The sounds of cricket

Dec 26, 2023
Source: Getty Images.

Yah, our boys won the World Cup. Bleary eyed, many fans stayed awake, gazing into the early hours. We were playing away. There was stunned silence from the Indian spectators, their worst nightmare came along. Many people had kicked back for the final on television, raised a long tall glass of bevvy, to adore our team.

Yah, we won. Does that mean all is well in our world? After football season, we all welcome the sounds of cricket. We can all turn back to our childhood, those long, hot days of summer holidays. We played backyard cricket, with our simple stumps and a tennis ball.

For thirsty moments, we drank from the trickling hose. We all played on, while boys in the burb played their cricket games on the gravel round. There were not many cars then. If a car drove along the road, some boy would yell, “Car!” Their long cricket game was suspended, as the future of Australia, those boomer lads, all waltzed off the road. Cricket soon resumed, until the sizzle of their mother’s sausages and three veggies lured us all in for our meal.

It was the summer sounds of cricket. Before transistor radios, my late dad would venture indoors from his woodshed, gardening and lawn mowing. He would turn on the electric wireless, as it was called. Then he would listen to our ABC, for a cricket update of those test matches which we followed.

Way back when, it was in the grand old days of my grandfather, under harsh Australian summer skies in their old bush setting. My grandfather would send his sensible younger brother to walk to the far-off general store. There my great-uncle Joe was expected to memorise the cricket page of the old Argus newspaper. Who made runs, who got wickets, who top scored, had Australia declared?

Then, unaccompanied by mobile phone or bottle of water, my great uncle would walk all the way home on an afternoon basis. He was expected to recite the entire page of the cricket update. He was regarded as the brain of that large family of siblings. Cricket is part of our heritage. We played continuous cricket at primary school, loads of fun for kids. In secondary school, some of us wanted flowers in our hair. On a shaggy, unmown oval, my gal pals and I celebrated a hot sunny afternoon. We sat there, part of a team, but ignoring being too competitive. We made daisy chain necklaces and crowns, bracelets. You name it, we had flowers in our hair, as we eyed off the tennis ball of cricket sailing over our heads.

That was part of being there, so sixties. Later on, when I was married, Christmas Day meant backyard cricket, with bins for stumps. Impromptu beach cricket matches followed. During my teaching career, I used to offer a game of cricket to my lively grade, if their school work was completed. No fuss.

It was often a lovely day for cricket. My students nominated their kind teacher here to be the umpire. That was one way to stop dumb arguments, over who was bowled, who was caught behind, and who top scored. Many years later, at the turn of the last century, our boys did win the World Cup. They won despite being the underdoggies.

Yah, we were bleary eyed even then, staying awake to follow our Australian boys. Such a thrill. There was to be a public celebration, in our city of Melbourne. The sounds of cricket. A kindly neighbour drove some of us older ladies into the big smoke. It was a beautiful sunny day. We had to park some distance away. Roads were blocked off, a giant crowd mingled, thronged, gathered, and swelled. Traffic was halted.

I guess the world was more naïve then. We all stood shoulder to shoulder and sang. We temporarily loved all cricketers who were Victorian. The office workers stood at their windows, showering ticker tape. Even the police were happy, all was joyful and peaceful. Nothing bad happened, there were speeches, and applause. Melbourne really turned it on. Yah, our boys have won the World Cup. That is our divine right to be world number one. Some part of our world in Oz is doing swell. A game is a game. So yah for the sounds of cricket.

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