Only piles should stop CSA members sitting through a game

Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw only watches the highlights, not the whole cricket match
(Photo credit CSA).

Now that Cricket South Africa’s board members have all resigned under duress, I would like to suggest that their replacements first pass a transformation test before being appointed.

They would have to prove that their knowledge of the game was transformed.

They are apparently experts on the other meaning of transformation, though I’m not sure about that, either. Nine out of 10 cricket council members are black, five out of six franchise coaches are black, and 52 of CSA’s 64 permanent staff are black. That’s pretty black in my book, even if we haven’t yet been totally transformed into cricketing All Blacks.

But some are still not satisfied, the least satisfied being Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, who has just got the chop but believes people like her should have a say in team selection, even if they aren’t mad about cricket and don’t really understand it.

She said: “What worries me about cricket is that they can’t predict how long they are going to play. I only watch the highlights, not the whole match. I haven’t got the time for that.”

I think I have the answer for the busy doctor and others like her. Before they can be considered for re-election or appointment, they must prove they are able to sit through an entire five-day test match, without slinking out after an hour or two.

It may no last the full five days – as Kula­-Ameyaw noted, you can’t predict these things. The examinee may be lucky and only have to sit through three days and a bit. But at least by the end of it they may know the difference between the 12th man sitting in the pavilion and third man fielding backward of the slips.

They would also have to pass a written test, on field placings among other things. No, no, no, a short fine leg is not a height-challenged fielder with shapely limbs, inviting comparison with a deep square leg. Nor is a gully a furrow in the field.

They would be asked what is meant by breaking one’s duck. NB: This question has nothing to do with foul play. And beating the bat is what a ball does, not what a cricketer does to his bat when he is cross. Talking of which, a good batsman plays with a straight bat, not a cross one.

Doctor, I hope this is all clear so far. Remember that bowling a maiden over is unrelated to gender violence, and that a batsman’s back-lift, as stylish as it may be, is different to tail-wagging, which is what a team may do towards the end of its innings.

Please don’t confuse cow corner with grazing land or death bowling with murderous instincts. And if there’s been rain and the result of the match is decided by using the Duckworth-Lewis method, just accept that such knowledge will always be beyond your comprehension. Even people who love the game don’t understand it.

In time, with study, you too could become transformed. It won’t happen overnight. Those of us passionate about cricket began young. My greatest thrill as a small boy was when the great Herbie Taylor, who played in 42 tests for South Africa and was captain in 18, visited our home in Plumstead, and gave me a batting lesson in the dining room. He had come to buy a bicycle which my father gave up riding because of his piles.

And piles should be a CSA board member’s only excuse for not sitting through a whole match, unless they wish to remain untransformed.

John Scott

(reprinted courtesy of Die Burger)

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