I love the game of cricket.
Like most things, I have grown to love it more as I have watched and learned and thought about it more. In particular I love test cricket.
It is called a test for a simple reason: it is a test. Unlike many other sporting events which are simply a contest of skill and strategy, test cricket is true test of all those things – but with your body and mind numbed by day after day in the blazing sun.
Some may argue the Tour de France or even a simple golf tournament offers the same test – but, unlike those sports, test cricket requires relentless concentration, split-second decision making and lightning reflexes; even on day four or five. And the consequences of being just momentarily distracted or going to sleep is instant dismissal, a ball hit for a six or cropped catch; all of which can change the course of the game.
It’s as brutal as a boxing match, and I think Michael Clarke would have possibly settled for a knock-out punch to the head instead of another hour of batting at some point of his marathon innings.
I sometimes fear that a game that is so ‘slow’ – it could go for 5 days and still result in a draw - which means it may not retain its appeal to future sport-loving generations.
I am hoping that it does because it will be the antithesis of modern day living; which seems to all out about speed, action and instant gratification – and an almost pathological aversion to bearing the consequences of your decisions. (Life is all about playing the blame game and finding someone to sue at the drop of the proverbial hat when the slightest injustice is perceived.) And paradoxically, this stark contrast with everyday life may become its most attractive feature.
On the cricket pitch there is no place to hide. No one to blame for a nicked ball or a dropped catch.
But the best of all is that, more than any other sport, cricketers accept that they will get their fair share of ducks – even Don Bradman did – and they usually accept those and move graciously on for another innings.
And that is what I love about the game.
And yes, there is a lesson for business in all this. But you will have to take the time to distil it yourself. Maybe there is greater value in discovering it for your self than me providing an executive summary in a closing paragraph.
My son, aged about 7 or 8 (about 7 years ago)waiting to have his turn...