Monday’s Google Doodle is a nifty little cricket game in which the batsman is a … cricket! and the fielders are snails. The bowler is also a snail.
From the preceding sentence you might assume that I know something about cricket, but I don’t. I have the basics. And playing Google’s cricket game is mesmerising. I’m as much adrift as my colleague Matt Weinberger.
I was waiting for the one thing I do know about cricket, which I learned from many listens to the English progressive folk-rock musician Roy Harper’s cricket ballad, “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease,” a meditation of mortality and, well, cricket (Harper, by the way, sang lead vocals on Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” and was immortalised in a Led Zeppelin number, “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” from the group’s third album).
Here’s the first verse, from Harper’s album “HQ”:
When the day is done and the ball has spun in the umpires pocket away
And all remains in the groundsman’s pains for the rest of time and a day
There’ll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for four with the spin
On a dusty pitch with two pounds six of willow wood in the sun.
So what’s with all the spun/spin stuff? Well, in cricket a, spin bowler delivers the ball with rotation that’s meant to make it hard to bat. And lo! In the Google Cricket game, the snail does indeed bowl with spin.
I was able to hit it anyway. Maybe it gets harder as you rack up the runs.
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