Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 14th 2015 Contents A45
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
T&T women s bat-
ter FELECIA WATERS
topscored with 40 in
the team s 19-run loss
to Jamaica in the
WICB Women s
Super 50 Regional
"The club have
Borini and me."
JOSE ENRIQUE on his
treatment at Anfield.
(Ext: 2069, 2071,
When you play sport with the
proper intensity it becomes
the entire world.
Nothing else exists. Warfare, ter-
rorism and the ecological holocaust
vanish. Personal problems are washed
away. The only thing in the entire
universe is the quest for victory. It
follows that joy in victory is of a pecu-
liarly all-consuming kind. It takes you
over and it s as if every single problem
in life had been solved forever. And
that transforms a face.
I ve sat in Olympic stadiums and
seen victors alight with transcendental
joy. At a stroke the winning athlete
turns into the handsomest man, the
most beautiful woman who ever drew
That moment of empathy when we
spectators share that joy is one of the
things that keeps bringing us back to
So it was rather wonderful to see
the face of Alastair Cook in victory
at Trent Bridge last week. It was the
face of a man who has seen God, dis-
covered the meaning of life, fallen in
love for the first time, cured smallpox
and succeeded in turning base metal
into gold. We have been more used
to seeing the face wracked with all
the cares of a troubled world.
It wasn t just that he led England
to that traumatic 5-0 defeat in Aus-
tralia, nor was it just that his own
form fell away. And it wasn t just that
he was sacked as one-day captain and
England did appallingly anyway. It
was also the absurd moral burden he
has been carrying since the sacking
of Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen was sacked after the Ashes
defeat despite being England s top
scorer, sacked on moral grounds for
his failure to live up to certain ideals
of how a team man should behave.
What Cook and the England man-
agement failed to realise was that if
you create a bad guy, the narrative
has an instant need for a good guy.
Cook was the only choice. So he
became the moral centre of the post-
KP England. He was required to make
runs and supply victories and inspire
cricket of a new and inspiring kind.
For a year and more this seemed
beyond him. Now---impossibly---it has
happened. And against Australia. No
wonder he is smiling the smile of all
The first step to redemption came
from the loss of the one-day captaincy.
Cook was free to play like a traditional
Test match opener again: to favour
the leave shot, to wait for the bad ball,
to bat in the certainty that in some
circumstances time is as important
as runs are.
His 43 in England s only innings at
Trent Bridge was a classic of the kind,
making possible the heavier scoring
from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.
The second and most important
step was a collaborative effort involv-
ing Brendon McCullum and Ben
When New Zealand arrived in Eng-
land earlier this summer all the talk
was of their thrilling performance at
the World Cup under McCullum s
captaincy---when in doubt, attack;
when not in doubt, attack.
It put England s fuddy-duddy one-
day cricket into perspective and
showed the way forward. And when
New Zealand played two Tests in Eng-
land in the same fashion it was inspi-
rational. And apparently infectious.
When New Zealand reduced Eng-
land to 30 for 4 at Lord s it looked as
if they were still locked into the old
cycle of defeat and despair. But every-
thing changed in the next hour and
a half, not just in the match but in
the history of the England team.
Stokes played an innings that McCul-
lum would have rejoiced in had he
not been playing on the other side,
and Root played the secondary role
At a stroke England had gone from
fuddy-duddies to a vibrant young
team. "I don t think we set out to be
an ultra-attacking team," said Eng-
land s assistant coach Paul Farbrace,
then in charge. "I think we stumbled
It was a session of play that
empowered all the young players in
the team. It was a bonfire of the past,
an embracing of new possibilities. It
was also a spectacular demonstration
of the fact that England s future was
not in the hands of a 34-year-old
cricketer with dodgy knees.
England have many reasons to be
grateful to Pietersen but here at last
There was one further step required
to complete the redemption of Cook,
and that was a sudden glorious ten-
dency to provide wickets that offered
a balanced competition between bat
and ball. Batsmen have grown accus-
tomed to whacking through the line
with half-ton cleavers and thinking
they knew about batsmanship. Here
was a real examination and Australia
were found wanting.
This current England team is a
phoenix: ancient but remade, young
again for the millionth time and
embracing all kinds of notions about
cricket that would have been impos-
sible 12 months ago. It s a glorious
and inspiring time to watch England
play cricket with a red ball.
The trick here---especially for the
English---is to savour the great poten-
tial of this young and optimistic team
while remaining in the present tense.
Every time you get ahead of yourself
in sport, or for that matter in life, you
are betraying yourself.
Instead it s good to rejoice in the
present and the recent past and revel
in the self-reinvention of the England
team and its captain, all the more
meaningful because it came about by
accident. Cook is the man who stum-
bled across his own redemption.
PRAGUE---Two clubs in the top
Czech division have been fined by
the country's football federation for
anti-Islam messages held up by
The federation's disciplinary
committee said in a statement
yesterday it fined champion Viktoria
Plzen and Jablonec 100,000 koruna
In a match against Bohemians
Prague 1905, Jablonec fans unveiled
a huge poster with a female figure
called "Europe" kicking a pig wearing
Police also have been investigating
The fans said they were inspired
by the French satirical newspaper
Charlie Hebdo, while the club
distanced itself from the supporters.
Plzen fans displayed a similar anti-
Islam poster in a match against
Alastair Cook...face of a
man who has seen God
Two clubs in Czech league fined for anti-Islam posters
Links Archive August 13th 2015 August 15th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page