Ashes 2017/18: The Grand Spectacle
The sun has set and the night has taken effect. A Thousand cheer you while close to ten thousand curse you.
At a time when most of the 35-year-olds look forward to getting back home after a day’s work, here is a 35-year-old man, probably running the last mile, striving every bone and nerve in his body to revive a slumbering event which is heading towards a not so happy climax for himself and for his country in front of a packed house.
The leather object in his hand acts as a magic wand to leave the opponent bamboozled in one way or the other. The man cares for nothing, as he strides forever to unveil his 66th magic, as if it is his birthright to make the opponent dance to his tunes. The scene happens at Adelaide Oval and the protagonist is the greatest wicket-taker in English cricket history, Jimmy Anderson. At a time when young bowlers cramp at the end of 5th /6th over in a spell, here he is, running in for the 66th time to make thousands in his country to hold on to their last straw of hope, as if their lives rest on it.
The Barmy Army echoes in the background, “Oh... Jimmy, Jimmy Anderson!”
The opponent has dismissed his team for a cheap score and the world believes that his captain has made a terrible mistake. Panic sets in his captain through the events that unfold in front of him and he continues to make more mistakes, which makes his captaincy decisions just as convoluted as his batting stance would look. His teammates forget that they were the ones who were aiming for the opponent's head a fortnight ago and now they are at the receiving end.
Suddenly his captain throws the ball at him asking him to make something happen. He has barely played five-day games since the start of the year; but here he is, after bowling the most number of overs in a year in his lifetime, leave alone from his team - after missing five years of top-flight game because he bowls fast - after going through the surgeon’s table at the age of 18, running in at the end of a long day when his countrymen heads start to drop down.
This was the game which was in his team’s clasp when they slept the previous day but they begin to realize that their grip is loosening in the night’s dew, in front of their home fans and they do not want to end up at the wrong end of the result.
The youngster charges and delivers a thunderbolt from the sky which scythes through the so-called protective equipment and the moment he sees the flashlights at the end of the tunnel, every nerve in his body pops out.
This is the moment!
This is the moment for which every sportsman live for, where one puts his past behind him and be a part of the grand spectacle. The very moment where one can write their name in the history. The protagonist in this scene is a 24-year-old Australian fast bowler – Pat Cummins.
The stage is the same.
The audience and the protagonists are different.
The binding theme for the entire event is their love for the game. The game transforms itself into many forms every day. It develops into a business through its latest revelations.
But when the protagonists perform such acts, there is no need for any new idea to innovate and sell it. The grand spectacle it is, it knows to take care of itself. Only that the protagonists and the audience must stay true to it and experience the unbridled joy it can bring to everyone involved.
To all those who crib that the game is on the downswing; to all those who feel that the original charm is lost; to all those who loath that it is boring; to all those who want only the fast-paced action entertainer that is 20-20 cricket;
Take a Breather; Grab your Seat. Welcome to Test Cricket!