Gentleman and cricket


Any gentleman following the cricket currently is no doubt aware that there are no gentlemen left in the sport. The days of cricket being the “gentleman’s game” are so far gone that they are probably dining with fellow gentleman Miles Davis in heaven right now. (Because abstract objects such as days can be gentleman and have dinner with a person for the purpose of the point I’m trying to make here.)

"Skill", "technique" and "footwork" were optional for the cricketing gentleman during the ‘gentleman’s era'.

Back in pre-1940s cricket, games were often decided not on who has scored more runs during the test match, but which team has the greater volume of beard and who has been more gentlemanly during the course of the contest.

The calibre of the team’s dress was also paramount to the team’s chance of winning. This team was undefeated for a lengthy run.

The state of cricket today reflects very poorly upon the sport. It seems that criteria for selection today includes tattoos covering one’s entire arm rather than the magnitude of one’s moustache.

The South African team of the 1890s was selected purely on the volume of their moustache. Many of these players had never picked up a cricket bat in their life when they were selected. The moustache-less man in the front row was a case of mistaken identity.

The gentleman cricketer’s dress sense on the field was also of paramount concern. Back when HL Griffith was displaying his moustache’s virtuosity on the cricket field, cricketers would put some thought into their attire. Not like the sponsor-laden, “easy-breathe” rubbish you see sported by Shane Watson and Michael Clarke today. ‘Breathability’ is not a word in the gentleman’s lexicon. I had to use a thesaurus to find it just for the purposes of this article and I have now forgotten it.

This gentleman knows the value of a good cricket sweater. And this lady knows the value of a good cricketing gentleman.

There, of course, was a transition period between the gentleman’s era and what we see today. During this transition period, we observed semi-gentleman running around in the baggy green. Semi-gentleman are gentleman who have many gentleman qualities, but obviously have not read enough of The Gentleman Blog.

Allan Border is the perfect example of the semi-gentleman. He has an almost-gentlemanly moustache and a sponsor-free sweater. He, though, did occasionally prefer a VB over a refreshing, warm scotch after a day’s play.

So when you watch the used-to-be-gentleman’s-game of cricket, spare a thought for the death of what the sport used to stand for – gentleman being gentleman in the company of other gentleman, displaying their facial hair and stylish sweaters and nothing more (except for occasionally bowling a ball – but this was rare).

Until next time,

HL Griffith