Category Archives: cricket

Lord’s in the great days

The young Dalrymple wasted many a happy day at the ground. The Great War had not yet broken out, and

there were no clouds, only clear blue skies. (Like the game itself, the weather has since changed for the worse.)

The crowd, except for Test matches,

was exiguous, but it struck me as in no way peculiar that professionals should play a three-day match in front of only a smattering of spectators in a very large ground, only to end in a draw. On the contrary, this only reassured me as to the importance of what they were doing: there was something almost hieratic about it.

It was a world, says Dalrymple,

in which people would rather lose than cheat.

And cricket today? It is less

namby-pamby gentlemanly play up, play up, and play the game; more all’s fair in love and war.

India’s wisdom and glory

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 23.32.30Hindustan alone, writes Dalrymple,

values the Olympic Games at their true worth—which is to say, approaching nil.

It is not, he points out, that Indians

are indifferent to sport. They are crazy about cricket, a game whose considerable subtleties are lost on all who did not grow up with it but which teaches mental flexibility as well as specific skills. But no official encouragement is necessary to promote this enthusiasm. On every field of every Indian city, ragged children can be seen playing with improvised equipment, as richer children play with the latest kit. It is no coincidence that, economically, India now dominates this most English of games.

India

more or less ignored the Olympics. But it is India, whose government does nothing to encourage (or deter) its athletes, that is right, not the rest of the world.

Murder of a member of the unfortunate class

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 08.19.03The Notable British Trials series, Dalrymple explains,

ran uninterruptedly from 1905 to 1959. Habitués of secondhand bookshops will be very familiar with its typeface and its rough, yellowing paper.

In the old days, the British

liked nothing more than to settle down with the transcript of a trial of one of the rococo villains that their well-ordered society sometimes, indeed regularly, threw up.

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Truly out of his mind

For example, Ronald True was arraigned in 1922 for the murder of what the prosecuting counsel, Sir Richard Muir, called ‘a member of the unfortunate class’. True

had always been a bad lot, a swindler and a drug addict. His moods alternated between childish exaltation — as when he went about in a bath-chair with a hooter and a doll — and depression with sudden fits of violence. By the time of the murder, all were agreed that he was insane, but not insane enough not to be sentenced to death. However, the law of England at the time was that you couldn’t be hanged while insane: you’d learn nothing by it, or perhaps it just wasn’t cricket.

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