When answering the question of why so many dramatic writers are fans of Test cricket all sorts of theories come up. Five days allows the stakes to ratchet ever higher. Narratives can ebb and flow like a Homeric epic. There’s even a theory that the supposed longeurs of Test cricket are the birthplace of the Pinter pause.
I think it’s simpler than that. A sport that lasts five days – what better vehicle for procrastination? You can tell yourself all of the above is true (and all of the above is true) while getting absolutely nothing done whatsoever. It’s as tactical as chess - played out in a series of explosive athletic bursts! It’s a team game – played in a series of individual battles! The richness, the complexity, how Shakespearean! Oh look, it’s Thursday. Oh well, might as well tune in for the final day, then I’ll have three days to catch up on work before the next Test.
When Pinter and Beckett were writing a lot less cricket was played. Now games of cricket come not as single spies but in batallions. It would be so much more convenient if they could start at 5am, and clock up a couple of hours’ play before the kids get up.
This Arts Council application will have to wait until tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. The script will still be there after a pause. How did I get to 87 without meeting a single deadline, sans eyes, sans teeth, sans taste, sans everything?
Running with an idea
Running commentary on: