Cricket, to the outsider, is not sexy.
Even to those in the know who love the sport to bits know it rarely raises a flutter in the heart. As a schoolboy cricketer, it certainly did nothing for me when it came to attracting members of the opposite sex.
Girls were drawn to the sweaty lads in shorts with socks half way down their shins sporting cuts and bruises and snazzy mud-stained footy tops.
The sight of a boy in cream flannels, cricket bat under his arm and hand down the front of his trousers adjusting his groin protector did nowt.
Footballers could regale the ladies with tales of diving headers and last-minute winning goals.
Cricketers could barely get going before having to explain just exactly what an ‘over’ was. We’d get lost in the detail of ‘fine legs’, ‘yorkers’ and ‘wides’ as the eyes of our listener glazed over.
But for a glorious few hours this summer, the sport took on a life of its own. Cricket became the sporting centre of the universe as England pulled off the most dramatic of World Cup final victories. It was the kind of spectacular result, played out in front of an audience of millions, that will inspire a generation of new cricketers. May the lord have mercy on their souls.
That final may inspire a generation, but it should come with a government health warning.
It may have been the pinnacle of cricket, but, to coin a phrase, it’s just not cricket. If you rock up to your local club hoping to see the same performance played out on the village green, think again.
We may have invented the game, but we picked the wrong country in which to perfect it. At least a third of my cricketing career has been either watching the rain approach, watching it rain from the pavilion or standing in a field as the rain comes down.
The ball hurts when it hits your hands. It hurts when it hits your legs. And it hurts when it hits your wickets.
It’s nothing like that World Cup game. That was a different sport.
For the pain that local league cricket puts you through, it is not enough to like cricket, you have, as 10cc so correctly put it, to love it.