Monday, 6 July 2009

Phil Space: The Ploughman's Spirit

One Ashes 'battle' has already begun: the one in the newspapers. And what a battle it will be, as the chief sportswriters take their annual month off from football and turn their gimlet eye and deathless prose towards the cricket.

First to the plate is the Observer's Paul Hayward, on Andrew Flintoff: 

'To them [Australia] Pietersen is an extravagant run-maker they need to get out pronto. A problem, yes, but not a whole rash of complex challenges, as Flintoff is. They know Pietersen is semi-detached in this England camp. He could never embody English cricket's ploughman spirit, nor hold the side together in adversity, except through weight of runs. Flintoff can do both. He is a country charging into bowl, a culture brandishing a bat. To attack him is to poke the beehive of his nature, which survives the ravages of injuries and calls to the night porter to keep on coming with the trays of drinks'.

A strong start from Hayward, you'll have to agree, but the summer is young. Let the space filling begin.

NB: The Best of the Sportswriters will be recorded here, with the winner receiving the entirely unofficial and arbitrary Old Batsman Phil Space Ashes Urn Award. Lets hope the series gets the prose it deserves...


Dave said...

If you send the winning entry into the Eye's Pseuds Corner, you might get a tenner to put towards a nice trophy for the lucky winner.

Ceci said...

"...poke the beehive of his nature..." is particularly luminously purple and deserves some form of accolade - a good slapping springs to mind.

Brit said...

He is a country charging into bowl, a culture brandishing a bat.

And he is also, let us not forget: a nation backing up the wicketkeeper; a heritage standing in the slip cordon with his hands in his pockets; a populace shouting 'bowling Swanny' after a dot ball; an ancestry reading The Sun on the balcony while the openers get off to a steady start; and a civilisation explaining to Michael Atherton that "it's disappointing, to be honest, but the lads have given everything today and we know we can do better than that."