When Sport Gets Dumped On
Having been subjected to attack from what one might suggest was friendly fire, it has been a torrid old week for some of our more venerable sporting institutions. First Chris Gayle smacks test cricket for six over its head by confessing that he wouldn’t be so sad if it died out. And then Rory McIlroy delivered a fearful whack to the Ryder Cup, arguing that it’s just an exhibition and ‘not that important to me’. I shouldn’t be surprised to read in my paper tomorrow that Sir Steve Redgrave has claimed that Olympic gold medals are ‘not all that’ or Sir Alex has revealed his true feelings by taking a crap in the European Cup.
McIlroy’s outburst can probably be attributed to adolescent recalcitrance. He is only twelve after all. His captain and playing partner today Colin Montgomerie probably took this into consideration when he politely asked the press not to make a war between him and the younger man (although in truth it’s something we’d probably all like to see: the young scrapper against the sheer bulk of the Scot).
Gayle claims he was misrepresented. You can judge for yourself by listening to the audioclip here. The strange thing about this interview is that it sounds as if Gayle and the female journalist are on a date. Gayle comes across slightly coy and flirty and definitely a bit pissed. It would certainly explain why his defensive technique deserted him on this occasion.
Test cricket had an immediate opportunity to stand up for itself and say ‘now listen here my good man’ at Chester-le-Street today on the first day of the Second Test. Unfortunately, on a play-doh pitch in front of a soupcon of spectators, it was more: ‘actually Chris maybe you’ve got a point.’
In fact, perversely, the most interesting section of play was when Gayle brought himself onto bowl early against Andrew Strauss, the self-appointed champion of the test game. It was like he was countering his own argument.
The debate continues tomorrow.