The emasculation of cricket

In the old days, cricket was hardcore and hairy. We examine how it became its current metrosexual version.

(1939) Denis Compton, England cricketer and Arsenal footballer is then an army gunner. (Getty Images)


In the amateur era, cricket was a pastime, a handy side income and a distraction from the hardship of war and economic depression. In the first five decades of the 1900s, international cricket remained largely suspended while wars raged around the world. Most well-known cricketers supplemented their cricketing incomes with orthodox careers. Cricket brought them fame and respect, but it didn’t pay so well. They played for their land and they played for pride.

The great Australian cricketer Keith Miller, also a World War II pilot, put the pressure of sport in its rightful place with this immortal quote: "Pressure? I'll tell you what pressure is. Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not." Today, cricket is professionally run and offers players millions of dollars for three hours of work a day. Tony Greig commented recently, “The England players even have food tasters and someone to tuck them into bed at night.” The sport sure has come a long way.


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