Here’s wishing you a very happy birthday, Test Cricket. We wonder if you realize what a gift you gave to the world all those many years ago when you pitched England against Australia at the MCG in 1877. Speaking of gifts, we thought your 140th birthday would be a great occasion to list down the very best of the many that have made you Big Ticket Next.
- You, dear Test Cricket, gave us the Ashes. Our lives would be a little emptier, and a more than a little shorn of meaning if we didn’t have two great cricketing nations glaring at each other over a tiny urn that is believed to contain the ashes of a burnt cricket ball!
- You taught us that no matter what else is happening in life, there is always time for a cup of tea. Teams could be poised tantalizingly at the edge of a last day victory, or hanging on for dear life in the form of numbers 10 and 11 defending their respective wickets; but if it is time for tea, then everyone simply packs up all the tension and gamely troops back into the pavilion for a cuppa. It’s a life lesson, you know. And we thank you for it.
- You gave us the unforgettable, epic, immortal sight of Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner steaming in, with more than half the legendary West Indian team standing in the slips. The remaining guy was at gully. The batsmen from opposing teams were terrified. Clive Lloyd’s team of the 1970s and 1980s is one of your greatest gifts to us. When the world becomes a little too much, you’ve made it possible for us to remember these gentle giants and break into wide smiles. So, again, thank you.
- You’ve taught us courage. In the bandaged jaw of Anil Kumble as he bowled in the Antigua Test in 2002. In VVS Laxman’s heroics as he single-handedly dominated the Aussies. In a 16 year old Sachin Tendulkar facing the likes of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir in Pakistan, on debut.
- You’ve successfully debunked the myth that we have increasingly lower attention spans. We love seeing the packed stadiums. Like the India V England Test at Mumbai, in December 2016. We loved ticketing that match. The crowds made us so happy! You’ve given us many gifts, Test Cricket. Consider those packed stadiums our gift to you!
- You make white super sexy. In the day and age of fluorescent pink tees and neon green laces, there is nothing quite as droolworthy as the men (and women) in pristine white. Our pick of the Test players who rock the white look – Alistair Cook, Virat Kohli, David Gower, Imran Khan, James Anderson, Sir Gary Sobers.
- You remain completely incomprehensible to anyone outside the cricketing world. They just don’t get it. 22 players. 5 days. Endless waiting games. Follow ons. Tea breaks. There are even those who get golf. But you? You are the ultimate enigma for those who know you not. And we love you all the more for it.
- Floppy hats. Green berets. Neck scarves. Moustaches. Is there anything that you cannot make good looking?
- You’ve given us 140 years of strategy, patience, brilliance, perseverance, integrity, competition, ruthlessness, team spirit, sportsmanship. We couldn’t ask for more.
- You are, dear Test Cricket, the gentleman’s game. In a world gone a little pedestrian, we need you more than ever before.
Happy birthday, once more. May you have many more!