|Kumar and Davison|
This might impress some, but it does not impress Fantasy Bob. During the first match of the new season last weekend FB was his usual shambolic presence at the crease when he was joined by an 11 year old with all the talent and style that are so conspicuously absent in FB. Despite the age gap of 50 years and then some more, spectators found it hard to discern who was the senior partner so commanding was the youngster. FB was in no doubt. Age was no barrier; the 2 gelled splendidly and the partnership blossomed. There was talk around the boundary of the great partnerships of old, Hobbs and Sutcliffe, Greenidge and Haynes, Hayden and Langer.
Both were not out at the innings close and they put on nearly 50. It would surely have been more but for FB's inability to connect with any of his characteristic closed-eyed heaves in the final overs. FB and his youthful partner had easily outperformed Davison and Kumar not only in matter of the age gap, since the Canadians were both back in the hutch with a mere 7 on the board. FB assumes the mantle of greatness with all due modesty.
It is one of the many life affirming charms of cricket - particularly at the elite level that FB plies his trade - that the generations mix, and work together for the same outcome. Even though FB barely knows what an x-Box is, and his youthful partner was unable to address during their between over conferences FB's questions about the relevance of Wagner's thinking on the gesamtkunstwerk to the concept of theall rounder, they enjoyed mutual respect.
Such inter-generational respect is important. Senior players ignore it at their peril. Many times FB has seen senior, so-called mature batsmen saunter to the wicket, take a dismissive look at the youngster serenely tossing the ball from one hand to the other at the other end before pointedly eyeing choice areas of the boundary to which he imagines he will crash the ball in the next few moments. Moments later the bails lie on the ground as the senior so-called mature batsman trudges his way back to the pavilion - deceived in flight, beaten by the bounce, undone by the spin - whatever. It is the situation for which the word hubris was invented. No doubt that was the word on the Melbourne crowd's lips when in 1877 18 year old Tom Garrett dismissed England's James Southerton, then aged 49 and still Test cricket's oldest debutant. The 31 year gap between bowler and victim remains the widest in international cricket.
Many times also has FB witnessed senior, so-called mature batsmen, play the ball and set off with the thought bubble coming out of his head, 'An easy single to the wee laddie' only to be surprised as the wee laddie in question swoops on the ball and in a single move and with one stump to aim at guns it in a single movement. The stumps fly, leaving the senior player a long and embarrassed journey to the far pavilion to consider the issues of age discrimination.