30 March 2011

It IS cricket, old chap

Maybe it's just me, but a lot of news today is making me laugh out loud. Here's an unconsciously hilarious report from po-faced KCOC-S Oborne about what it's like to play for countries that take their sport seriously.
If history is anything to go by, today’s losers will face professional disgrace and social ostracism. They will not be able to return to their homes for fear of physical attack. Some may receive obscene phone calls in the night, as Pakistani skipper Wasim Akram did after his country’s quarter-final defeat to India in 1996. His home was stoned, his effigy burnt in the street, and he required a police escort to go outside.

The winners, by contrast, will bask in national adulation. Indeed, a flavour of the kind of rewards that lie ahead came yesterday with the announcement from Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of the Punjab, that each member of the Pakistani national side will receive some 25 acres of fertile land
[and a cow?] as a prize for beating India.
But then he has to get sententious - it's what shows he's not a mere (sniff) sports journopuke:
Behind all this passion lurks a long, tragic and far too often brutal history. Scholars estimate that between one and three million people died in massacres when Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India were split at the time of independence from the British Empire in 1947.

Since then, there have been four bloody wars between these two proud and magnificent countries, as well as a number of smaller conflicts. To make this hostility yet more menacing, both countries are now armed with nuclear weapons, each aimed at the other. And Indian and Pakistani soldiers face one another uneasily across the lonely line of control in mountainous Kashmir, just a few hundred miles from where today’s massive sporting contest takes place.

The German military philosopher Clausewitz famously noted that war is a continuation of politics by other means.* The Indians and Pakistanis have taken the dictum one stage further: for them, cricket is another form of war.
* No he didn't, you pretentious, indolent twit. Check Google (extract edited for brevity):
"War is a mere continuation of politics by other means" was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point made earlier in the analysis that "war is nothing but a wrestling match on a larger scale". Clausewitz's synthesis says that war is neither one nor the other, but lies in his "fascinating trinity", a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation.

No comments:

Post a Comment