The man had something to say about almost everything. That too voluminously. He was a polymath with profound influence on the Church, culture and other philosophers.
What would Aristotle have said about cricket?
He thought machine-like in a syllogistic manner. Godfather to modern day detectives, if he approached the game in a logical way, he might have produced wonders.
Conjure no more.
Borrowing a template of all the subjects on which he composed treatises, allow me to aristotalize the game through the lens of the deceased mensch.
…as a youth, Glenn Turner was following the insurance business, but he had a drive and an ambition that people would warn him as an improbable dream and he hardly warranted a place in cricket annals.
But he left his job and for thirteen months he worked at night in a bakery saving almost every penny of £22 a week he earned from this work towards the sole aim of going to England. He would make his first-class debut for Otago aged 17 and New Zealand press hailed him as anything but prodigy criticising for slow scoring and his approach to cricket.
Glenn Maitland Turner was born in Dunedin in May 1947. Between April and May in 1973, he played eleven matches for the touring side of New Zealand at England and he scored 1018 runs, a feat which had not been accomplished for thirty-five years.
Do note it has been achieved only seven times between 1895 and 1938 with noted absentees as: Hobbs, Woolley, Sutcliffe, Sandham, Compton, Hutton and Cowdrey.
On the Gait of Animals
Rabbit, muntjac fawn, geese, swarm of bees, snake, monkey, pig, elephants and even….camels interrupted the game. At Launceston Cricket Club, a caravan of camels took the Cornish spectators by surprise.
They actually escaped from a nearby circus!
On Generation and Corruption
Hansie Cronje, Saleem Malik, Mohammad Azharuddin are to name a few. Lou Vincent and Danish Kaneria also serving life bans among 19 others in International level and 11 in first-class cricket.
On the Heavens
TEN Cricket is a 24-hour sports channel dedicated to cricket owned by Zee Network India. The channel was launched in 2010 and has over 55 million viewers from the Indian Subcontinent to Middle East. It is not available in Pakistan legally. Their network transmits three localized beams via the Intelsat 10 Satellite targeting the different countries.
Cricket can be subjective game at times where many decisions can go either way opening hair-splitting analysis. However whosoever reads MCC’s Laws of Cricket will see that over and over it is reiterated that umpire’s decision is final.
On Longevity and Shortness of Life
At less than 23 years of age, Manjarul Islam Rana unfortunately is the shortest lived cricket player. He died in a car accident. At 103y 27d years the longest lived player is Norman Gordon. The oldest living player is Lindsay Tuckett at an evergreen age of a shade above 95 years.
On Memory and Reminiscence
Glenn McGrath has a pretty good – infact near photographic – recall of every wickets that he took.
Sachin Tendulkar has a lucky pad given to him by his brother. He wears it on his left leg for a while before every match. Sourav Ganguly keeps a photo of his guru in his pocket when he goes out to play, while Dale Steyn steps into the playing field with his left foot first and his eyes to the sky. Lasith Malinga likes to kiss his ball every time before he bowls.
Cricket and weather….ah. Weather is an integral part of the system and may be in future a technology will progress so as to predict the weather so much in detail months before that no matches will be abandoned.
What is ethical? What is sportsman like? Should umpires don the garb of referees from soccer and issue red or yellow cards? Should sledging be discontinued? Such questions will keep the late philosopher from Stagira awake at night.
Magnus effect of the ball during bowling comes to mind as well as the fact that that biomechanics dictate that the delivery is more akin to javelin throwing than baseball pitching.
Here is a snippet from Francis Thompson’s At Lord’s :
The champion of the centuries, he cometh up against thee,
With his brethren, every one a famous foe!
The long-whiskered Doctor, that laugheth the rules to scorn,
While the bowler, pitched against him, bans the day he was born;
And G.F. with his science makes the fairest length forlorn;
They are come from the West to work thee woe!
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though my own red roses there may blow;
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.
For the field is full of shades as I near a shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run stealers flicker to and fro,To and fro:
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago !
Other than the usual suspects of Lords and Viceroys we have the great example of Imran Khan.
On Posterior Analytics
Post match analysis and presentation ceremony.
On Prior Analytics
Prediction. Now cricket has always been a gambler’s refuge. Well, aided and abetted by sheer statistical databases it has now taken itself to a whole new level.
On Prophesying by Dreams
Not there yet…
Nothing can be more persuasive than appeal of bowlers. Did you, for instance, know that in 2001 umpire Mike Denness banned Sehwag for one Test and then fined other Indian players for intimidation and over appealing in a Test against South Africa?
The match was later stripped of Test status by the ICC.
On Sense and the Sensible
Other than Zimbabwe commentator Dean du Plessis, the visually impaired swimmer James Pittar recent stunned Australian viewers with amazing ball-by-ball coverage.
On Sleep and Sleeplessness
Pretty much the biography of any expat residing in a mismatched time zone.
On Sophistical Refutations
There are lots of cricket cases not the least of which John Derrick’s one. I will tell you another; the one of Bolton v Stone:
In 1947, during a game against the Cheetham 2nd XI at Cheetham Cricket Ground in Manchester, a batsman hit the ball for six which flew out of the ground and hit Miss Stone, the claimant.
Miss Stone was standing outside her house about 100 yards from the batsman. The club played cricket there since 1864 and the road where she was standing was built in 1910.
Apparently, there was evidence that a ball had been hit that far out of the ground on very, very rare occasions. In fact it was hit about handful of times in the last thirty years.
The claimant argued under the principle in Rylands v Fletcher, that the ball was a dangerous item which “escaped” from the cricket ground, and “in nuisance”. The judge, however, would rule that a single act of hitting the ball outside the boundary is too isolated of an incident for a nuisance.
On Youth and Old Age, On Life and Death, On Breathing
I will tackle breathing only. It’s a well known fact in archery, Olympic shooting and the art of sniping that during the interval of breaths’ ups and downs that the kind enters a calm state corresponding to more hitting of targets.
How come the cricketers don’t exploit it?
Finally cricket is a game. No one knows who actually invented this visceral sport from vagueness of the misty and shadowy hills of the Weald. But, it was a children’s game to begin with — strictly for fun– that has evolved into a warzone. May be we should take a step back, pause and really look at ourselves and ask the ultimate philosophical question: Why play cricket?