Wednesday, June 04, 2014
The Invention of Cricket - new evidence
I'm not a great expert on ancient art, but saw this one in a newspaper the other day and was struck, as any cricketer would be, by the central figure. It's Titians 'Bacchus and Ariadne', but chap in the middle is clearly a right-handed Ryan Sidebottom. The ball and batsman are out of shot but the umpire (on the left, facing the wrong way) is already signalling 4. This may be a sign of early match fixing, especially as the figure behind the bowler seems to be waving a bag of money at the umpire. Or she might be an IPL cheerleader with a wardrobe malfunction.
The crowd, as is normal at cricket matches, are a mixed bag - some are watching the play, some are asleep, one is struggling with the flex on their radio headphones (at least, I assume that's what the guy with the beard is doing). It's clearly a hot day, late afternoon, as shown by the absence of clothes, and the figure entering the picture on the right is just about to streak across the pitch, reviving one of the ancient and noble traditions of cricket.
With the umpire wearing blue and the player red, it's probably a one day match, and the floodlights are just coming on (top left). Though what those animals are doing on the pitch is anybody's guess.
I suspect that the original name of the picture was 'Batters and Arnie', having mistaken Ryan Sidebottom for his father.