‘A cricket ground is a flat piece of earth with some buildings around it.’ Richie Benaud
I love the reductionist logic of that statement. An infinitely complex sport, cricket is ultimately little more than a group of individuals hitting and pursuing a ball around that flat piece of earth, before repairing to said buildings to eat cucumber sandwiches.
I have spent the last three days watching the first Test match of the summer. The time has passed imperceptibly. Yesterday I was barely away of what day it was.
Cricket carries me into a state of being which is – paradoxically – both deeply contemplative and utterly thoughtless.
I wrote an awful poem once about how the sight of a dog asleep beneath the boughs of a lemon tree helped me realise that peace of mind might not be as far away as I thought.
Cricket has the same effect. The gentle acts of repetition, the pleasing hum of a crowd come to worship at the same church as me, and the obscure, archaic rituals dotting the day’s play like daisies in a field in June.
Life is full enough of hard, difficult things; cricket is my soft landing.