Why Clarkson is wrong.

I’ve been reading ‘The World According to Clarkson’ over the past few weeks. It’s good, it’s very good, and I like the fact that he calls a spade a spade. He can write. He’s no Conrad, but he knows that too. I have really enjoyed being 28 again infact. All the articles are from 2002/3. The book even has a ‘3 for 2 Books etc’ sticker on the front. The History of the High Street hey. I tell ya.

I found myself thinking – Yes, I remember where I was when I heard that Concorde had crashed. Belfast. I remember where I was when I saw the last three fly in over London : Goldsmiths College, New Cross. The articles, so current then, so soon consigned, like hopeless lovers, to history.

But I do have a bone to pick with the man. As Botham strides around Sri Lanka, and Bell and Trott are gathering runs, and the National team head down to Hobart, I want to confront the petrol head on his dislike of the Greatest Game known to man.

I was pretty disappointed in ‘Jeremy 12 cylinders’ when I came across his article from Saturday 8th December 2002 titled, “Cricket’s the National Sport of Time Wasters”. Now, I have to admit, between 1989 and 2005 I was starting to despair too, but I didn’t throw in the towel so easily. Where’s your Brit Grit ’12 cylinders’?

I take the point that there was an era (Eddie Hemmings springs to mind) when Cricketers probably didn’t look majorly athletic. But, not now. No, no. Our boys are a lean, mean winning machine. We’ve only lost one test under Captain Cook’s 16 tests at the helm.

I’ve re-read his article thrice now, and apart from the fact that he actually hardly mentions cricket, and moans more about George Bush, Monopoly and his kids (that would be a neat photo) than the noble game, he does have one main bug bear :

It takes too much time.

Like all impatient 5 year olds, Jeremy is a card carrying member of the ‘Immediate Satisfaction’ generation. I was called this for a year by my Mum when addicted to Nesquik Chocolate milkshakes. But it’s true, just as all good things come to those who wait, a 5 day game of cricket (yes – with comfort breaks) is a fine sport.

And the reason will be found in his own words, just as he likes (short) novels which have a good story and evoke feelings of hope, Test Match cricket is precisely the same : a good story which will evoke feelings of hope.





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