Tuesday, 16 June 2009

What is lamb? Are good cricketers stupid?

Simon Wilde's excellent Graeme Swann interview in the Sunday Telegraph reveals the startling fact that it's not just Sefton youths who have trouble identifying meat (see sidebar).

In amongst some choice quotes about the lack of complexity of several team mates, Swann reveals that Rob Key (a man who looks like he should be familiar with food of all kinds) was of the opinion that lamb comes from, er, cows.

Apparently nonplussed by the clue in the title, Key was forced to seek an answer from colt leggie Adil Rashid – a man ten years his junior.

This episode reveals something that hitherto overlooked - the fact that most sports people at the top of their game are as thick as two short planks.

It's interesting to note whether this is cause or effect, nature or nurture but it's surely not controversial to speculate whether there's an inverse ratio between sporting ability and intelligence.

Certainly any club cricketer will attest to the uncomplicated minds of the demon fast bowler or hard-hitting opening batsman. It's generally only the cunning spinner or fidgety keeper who display any signs of a strong mind.

That may be unfair. The Swann interview makes no mention of levels of intellect, but rather reveals an innate inability to function as a real human being.

Swann voices his wonder that several team-mates – Panesar, Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara among them - have not simply walked in front of a car or stuck their fingers in a socket, only just stopping short of suggesting that left to their own devices they may have starved to death, unable to grasp the fundamental concept of replenishment.

Disturbingly, Swann also seems to suggest that Bopara is some sort of Ballardian proto-human, frequently making 'a lot of noise, a lot of noise, and strange noises too ... he shouts and screams.'

Many modern sports stars seem to be rather protected throughout their lives, at first by parents or coaches, then by agents and management - cosseted through the rough and tough bits of life and rarely coming face to face with any kind of recognisable reality.

This may simply be the best way of getting the most out of your talent. it's always the players that suggest they have rather more about them that tend to struggle most. Shah, Hick, Ramprakash, Tufnell are all recent examples of the brighter cricketer blessed with immense talent, but undone by their neuroses.

And most club cricketers will recognise the archetype of the enigmatic talent, destined to never fulfill potential.

Perhaps in sport it pays to be a bit of a dunce. If all you have rattling around inside your relatively empty head is the name of the meat you had for lunch, you can't fail to be focussed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Write something crickety: