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Cricket Anatomy™

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HOFFNUNG: I enjoy watching sports occasionally, you know.
RICHARDSON: What sports do you, ah — ?
HOFFNUNG: Yes! I like that sport where a lot of people are asleep on a lawn, you know, and they sit around in deck chairs. And there are some people in the middle of the lawn, and they do something. There’s a chap with a barber’s coat on.
RICHARDSON: You consider that — sport?
HOFFNUNG: Yes, Oh, yes! And then it starts raining, you know, and they all wake up, then somebody says, “well played, sir” —
RICHARDSON: Oh! I see! You are talking about this game of cricket!
HOFFNUNG: Cricket! Cricket! That’s right, yes, I like cricket! Yes, I enjoy that, I really do.

Charles Richardson interviews Gerard Hoffnung, BBC, 1951

A source of fierce metaphor for all who sail in her. One has no hope of understanding the English — or their dominions — without understanding cricket.

Cricket is a game with no practical interest or utility except as a metaphor for our grim, tenuous grip on life on this planet, in all its forms and with all its varieties.

People who don't understand the metaphorical power of cricket (and there are plenty of them), or who view it simply as a game played between spells of rain over a period of weeks by people wearing old fashioned tennis gear, are prone to writing it off as utterly pointless, long-winded and boring.

“Ahh,” says the cricket connoisseur, well-practised in cynical ruminations on the meaning of his own existence, “but isn’t that exactly the point.”

Cricket is therefore always a rich source of metaphors in business life, some of which have made it to buzzword status and some, sadly, to the less august level of mere cliché. Those ones you will just have to play with a straight bat.

Sadly there is no truth to the rumour, however energetically Lord Denning tried to propagate it, that cricket is incapable of being a nuisance.

See also