They Know Not Cricket

“Cricket as Art”. An amazing Radio 3 presentation by Darkus Howe on CLR James and Cricket. Must listen. [via CT].

There is a gorgeous paragraph in Beyond the Boundary that I can merely echo:

Our house was superbly situated, exactly behind the wicket. I doubt it for some years I knew what I was looking at in detail. But this watching from the window shaped one of my strongest early impressions of personality in society. His name was Matthew Bondman and he lived next door to us … He was generally dirty. He would not work. His eyes were fierce, his language was violent and his voice was loud. For ne’er-do-well, in fact vicious character, as he was, Matthew had one saving grace, Matthew could bat… Matthew dropped out early. But he was my first acquaintance with the genus Britannicus, a fine batsman, and the impact that he makes on all around him, non-cricketers and cricketers alike. The contrast beetween Matthew’s pitiable existence as an individual and the attitude people had towards him filled my growing mind and has occupied me to this day.

Ghafoor could bat too. He delivered milk to the colony, on his bicycle. Two canisters, weighing 40 lbs each, balanced on each side of his bicycle. He woke up at 3:30 for his round, finishing them by 8 or so. By 8:30, he would meet us at the grounds. Wrapped carefully in a jute sack were his immaculately pressed whites. He would change out of his dhoti and replace his pug with a CA cap that I had given him a while ago. To my young eyes, he was as close to a superhero as possible, transforming from a dhodi [milkman] to a cricketer with the straightest bat I had ever seen. Class and caste dissolved within the boundary. I know that he hid his cricket playing from his family. After playing a full game, he would take the pats on his back, change into his dhoti and set off on another 4 hours of milk-routes.

I wish I had time to write about CLR James’ book. But, after hearing the program, I am more than determined that my next project will be somewhere within the boundary.

Author: sepoy

what is the vertiginous chapati saying to me?

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