I spent a pleasant half-hour this Sunday asking a PE teacher from the Black Country how he teaches his sporting duffers to bowl a cricket ball.
Right now, from where I’m sitting, I can see a horde of (I suppose) seven year olds leaping around. Some of them are playing cricket, including one scrap of a lad whose old fashioned shorts look to weigh as much as he does. He’s a good couple of inches shorter than his friends, at a guess second or third generation anglo-Indian or Pakistani. In his you’ll-grow-into-them school shoes, he has the precipitous gait of a small animal yet to come to an understanding with its feet. But, whereas his schoolmates are lobbing the ball to the stumps in polite long-hops, this one fires the ball in like a pocket Darren Gough. He’s getting such pace that on the rare occasions bat connects with ball, it fizzes out of sight like a swooping swallow.
I suppose I’m noting this because I followed some links posted by Mags about the D’Oliveira affair in 1968, which is on everyone’s minds now because of the current Zimbabwe tour farrago.
One of the links is to a 1968 piece by John Arlott, that finishes with this wistful paragraph:
Secondly, within a few years, the British-born children of West Indian, Indian, Pakistani and African immigrants will be worth places in English county and national teams. It seems hard to discourage them now, for, however the M C C’s case may be argued, the club’s ultimate decision must be a complete deterrent to any young coloured cricketer in this country. The final thought on it, however, must be one of sadness and that in the selection the M C C have stirred forces - for both good and evil - whose powers they do not truly comprehend.