It is a bad business when sport and trial by jury meet each other. The integrity of sport is central to many of our cultural values. And trial by jury is a central concept to the judicial systems throughout the British Isles and in many other countries too.
|Gilbert (left) and Sullivan|
Trial by Jury contains the first of what was to become a trademark of the 14 shows that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote. In the patter song Gilbert was able to expose the pretensions or incompetence or imbecility of identifiable establishment figures. These have never been bettered and are works of art in themselves.
|Poster from 1879|
Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,Test match quality.
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee
We do not know what WS Gilbert would have made of the modern world and cricket's place within it. Sadly cricket was never referenced in his works, other than in a passing reference in a satirical poem called An English Girl (the joke which is of its time is that the girl he describes is given to many male pursuits). A pity for WG Grace was in his prime and Gilbert must have been tempted to have a pop at such a celebrity. But he appears to have desisted.
But we can guess that Butt, Amir and Asif are wishing tonight that they'd stuck close to their desks and never gone to sea.