It's the game that lasts five days, with lengthy pauses for lunch and tea — then ends in a draw. Anything else...well, just isn't cricket.
“It has been said that the English, not being by nature a religious people, invented cricket to give them some idea of Eternity.”
“Cricket is flooded with sympathy... The more inept the performance, the greater the sympathy.”
“There is a feeling that if you shout loud enough, often enough, the umpire will have to submit, sooner or later.”
A self-proclaimed all-rounder, James Trollope has been playing village cricket for 25 years during which time he’s gained a reputation for running out his batting partners, refusing to walk and producing revolting teas. A promising career as a TV reporter in Sussex came to a premature end when his editor refused to accede to his demands to cover local news from the comfort of the County Cricket Ground, Hove. Nowadays, creaking middle age leads to much embarrassment in the field but he remains lethal in an umpire’s jacket, especially after failing with the bat.
A hurried, anxious bat, Nick Yapp never fulfilled the potential that early days on the beach at Worthing suggested. His slow bowling, however, has been famously popular with batspersons all over South London. Ever a Surrey fan, he had to take a double dose of his heart pills when he saw them win the Championship in 1999. Only a soft ball and the promise of friendly bowling now bring him out of retirement. On these occasions he still manages to look hawkish in the field, unless the ball comes too near.
You won’t find a better exposition of the mysterious regulations of the game than this. There is only one absolute constant; when the umpire finally calls ‘Play!’ it will start to rain.