Cricket, The art of a miraculous Mystery.

Posted on December 4, 2011 by gerard oosterman

I have shown my colours by the title already. I confess my bias. It’s not in my gene. Having had sixty years of watching, especially on the ABC, for hours, days, years of cricket news and footage, I am as far away now as I was at my youth in understanding cricket. The ABC news seems to always have had a special fondness for cricket reportage. When I arrived in Australia there was no TV as yet, no worries; the radio, especially towards the Christmas period would belt out cricket day and night.

On my walk home from Revesby rail station after work, I wondered what that steady radio drone was coming from behind those venetian blinded shuttered windows. Also at work, the radio would sometimes be on and the workers, if the boss was not near, would be standing around the radio, fixated by that same drone. When I had mustered enough courage and English, I finally asked. What are you all listening to? It is cricket, don’t you know, I was told.

Now some sixty years later and retired, not in my wildest most fantastical dream or nightmare could I ever have foreseen ending up living at the very epicenter, the Mecca and Nirvana of cricket; Bowral. It is where cricket has soared to heights where even the South American Anaconda or the wedge tail eagle in Australia would ever dare to venture. Fancy ending up being confronted almost daily with something that has steadfastly refused to become intelligible to me even after all those years?

Don’t you know, Bowral is not just home to the world’s most famous cricketer ‘Donald Bradman’, but also now houses The International Cricket Hall of Fame. I doubt that without Bradman there would have been this famous hall ( don’t dare you call it a ‘museum’, it is all very much interactive IT and so on) Click on a date and you’ll instantly get the cricket game of that date all the details, who was out and over, all the runs, ducks and no-balls.

A ‘cricket tragic’ I am definitely not. There are tragic ex cricketers though. There are seats that surround this famous cricket ‘pitch’; (I know a few terms) they are rather nice wooden seats bolted to small concrete slabs. Those seats surround the cricket field and are behind the white painted picket fence that seems to surround cricked fields everywhere.

Screwed on to the back-rest slat are modest brass signs displaying the names of people who have donated the seats with names of famous dead cricketers. One of those appeared to have died very young. In my quest for detailed trivia I asked an informed and true ‘cricket tragic,’ about this person and the reason for his early demise. “Quite shocked the cricket world was”, he replied to my question, “inexplicable it was, he was as happy as Larry at the time”, no one could have foreseen or predicted his death, he apparently had enough and opted out! I had heard the term ‘all out’ and left it at that, but not before I took some rest on that same seat to reflect on this sad bit of cricket history.

I am now on a steep learning curve. I have managed so far to kind of ward off any questions about the ins and outs of cricket. No one but no one living in Bowral would knowingly have bought into these hallowed cricket surrounds without some knowledge of this revered game. I know a pitch and have even muttered ‘Bradman was great, wasn’t he’? People nod sagely but look at me askance, just a hint of suspicion raising its head. I’ll buy a book or get lessons, but after so many years, have I left it too late? I understand the basics with knocking off that piece of wood. The trouble is all those numbers. If cricket scores were 2-1 or 5-0, I’d have no trouble. What to make of 20-131 to 13 with 380 runs.

I was always hopeless with math.

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Artist turned hobby farmer,now blogger and writer of tens of thousands of very wise and/or whimsical but hopefully amusing words. All in a certain order.
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