I could watch the West Indies all day. They just do their thing and even if their thing happens to be the wrong thing, they do it anyway, because what else would they do? In the middle of what some people might say was a moderately significant game with South Africa, Chris Gayle’s men appeared to fall out with each other. Yet even as they were arguing, scowling and pointedly not clapping, they were still throwing down stumps and pouching catches with ease. The South Africans looked a little perplexed, like policemen trying to arrest a bunch of squabbling bank robbers.
On further investigation, it turned out that the outbreak of grumpiness started with Suliemann Benn, who, perceiving a lack of athletic endeavour from Ramnaresh Sarwan in the field, proceeded to holla on his rass in a vehement fashion. Old boy Ronnie did not like it one bit and everyone else appeared to get all riled up for no particular reason. I know how they feel. I was up late last night too and I was right grumpy this morning until I’d had my pancakes.
But hey, at least they’re still in it. In fact, as we speak, everyone’s still in it.* If only it could continue. After all, who cares who wins the thing? Scorers, statisticians and those in the employ of the ICC might be waiting with bated breath to fill up their wallcharts, but everyone else is savouring the array of dishes that make up the World Twenty20 menu. My favourite flavours of cricket at the moment are Caribbean, Sri Lankan and particularly Pakistani. I’m moved by the fervour squeezed into every syllable of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’; I am entertained by the flippant brilliance of their play and I am fascinated by the luxiourousness of Shahid Afridi’s hair.
Actually, many of the folks in TV land, particularly if they’ve got an England cap mouldering in their wardrobe, like to tell us English that we have a team that is just as mercurial. I beg to differ. To qualify for mercurial status, a team must possess latent astonishment potential, they must play on instinct and they must be touched by genius. Pakistan are proper mercurial, as David Lloyd might put it. England are not. They are perfectly nice chaps, but as was once said of Paul Collingwood, if they were playing on my front lawn, I’d draw the curtains.
*Of course, I did not mean to imply, Aussie fans, that the rest of us are not missing you deeply. It’s just that we’ve seen rather a lot of you over the years and it’s nice to let some of the other boys have a go. Besides, you’ll have your fun soon enough.