Saturday, March 24, 2007

Shashi Tharoor on Cricket and America

An excellent editorial in the New York Times --

Our Cricket Problem

LAST week, the greatest sporting event of the year in terms of audience began in Jamaica, when the West Indies beat Pakistan in the inaugural match of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. A six-week extravaganza follows -- 51 matches that are being monitored with nail-biting excitement around the world. The final, on Saturday, April 28, will take place in Barbados, but friends of mine in New York are already planning a World Cup party at the home of an expatriate with a satellite dish. The party will be attended by a raucous group of Indians and Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Brits, Australians and Zimbabweans. But of course there will be no Americans.

No, it's not a case of ethnic discrimination. Call it willful ignorance. Americans have about as much use for cricket as Lapps have for beachwear. The fact that elsewhere in the civilized world grown men dress up like poor relations of Gatsby and venture hopefully into the drizzle clutching their bats invariably mystifies my American friends. And the notion that anyone would watch a game that, in its highest form, could take five days and still end in a draw provokes widespread disbelief among results-oriented Americans.

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