Originally published on Southern Discomfort Zine (12/4/2016)
Gotta admit it, I dislike T20. In fact I kinda hate it.
Hate’s a strong word. But it holds a certain ambivalence,
it acknowledges the infectious,
it forms the conditions for particular articulation of the present-indefinite
– through negation
Of course some gripes with T20 and its globalising corporate agenda has been attended to on this zine before, quote:
“But since the decline of West Indies cricket, we have also witnessed fundamental changes in the ethos of cricket – from a game of artistry and skill to one where the imperatives of commercial entertainment have become paramount. This has undoubtedly reached it nadir in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The pantomime that is the IPL represents what is totally wrong with the game now. But like in James’ time cricket tells us a lot about our contemporary postcolonial predicament.”
-Ash Sharma, “Beyond A Boundary”, https://southerndiscomfortzine.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/beyond-a-boundary/
And so there I was,
head heavy with ache,
ached out of utterance,
And man did the split come.
It was the final,
England seem like they’w’re gonna sneak it,
Windies blown it, old man chuntering,
‘shit shit, england are shit, if they win they’re never gonna stop and its gonna make this shit country think its good’, to paraphrase.
Chris Jordan penultimate over,
tight, collected at
Commentator notes he played for Barbados once,
confused half-utterances ensues,
confused commonwealth creolite to the death –
cricketing jurisdictions supple/vital.
Routes/roots, standing scrutiny.
it aint gonna be Root that’s for sure.
Up steps Stokes.
19 needed, 3 sixes plus a run would do it.
Impossible – maybe, improbable – certainly.
You hate you give a fuck about this circus but, hey, that’s hate.
You’re certainly not merely interested at least.
Stokes running in,
bowls down leg,
boom Brathwaite slinks it for 6.
The dream’s alive.
Stokes in again,
down the middle,
Brathwaite’s bat seamlessly swung like a golf club,
its a huge one down the ground.
Your headache’s blissfully being usurped in illogical awe.
We were told he was a hitter but, man, this is something special.
Third ball in, Stokes looking a little forlorn.
More on the offside –
boom, its an uncanny slice,
carried over the boundary,
another six, ridiculous scenes.
Stokes about to cry,
pumped Windies team ready to burst up on the field in victory.
Just need a run now.
But well this circus wouldn’t complete without another six,
yes this one huge again,
with ball left hanging over the stands,
camera cuts to Windies team storming in glory,
some kind of Light Brigade, though not nearly as sycophantic.
shirts are off muscles rippling,
adrenaline testosterone kicking off,
the spectres of the ‘70s –
too black too strong –
images flashing in the circus.
Fragments of something better.
Cos we know its shit but its always good to see Windies doing well,
There’s something about the Windies and their obstinance that always stinks of tragedy,
the wafts of failure in mongrelity.
And it was a tale of two:
Stokes on the kneeling on the floor distraught,
Marlon Samuels with his knock of 79 ‘doggedly’ defiant.
And all the myths came atumble.
Nasser at the usually staid ‘post-match presentation’,
corporate logos staged on height-of-design multi-coloured artifice,
suited brown-faced mimic-men to boot.
Medals run through,
a cheap nod to glocal boy Kohli.
Same old same old right? –
but the intoxicating adrenaline aint quite left yet.
Man of the Match interview, up step Samuels.
Its hard-hitting stuff, no punches pulled,
and that snipe at Shane Warne,
the ever-present Aussie and his lurid voice,
and the mythic violence way-back-when thumped into
present-euphoria. Marlon knows how to play this game
while we scroll through the sports gossip. Nasser blurring, ecstatic
laughter simmering, between reason and madness,
Windies at the T20.
Up steps Darren Sammy,
OK here’s the highwayman,
mediator, formalist, talented for keeping a level-head.
But everything’s relative init.
Its a little bit more subtle now, the excoriating put-downs to cricketing boards/structures, and apocalyptic cries of
‘we don’t know if we’re ever gonna play together again’
‘we may never get a kit again’
‘CARICOM are fully supporting us, not sure about anybody else…’
references to the Almighty, presumably Grenada PM Mitchell himself!
Absurd, ridiculous, but he dared to utter in the chaos of it all,
Indian capital and Windian ‘mismanagement’,
globalised vernaculars as nineteenth century accents clash in all their glorious play.
Chris Gayle laughing away.
Nasser taken on some colour.
And it wouldn’t be over without ‘DJ’ Bravo’s ridiculous dance off his record ‘Champion’,
arms thrust forward somewhere between car-handling and flight-control,
the Windian woman’s team joining in the frivolity.
Something about the grotesque amidst the spectacularly staid affair that is the T20 carnival,
blurry and basic and
Darren Sammy standing firm,
doing what needed to be done,
at the [diasporic] cut,
against expectations against the game.
And the inquisition ensued,
‘they had a point to prove’ the acceptable narrative,
and they used that passion.
But passion’s a tricky customer and I wouldn’t bet on it
and I certainly wouldn’t try to spend it.
Stored and spent – seminal actions.
Struggling scores ex-propiated