This cricket busi­ness

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Tony Deyal was last seen say­ing that the way the team is play­ing now the best com­par­i­son for West Indies cricket is with a road ve­hi­cle de­signed to carry many pas­sen­gers. In other words, the busi­ness is about to “bus”. Tony Deyal

IONCE com­pared Pavarotti with the Prince of Port-of-Spain, mul­ti­ple bat­ting record holder, Brian Lara. It is true that in mu­sic, the con­duc­tor uses a ba­ton, and the crick­eter a bat. In opera, while the per­son in charge of the mu­sic, the con­duc­tor, yells at the play­ers, in cricket, the play­ers yell at the per­son in charge, the um­pire. There are up­roars in cricket while there are only op­eras in mu­sic.

When you add up all the costs, cricket is the most ex­pen­sive game for Caribbean chil­dren, but opera is worse. It is “like a hus­band with a for­eign ti­tle: ex­pen­sive to sup­port, hard to un­der­stand and, there­fore, a supreme so­cial chal­lenge”.

In mu­sic and cricket, ‘form’ is ex­tremely im­por­tant. In mu­sic, it is the plan of or­gan­i­sa­tion that a com­poser fol­lows in as­sem­bling his mu­si­cal ma­te­ri­als. In cricket, it is every­thing for the player, whether bats­man or bowler. If you are out of form in cricket, like most of the West Indies team, you can only pray for some­one else to have worse form than you. If you say that aloud, it is not con­sid­ered good form and hence not cricket.

It is the same with ‘pitch’. In mu­sic, this is the height or depth of a sound. In cricket, it is cen­tre stage, the point where the cru­cial ac­tion takes place. Nowa­days, losers in cricket gen­er­ally blame the pitch. A pitch that is ‘flat’ is not de­sir­able in cricket. How­ever, in mu­sic, a flat is a note played be­low the nat­u­ral note. Some notes are also ‘dou­ble flat’ like the pitches in Guyana, St Kitts and Trinidad. Th­ese cre­ate con­sid­er­able dis­cord with the play­ers. Many have voiced their con­cerns, de­mand­ing that our grounds­men change the tenor of their ways.

William Tem­ple, a for­mer Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, once de­scribed cricket as “or­gan­ised loaf­ing”. Harold Pin­ter, the play­wright, de­scribed it as be­ing bet­ter than sex.

Robin Wil­liams once said that cricket is base­ball on val­ium, which is what you need when you watch a West Indies game and see them los­ing by wide mar­gins th­ese days.

Mu­sic is not a bad com­par­i­son if you sub­sti­tute the bat for the ba­ton and re­main com­posed. There is form, pitch, score and even runs, al­though the lat­ter is some­thing that play­ers get while in In­dia and Pak­istan be­cause of the curry. Beat is some­thing that cricket and mu­sic also have in com­mon and, as one col­league said, un­less we im­prove dra­mat­i­cally, the beat will go on.

There is a kind of com­par­i­son with ar­chi­tec­ture. They have ‘form’ in com­mon and now with the World Cup com­ing up in Eng­land next year with all th­ese open­ing cer­e­monies, a lot of ‘func­tion’ to at­tend. Shape, as well, since bats­men ‘shape up’. Build­ings need an earth­quake to fall down, but not the West Indies. As the In­dian tour has made very clear, we are back to col­lapse-o cricket.

How­ever, I be­lieve cricket is more like busi­ness than any­thing else. You start with turf. It is the stuff that you play on in cricket. In busi­ness, peo­ple hang on to their turf. There are turf wars in most or­gan­i­sa­tions. In cricket, when the best ad­vice is to bat in your crease, in busi­ness, it is stay within your turf and guard it with your life.


In cricket, you get a freak dis­missal and it is tough luck; in busi­ness, you get booted out of your com­fort zone and it is turf luck. Then there is the play­ing field. In cricket and in busi­ness, peo­ple say they want a level play­ing field and then do their best to en­sure that it is not level. Many busi­ness peo­ple are not on the level to start with. All the turf wars in world trade are about en­sur­ing a level play­ing field. In cricket, peo­ple pre­fer an um­pire who is on the level and play­ers who are level-headed.

There is also the mat­ter of bound­aries. In cricket and in busi­ness, there are al­ways bound­aries. While in cricket, you get the big­gest profit by go­ing over the bound­ary, in busi­ness, you have to be care­ful, since if you go be­yond your bound­aries, you might even­tu­ally suf­fer losses. Some busi­ness peo­ple take the risk and do well – ex­pand­ing be­yond na­tional bound­aries and go­ing global.

Crick­eters and busi­ness peo­ple are al­ways look­ing for a big score. Some busi­ness peo­ple who try the hard way and get stumped, then try the easy way and end up hav­ing to be bailed out. Cricket is played on grounds and busi­ness peo­ple are al­ways look­ing for grounds on which to jack up prices or to sue. Cricket has a pitch and ev­ery good busi­ness­man has a sales pitch.

The most im­por­tant sim­i­lar­ity is that there is one in­dis­pens­able thing in cricket and busi­ness. To suc­ceed, or merely just to take part, you must have balls.

‘Robin Wil­liams once said that cricket is base­ball on val­ium, which is what you need when you watch a West Indies game and see them los­ing by wide mar­gins th­ese

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