When all is said and done with this world, and there is just Heaven and Hades, cricket will still be played.
On the hallowed turf of the Heavenly oval, the eternal Test will be the scene of the everlasting battle between good and the dark side…
God, as evidenced with the majestic beauty of creation, has an unyielding interest in aesthetics. Having had the cricket discussion with Him on occasions, mostly when I was praying for an unlikely win…or rain…or name deleted to finally use those (allegedly) God-given gifts…I was blessed with some insights regarding His take on the game.
On one occasion I was in deep spiritual gratitude for having been blessed to witness a display of rampant barbarian brutality as Viv Richards (before he was a Sir) laid waste to some poor hapless team and their little red leather sphere.
“Ha” boomed the Father, “ that’s nothing. You forget I was front row when Sampson took out a thousand with the jawbone of an ass. This guy creating havoc with his willow doesn’t impress me.”
As I pondered these words and considered the stark truth of the message, I heard, very softly, the whispered final statement. Spoken in gentle yearning…“Ahhh but those who caress the ball… like Daniel whose gentle strokes silenced the lions… whose movement is like poetry in motion… this is an art I could delight in for aeons…”
And then I knew, Gods was a fan of aesthetics – the artistic and elegant cricketer. The one whose actions on the field enhanced the visual enjoyment of the game, creating a permanent imprint on the spectator, images that would forever haunt their dreams with graceful beauty.
So, as one who desires to – in time – participate in Heavenly fruits, I found myself mulling over the team that would be on the Heavenly field. The group selected by God to please Himself and the Angels with their elegant grace on the grassed battlefield; that I would see when I had purchased tickets on the Heavenly Hill. Somewhat spurred onto this task by Matt H of Roar fame, I set out – with faith in Roar assistance, to try and ascertain who would be in the Elegant Eleven.
For the openers it was difficult, it is extremely hard to display elegance and grace against the steam of a paceman. So, failing to find someone who outclassed the middle order and lacking alternatives, I assumed God might push some #3/4 batters into the top spot and yet I hoped colleagues in the Roar fraternity might provide me with suggestions of more worthy candidates if they existed.
It really wouldn’t matter anyhow. If one of the makeshift openers had their stumps skittled God would merely wander out to the middle of the pitch, re-set the stumps and in true W. G. Grace style inform the opening bowler of The Hades First XI that “He had come here to watch His players bat, not the Hades First XI bowl.”
To which the Hades First XI opening bowler (likely Fred Spofforth – on loan from Heaven mind you, I wouldn’t suggest for a second that Fred was in ‘the other place’ by design – because, seriously, with his nickname the Demon Spofforth, who else should open the bowling for the Hades First XI?) could rant and rave without effect. Aint no DRS in the afterlife matey…
To explain my reference to the Hades first XI, unfortunately, the Hades Cricket Club has many members and many grades. Please ensure that you are not in consideration for one of these, I hear the competition for spots is rather…hot.
So I think God will be opening with David Gower and Lawrence Rowe, a left/right combination of such grace to set the spectating hoards salivating. Following this with Greg Chappell (relieved of all selection and captaincy duties he could flourish) then Mark Waugh and Zaheer Abbas in the 4/5 slots.
Roar readers who have seen my ramblings will no doubt already know of my penchant for having an all-rounder, which is born from Divine influence, thus I expect that Imran Khan, a man of a myriad of beauty (motion and model looks), would take the #6 and all-rounder role.
I did wonder if Kumar Sangakkara might get the keeper gig, but I think it would be hard for AB De Villiers to miss out. Following here and in the #8 batting spot, a man who personified class and elegance on the sporting field and television sets of the world (and who is already on the practice pitches above) Richie Benaud who also takes the leg spinner’s (and captain) role on the squad. Batting #9 and one of the few cricketers with a 3000 run/300 wicket double – off spinner Daniel Vettori.
At #10 I hit a wall. I really don’t have an inkling of who could fill this spot. Richard Hadlee, Brett Lee, Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose, John Snow – all superb actions, though with bias I would hope it might be Dennis Lillee.
At #11, I have no doubt that Michael Holding would be gliding over the run-up.
Could I have missed someone? Some graceful and smooth operator that I have overlooked in my list of possibilities? In case I need tickets soon, any suggestions?