibia or Bangladesh could give big first world nations like the USA and Canada and most of continental Europe a run for their money. Cricket is one of those games. And I think that really gives the sport an edge over football going forward. Cricket: the sport for the third world.  And the 21st century will be the century for the third world.

And, honestly, it is really amazing and awesome that the Afghani players are in North America this morning for a spot of cricket. It is a sport of truces and peace. When India and Pakistan sign an accord, for instance, the first thing they do is get together for a cricket match.

Zimbabwe has had its share of problems, but now after five years their cricketers are back playing tests again. It is a sport of forgiveness. Here’s hoping one of the big nations makes an effort to tour down there. There are giving Bangladesh quite a lashing in Harare this morning.

In Sri Lanka, too, Sangakaara in his famous speech at Lord’s gave cricket all the credit for helping his country rebuild after 30 years (THIRTY YEARS!) of civil war.

It is a sport of truces, and peace. Walk out, flip a coin, play cricket.

You could say that football is the world’s game, but is also a game of nationalism, and racism, and fanaticism, and hooliganism. (Speaking of which, did you see that FIFA put Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia in the same qualifying group – what the fuck were they thinking!?)

Football is what you play as the war rages, cricket is what you play when the war is over.

(Yes, I know, there is still war in Afghanistan, whilst there is peace in the Balkans. I never claimed this thesis to be bulletproof).

Back on the pitch: Zaheer and Sehwag are playing a practice game against Northamptonshire, which will give Indian fans some hope for the final two tests; something something Big Bash something something; and Paddy Upton blames “mental exhaustion” for India’s failures in the first two tests. Or, maybe, Paddy, England played better and three of India’s best players were injured.

This weekend is the knockout stage of the Friends Life t20 (remember County Cricket?) – most of the matches are on Willow.tv. I hope to be able to watch a couple, before football and the Arsenal swallow my weekends whole.

Until Monday.

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