Thursday, 3 March 2011

CWC - Group B becomes interesting

Fantasy Bob congratulates the Irish team on their well deserved triumph yesterday.  Their chase was exceptional.  But some supernatural force has put the hex on England's bowling.  Can this be the same group that were so potent in Australia?  Expect an emergency summons for the witchfinder general to the England hotel shortly.  Exorcism needed.
James Joyce -
 not father of Ed Joyce

Ed Joyce
not son of
that James Joyce
Enough of them, let's think Irish.  Through the haze of Guinness, there is probably agreement that Ireland's greatest contribution to world literature came from the pen of James Joyce.  Not the James Joyce who in 1978 fathered Ed Joyce, the current top order batsman, but another James Joyce whose ultra modernist literary work remains as challenging as chasing 328 when you're 111 for 5.  
Unlike other literary greats, who, as FB has mentioned from time to time, were somewhat casual in paying respect to the greatest of all games, Joyce makes reference to cricket and cricket matches in his work.  So, in Finnegans Wake a passage which at one time had been considered as near to gibberish as you can get, has lately been interpreted as a play on a series of names of 31 Victorian cricketers with whom Joyce would have been familiar as he grew up.  Exactly why Joyce felt compelled to give them this treatment is not known.  There is a suggestion that that other great Irish writer Samuel Beckett put him up to it - what a party that must have been.  But it does indicate that Joyce's youthful interest in cricket remained with him throughout his life. 

Samuel Beckett, by the way, is the only winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature who is mentioned in Wisden or CricInfo, having played 2 first class games for Dublin University against Northamptonshire in 1925.  Over his 2 games he scored 35 runs in 4 innings and failed to take a wicket.  And you wonder why Waiting for Godot came out as it did.

Anyway, there can be little doubt that James Joyce - and Beckett for that matter -  would be celebrating yesterday's victory.  How would he have described it were he to put into his literary work?  Finnegan's Wake is one big word play with multi-lingual puns, allusions and riddles.  Frankly it is impenetrable to most lower league cricketers like FB.  But FB has been led to understand that it is stimulated by a cyclical view of history, in which civilisation rose from chaos, passed through theocratic, aristocratic, and democratic phases, and then lapsed back into chaos.  Much like most of Fantasy Bob's bowling spells.

But to get away from all this high culture.  As regular readers will know, one of Fantasy Bob's inspirational figures is Father Dougal.   For many reasons it is maybe as well that Father Dougal failed to convince the Irish selectors that his middle order striking could do a job during the World Cup.  At one stage in the match the Irish batsmen undoubtedly had to call on reserves of faith.  This exchange suggests that had Father Dougal Maguire been the one to go out to join Kevein O'Brien in the middle in the heat of battle Irish eyes might not be smiling so brightly.

Father Dougal -
could he have coped
with the run chase?
Bishop Facks: So, Father. Do you ever have any doubts about the religious life? Is your faith ever tested? Anything you would be worried about? Any doubts you've been having about any aspects of belief? Anything like that?
Father Dougal: Well, you know the way God made us all, right? And he's looking down at us from heaven and everything?
Bishop Facks: Uh-huh.
Father Dougal: And then his son came down and saved everyone and all that?
Bishop Facks: Yes.
Father Dougal: And when we die we're all going to go to heaven?
Bishop Facks: Yes. What about it?
Father Dougal: Well, that's the bit I have trouble with.

Watch out India on 6 March.  Group B is now very interesting.

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