R Ashwin’s idea of getting away from cricket isn’t the same as other people’s idea of getting away from cricket

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R Ashwin bowling (CC licensed by James Cullen via Flickr)

Everyone knows why the world has golf. The world has golf so that Don Bradman had a suitably challenging ball to use for the hitting-a-ball-against-a-water-tank-with-a-cricket-stump game that he used to develop his freakish hand-eye coordination.

Beyond that, golf has another point, which is to help you identify all of the people in the office who you don’t want to speak to. Any office person who shows an interest in the sport is almost certainly best avoided.

Golf can also be useful if you want your TV to provide a relaxing ambience without once attracting your attention.

Beyond that golf has no point, yet it seems to be the favoured pastime of a sizeable proportion of cricketers.

Not R Ashwin though. Speaking this week about his light international workload this year, he said: “I tried to spend a lot more time away from the game; tried to develop a lot more interests — reading books, a bit of archaeology.”

Our favourite part of this is “a bit of”. We’ve never before considered archaeology to be something in which you could dabble. In our head there were only two possible relationships with archaeology.

Option 1: Indiana Jones

Option 2: Not Indiana Jones

How wrong we were. This week R Ashwin taught us that one’s level of engagement with archaeology lies on a continuum.

More cricketers should be into archaeology. To all the rest of them out there – in particular all those who instead chose golf: you chose… poorly.


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  1. The last line in the second paragraph is absolutely shocking. You described golf as sport.

  2. I can’t remember which article you said it in, and I’m too lazy to look it up, but you called this match spot on, starting with a mammoth score then ending with a (sort of) skittling. You know your cricket, KC.

    1. It’s a notable change from recent matches in India which have been far more bowler friendly from the start. Interested to see whether it’s a one-off or a trend.

      1. Think you should look back at the 2016 England tour of India. It had a similar pattern. Nothing new.

      2. We know it’s not new. To be honest, this is most people’s idea of a stereotypical Indian pitch. What’s striking is that in the last couple of years they’ve been a lot less batsman friendly.

        Both are good. We like a mix.

  3. Tamil Nadu (Ashwin’s home state) is currently digging a 3500 year old civilisation, that may have been concurrent with the indus Valley civilisation or only slightly later. This may yet define or close the Indian North South divide. In India, history is a casual affair, if only because we have so much of it. ‘Bit of archaeology’ for an outstanding Indian spinner is par for the course (:P).

    1. Your last sentence, Ameya, brings to mind Max Boyce’s monologue, The Outside-Half Factory. If this is lost to most readers of this site, let it go in one ear and out the rugger.

  4. I like to play a bit of golf. Not archaeology, you understand, just golf. Although searching for lost items does feature heavily in both.

    I think you have to distinguish between people who play golf and Golfers. It’s a bit like the difference between people who go to church and Christians. If someone tells you they go to church, you say, “Oh, that’s great,” but if someone tells you they are a Christian, it seems to imply a whole extra level of importance / avoidance.

    The people you need to avoid are Golfers, not people who play golf. Golfers – people who attend social functions at the Golf Club and who aspire to become Captain. People who understand implicitly why it needs to be ILLEGAL to play while not wearing a collar. People who say they considered not voting Tory once when the local MP burned down the primary school, but then decided to vote for him anyway.

    I am not these people. I just wanted to make that clear.

    1. A man who plays a bit of golf in his forties becomes a golfer in his sixties (or worse, fifties). I’m sorry Bert, but that’s a slippery slope you’re negotiating there.

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