Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cricket, part 2: Brian Johnston

Photo from Flickr user E Cashell

[Note: this is the second of a two-part post on cricket authored by my good friend A., currently summering in France. I have come to respect her knowledge of all things British, and this post on cricket is no exception. I suspect she will answer comments on these posts when she returns from her holiday this weekend.]

A discussion of cricket would be incomplete without the immortal words of Brian Johnston, one of the great cricket commentators. They need no further introduction.

"Now Fred Titmus is coming into bowl. He's got two square legs."

Glenn Turner was hurt by a fast ball to the box but eventually picked up his bat and returned to the wicket for the last ball of the over. "Turner looks a bit shaky and unsteady," Johnston announced, "but I think he's going to bat on - one ball left."

In one famous incident during a Test match at the Oval, Jonathan Agnew suggested that Ian Botham was out hit wicket because had failed to "get his leg over." Johnston carried on commentating (and giggling) for 30 seconds before dissolving into helpless laughter. You can hear here.

"There's Neil Harvey standing at leg slip with his legs wide apart, waiting for a tickle."

"The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey" allegedly occurred when Michael Holding of the West Indies was bowling to Peter Willey of England in a Test match at the Oval in 1976, but there is some dispute as to whether it really happened.

"Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself at the Pavilion End."

South African Peter Pollock, who sprained his ankle on his run-up: "He's obviously in great pain. It's especially bad luck as he is here on his honeymoon with his pretty young wife. Still, he'll probably be all right tomorrow if he sticks it up tonight."

"Welcome to Worcester where you have just missed seeing Barry Richards hitting one of the Basil D'Oliveira's balls clean out of the ground."


  1. Classic Johnston!

  2. Holy crap I'm having a "hard" time keeping my mouth shut on this one. All those innuendos associated with cricket.... will wonders never cease.....

  3. Hi Petra. Whatever do you mean? :)

  4. What do you expect with all those bored cricketers and commentators hanging around in a sea of testosterone for days at a time in hot weather. Nothing like that mixed with good food, large egos and some cocktails. I will say that the quality of commentary in cricket is generally very high with a lot of upper class toffs and middle class prats and the odd working class made good making for good chemistry.

  5. Hello Colin. Sorry to hear that the cricket commentary is generally high-class. I thought I had discovered a breath of fresh air in a sea of oppressive tedium. But I love to watch my fellow bored fans whenever I find myself between beers at a baseball game, and I hope you will stop by and look at tomorrow's post in which I will display a few photos of cricket fans doing what they do best - vegetate and annoy other fans. (btw, my cheat-clock at the bottom of my sidebar says it is after midnight in Oz. Are you really allowed to stay up this late? Heh.)

  6. Yes boring old farts like me are usually well asleep by that time.

  7. Not boring Colin. Not to me, anyway. I have been stalking you for some time now, and your life has been anything but boring. Not so old either.

    And I wasn't lying about the other cricket pictures, my friend. I am just a little slow today. They will be up before the sun goes down in your corner of the word. Come to think of it, I had better hurry then, because it is winter down there right now, and the days are short. Brrrrrr!

    I found some pretty good fan pics, by the way, Colin. And, as always, I feel honored by your visit. And I think I shall have to stop dropping entre cards on your blog, because every time I go there (and it is early on in my dropping since you start with an "A") I get bogged down with your new stuff, and I end up only dropping about 3 cards for the whole hour.
    (I don't care - I love your stuff.) Bad hair indeed. :)

  8. Ok so anyway, I am a little slow in following up on comments being as I don't subscribe to them and all, and MAX you may be alot of things but stupid "ain't" one of 'em. You know damn good and well what I mean, ya soap dropping maniac... oh wait. That was .45....

    I'm getting my maniacs confused....

    (not really :-) )

  9. Petra, yes you have the soap people confused. On purpose, I 'm sure.

    Me? I never get my maniacs confused. And you are close to the top of the list.

    A pity you never check your email, though.




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