Some sports more than others lend themselves to wonderful writing. One of those is cricket and some of the writing on the Guardian is an absolute delight. This little piece from Barney Ronay on the Mystery Spin Bowler had me chuckling away to myself.
So it was once with spin bowling, where age conferred legitimacy. But not so in the new era. Narine, for example, has come from nowhere: even now he has just 37 wickets in all cricket, his reputation based around glimpses in Twenty20 of the homemade “knuckleball”, which sometimes nips his flighty off-breaks the other way. The new-age mystery man comes to us like this: ready-made, off the shelf, hungry for a punkish kind of DIY success. There is an arc to his progress: claim a sensational televised three for 12; invent a delivery called the Zangler, the Knucklechuck or the Massive Pie; become the officially recognised next big thing; play a season for the Bangalore Cheesesteaks; get the yips; get no-balled for chucking; have a tantrum while playing for Devon; disappear completely. In favourable conditions there is no reason why all this should take much more than six months.
“The Massive Pie” is going to have me chuckling for days.