So who is ‘playing for humanity’ now then?

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The thing about talking grandiose self-serving bollocks is that not only does it expose your fundamental hollowness, but the fundamental meaninglessness of what you said may well also be exposed.

Late last month, as the IPL scrabbled towards its inevitable postponement, the most eye-poppingly you-don’t-even-believe-this-yourself justification for continuing came from the interim chief executive of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Hemang Amin.

Writing to the players about the increasingly terrifying Covid-19 situation in India, he said: “When you all walk out on to the field, you are bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in. If, even for a minute, you can bring a smile on someone’s face, then you have done well. While you are professionals and will play to win, this time you are also playing for something much more important … humanity.”

This begs the question, who is playing for humanity now that the tournament’s been suspended?

Or, alternatively, is it possible to play for humanity at a later date when the public health situation is far less severe?

Those are rhetorical questions. Basically, the situation is this: no-one is currently playing cricket for humanity and humanity is no worse off than it already was.

There is a tendency to imbue fun things with importance. This is okay up to a point, but it is important to acknowledge that there is a very definite ceiling to fun-importance and that ceiling falls quite some way short of, say, the provision of life-saving oxygen.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. As far as I can tell, grandiose self-serving bollocks has always been the IPL’s USP.

    Still, the county championship’s back!

  2. Sam’s got that spot on. The County Championship is playing for humanity now.

    War, pestilence, famine, death…shove those apocalyptic nasties up yer arse while the County Championship is in play.

    In particular and especially (from a Sky Sports perspective) Middlesex and Gloucestershire are playing for all humanity. At Lord’s. Dewey-eyed, I am.

      1. Indeed, Fried, the fifth horseman of the cricket apocalypse is, of course, rain…

        …except that, for for one beleaguered but much-loved county today, the apocalyptic horseman was the lack thereof.

  3. if only someone could ‘play for humanity’ and finish off this IPL by doing a sim series. But alas we all know that his majesty does not do requests.

    1. It’s a nice idea but not sure we’ve got the man hours for such an undertaking.

  4. One morning in May 2008 I was plugged into a computer, listening to TMS. It was the Test in which Daniel Flynn lost a tooth, and New Zealand, the match. I was enjoying England’s chase. Collingwood had just come in to wrap things up.

    Four balls later Daniel Vettori rapped him on the pads and made the most dramatic appeal I ever heard. It is still fixed in my memory. It impacted upon me audibly and morally. In desperate, despairing tones the captain made it clear that what was happening that day was Wrong. In that moment New Zealand were playing for humanity.

    So it felt at the time.

    72.6 Vettori to PD Collingwood, no run

    “that was quick and struck him on the pads, massive appeal for lbw, not too big a stride and they’re all up, Taufel says no, that looked really close. Appeared to be hitting leg. Is that the big moment? Even Hawkeye says it’s out.”

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