23rd March 2011

If there’s one thing cricketers try to avoid it’s having to watch cricket. Seriously, who wants to watch someone else do their job? Lesbian strippers perhaps, but who else?

Just look at the Sky Sports Commentators. Not if you’re interested in girl-on-girl lap dance action obviously – judging by that 20/20 advert from last year I doubt Nick Knight would cut the mustard. But just listen to them having to talk about cricket. You can hear the pain in their voices. See the suffering on their faces. Put aside your preconceptions; that’s not Bob Willis’ death mask, it’s genuine anguish. Imagine what it must be like spending 20 years dodging having to bowl in county cricket only to spend your dotage feigning interest in it? He’s the kid who avoided school dinners grown into the OAP served semolina every day in the retirement home. And just like semolina it’s slowly killing him inside. One day he’ll die of ennui, live on air, just like that, a miserablist Tommy Cooper.

Erm…I seem to have wandered slightly there…where was I? Oh yeah, cricketers don’t enjoy watching cricket.

We had to do that today. All of us rounded up and plonked in front of the hotel widescreen to watch the first quarter-final.

No offence but it was a bit one-sided, a bit of a routine walk over. That’s the thing with Pakistan; all of a sudden they look so conventional, so predictable, so white bread. Where’s the fun in winning that easily? Think of your proud history, Pakistan. Start to self destruct. Run between the wickets like Inzy. Win matches from improbable situations. Take offence at comparisons to a potato. Lose games you’re not even playing in. Take hat-tricks. Make Afridi your batting coach. Get the phrase “genital warts” into back page headlines. Make Kamran Akmal look the boring one.

If anyone can do it, Pakistan, it’s you. You have to capability to win the World Cup, but more than that, the power to make cricketers want to watch the game.