Well, everything permitting, and assuming nothing truly dramatic happens tomorrow, most should be able to work out what the blog after this will be about. In truth its now got to the point where I dont care what they tell me, I just want to hear the news of what it is now. At least then I can make a few plans, regardless.
So lets do something totally different, cricket. If you listened to most people in this country, there is a forthcoming series of matches, that are the all important cricket matches of the summer, The Ashes, England against Australia. And in truth of cricket history, thats probably right. But in terms of a match that easily tops that for competition, both between the players, and the fans, it happened today, in Manchester. Yes, India, and Pakistan.
For those old enough to remember the comment (I think it was Enoch Powell?) about supporting the country they live in, well its fair to say today that he’s be rolling in his grave if he saw that, lol! Hated the man intensely, but I thought of it today watching the home fans supporting ‘their’ teams!
Considering that until 1947 they were one country, under British rule, I guess its no surprise that since the separation, the hostility between them has been immense. And the departure of East Pakistan, to become Bangladesh did nothing to quell the storm.
But it shows the difference between fans of various sports. Today, at Old Trafford, 26,000 avid fans of both countries entered the ground together, and could happily sit together to watch the game. Yes, when you think of what that might be like, with football (soccer) fans, I shudder at the thought. And yes, England, and Australia, the same will happen, however much enmity there may be on the ground, in both cases.
One last cricket fact that amused me, and set Twitter on fire. If you play a cricket tournament in England, in May, and June, you have to expect rain at some point. When fans bemoaned the fact their teams game had been called off due to said rain, the Indian fans were just happy to say it was fate, and they had to accept. Then, New Zealand, against India was rained off, and you would have thought it was the end of the world, judging by the Indian fans reactions. So yes, fate, until it affects them, how ironic? But anyway, I’m sure the ICC will ensure they win in the end, lol.
Video time. I wanted something with a sub continent feel to it, but at the same time, very British. Think this qualifies on both fronts?
Well, when I first saw an Ireland cricket team play live on TV in 2007, I still wasnt expecting this to happen 11 years down the line. Thats not to say that it was the first time I’d ever followed cricket scores for Ireland, as I’d been doing that for a few decades, generally fairly meaningless matches, other than perhaps the rivalry games with Scotland, and the odd knock out game against an English county, but otherwise its fair to say some of the teams they played were of the less than quality standard. Then, in March 2007, having qualified for the World Cup in the West Indies, they conjured up a tie against Zimbabwe, but its fair to say thats not the match anyone really remembers. No, thats the next one, when against all the odds, they beat Pakistan, and history was made. Another win in the second stage (Bangladesh), and the Irish legend was born. Fine, a few of those players werent actually born in Ireland, but if you’d ever accused any of them of not being Irish, well, it wouldnt have been a wise move!
In recent years, its been fair to say that 2 non test playing nations stood above the rest, Ireland, and Afghanistan. Its also equally fair to say thats no longer the case, because they are now test playing nations! Yes, last year, in their ‘wisdom’ the ICC promoted those 2 nations to test playing status. And for Ireland, tomorrow marks the start of that first test, at Malahide, against, yes, you’ve guessed it, Pakistan!
No, sadly, I wont be there. Given I’d already booked to leave for Seattle a week on Saturday, before the date was known, I probably wouldnt have been able to go anyway. Now, with a damaged back, and only able to work a 4 day week, I have no chance of going, regardless. And of course, the first 2 days of the game, I’ll be working. Indeed, Day 4, same thing. I’m pretty certain that unless there are weather issues, it probably wont reach Day 5, but we will see. But hopefully, Sunday, on Day 3, I get to see some on TV.
Next year, I hope to be able to see the team play a test match (holiday plans are currently congested this year), though who against, no idea? Sadly a few of the ‘golden era’ players will be gone by then, some of whom were young players on that memorable day in 2007. Ironically, Ed Joyce was at that tournament, for England!
But yes, tomorrow will be a special day, and even if my first focus tomorrow needs to be on my job, I’ll be wondering how they’re getting on, in my breaks. Not that I’ll be able to look, being a member of the 1% club who dont own, or want to own a smart phone, with internet connection! And yes, my heart will be in Malahide, even if my old body wont be!
Go you boys in Green, though of course they will be in white for a test match!
OK, video time. Most will know, but for those who dont, the Ireland Cricket team is a united team, covering both the Republic, and Northern Ireland. Thing is, that causes anthem issues lol, 2 different countries (or part of). I think this was first created for the united rugby team as an anthem, but the cricket team quickly picked up on it as well. This is the full length version, not the one sung at sporting events. So tomorrow, 11 men cricketers will answer the call for the first time in a test match! Why do I say that? Well, the women played one years ago, but so far, just the one!