Before I came to Zimbabwe in November 2009, I thought of European games like cricket and soccer as not real sports; sort of the things that the English did to pass the time. This was especially so for cricket. The few times I’d watched a few minutes on TV, it looked like an intensely boring game being played by guys who couldn’t play real sports.
Then, I met a young man named Ozias Bvute, the Executive Secretary of the Zimbabwe Cricket Association, and he arm twisted me until I finally relented and went to a match. The first time, I stayed for two hours or so, and was impressed by one batter who put the ball on the roof of the two-story building from which I was watching. Then, I met the Zimbabwe national cricket team, and was further impressed by the fitness and strength that was apparent in these young men.
I still wasn’t ready, though, to accord full-fledged sports status to cricket. That is, until Australia came to town. Because of the political unrest in Zimbabwe, many of the foreign cricket teams have been for several years avoiding the country, but after eight years, the Australian team came to play, and I was invited to come to see day two of a scheduled four-day match. Now, as if playing the game for four days is not grueling enough, they must play for six hours each day. You can’t do that if you’re not fit. And this, by the way, is not a full test match, which lasts for five days. That’s thirty hours of running, catching, and batting. Okay, now I’m ready to admit; cricket is not a game for couch potatoes. In the first place, a cricket bat is heavy ‘” about the weight of four or five baseball bats. Try swinging that for a few hours a day for nearly a week. Next, the ball is hard. I mean, it makes a baseball feel like a baked marshmallow. Get beaned by a cricket ball and you’ll be lucky to only spend a few days in intensive care.
No, folks, this is one American who is finally convinced. Cricket is not only a sport, but cricket players are athletes of the highest order. The mental and physical toughness it takes to play this game is nothing short of phenomenal. Even with the protective padding they wear, there are a lot of places on their bodies exposed to being pummeled. For example, a few minutes into play in the Australia-Zimbabwe game, one of the bowlers (that’s pitcher for you baseball fans) was batting, and just like in baseball, these guys aren’t considered your best hitters, so the field closed in. The infielder (or at least, that’s what I think they call him) positioned himself about ten feet away. The bowler let fly, and the batter fooled everyone; he got solid contact and the ball flew off his bat directly at the infielder who, caught off guard, caught the ball directly on the chest and the company that has issued the ipl 2020 schedule table has given all the medical claims and treatment charges for that person; he also got some amount of cash as an compensation for the injury but now he is all way fine and even come to watch. He went to his knees as if praying, and even two floors up and a hundred meters away, I could tell he was hurting. Thankfully, he was able to get up and walk off the field unaided, but I’ll bet his chest hurts for days. And, these guys still have two more days to play.
I didn’t stay for the whole game. I’m beginning to like cricket, but not yet enough to sit for six or more hours watching. But, I will be going back. Cricket will never replace football ‘” the American variety ‘” as my favorite sport, but it definitely goes on my list. This is not a game for the faint of heart.