I am several planets away from those who lined up their bottles at Lord’s for England’s latest debacle. That’s cricket. That’s life. We are always 10 balls from the next catastrophe. The shipping forecast intervenes to give us news from beyond the boundary. Viking. Southwest 4 or 5. Showers. Moderate or good. Summer is here.
We used to save our pennies, our twenty-pence pieces and our pound coins for a fortnight in Portstewart, looking down on those promenading below our vantage point, as the winds occasionally blew in from Malin. We played cricket on the beach with all of our friends and family, in the moments around Graham Dilley’s epic run ins and Ian Botham’s cameos. It was all witnessed on the portable holiday TV, a TV that my brother had bought and was one with auto-tuning. My father always asked, ‘What is happening in the cricket?’ I was always able to answer, having sat watching it the whole day.
Malcolm Marshall was my hero and always will be. I absolutely loved the West Indies of the 1980’s.
And then the summer ends. The wind changes direction. The emotion that I feel when the final test match closes is a sure sign that the leaves are getting ready to fall and the swallows are departing again.
Cricket is a key part of the fabric of life. It signals summer. It may be moderate or good. There may be occasional rain and gales, gales that are occasioned by the skill of any particular bowler. That is all part of the spectacle and often a key part of the temporary depression that may result after a poor performance.
Summer must end. Play must end. The darkness returns.
A new chapter and a new hero waits for the wind to change direction again.