Hand-hurled heat seeking missiles that hunt heart and hurry head; concentrated napalm streaking in a blur at over ninety miles an hour. It just might be time to reconsider place in life and take up something else; say, either indoor tennis, or beach volleyball.
This is the trouble, and in World Cup 2019, the immortal Bob Marley has it a little off-kilter: it is not war in the East. It is war breaking out from the West, as in the West Indies; underdogs bringing fire to the fore.
The lasers are like fire in the wyah, a la Calypso Rose. And again, the gladiators of yore are prowling, stalking, and roaring up to deliver one incendiary device after another in sustained sorties, which should serve as indicators of things to come, of people to put in their places (as in back to the pavilion), and of a resurgence long overdue and reminiscent of longer tradition and more storied times.
The assault and battery men in maroon hunt in the same packs, scintillating quartets of grit and guts searching for glory for the team, for the region, for pride long diluted. They are not the same names: not the whispering glide of Holding (now admiring descendants from commentary box), but the raw power of Thomas; not the ferocity of Roberts, just the stealth hustle of Russell; not high-altitude Garner, merely the callow youth who became a man in fellow Barbadian Holder; and not the immortal Marshall, only a fearsome speed demon masquerading under the unlikely name of Gabriel. That is a trumpet blare of a different pitch.
Pitch and pace; pace like fire. Bumpers and bouncers galore. Not full; not too short; but just right to introduce the sweet science of the ring arts (boxing) to the game of glorious uncertainty (cricket). For beleaguered batsmen, it is a ring of torment, with dancing and ducking, along with bobbing and weaving. One Smokin’ Joe after another is being smoked out of crease, pants and wicket. Flattened and floored.
The other fellows–observant warriors all–are quick to follow. New Zealand has delivered its own barrage of bolts of lightning that make for wishes for the shelter and comfort of sturdy trees. Like a dog in need of relief for the bladder, any trunk on which to lean or spray will do. Won’t be a minute too early, with all the adrenaline rushing; and the flight reflux at full acceleration.
Australia has its own proven arsenal of frightening people eaters, who are never too reserved or too civilized to step up and let go with one thunderbolt after another to create mayhem and furiously agitate gastric and intestinal canals.
They cut their eyeteeth on making mincemeat of opposing batsmen, who dare to stand in defiance. Chewed out, minced up, and spat out in forlorn silhouettes wending beaten way back to the dressing rooms, the hallmark of staggering sluggers being run right out of town.
In contrast, the run-up is one of the keys that must click, according to Kagiso Rabada, a terrifying spearhead in the South African demolition squad. Run-up is part of a strange, wondrous alchemical blend: Get the steps right, the rhythm synchronized, and the launch trajectory, arm elevation, and skeletal arch all fluently flowing at the same time, and the result it is a thing of outstanding beauty.
Just do not tell that to all those gloved and padded and helmeted waiting (and crouching and wondering) at the receiving end as to what is in store; what leathery messenger comes at supersonic speed to bring cricketing truth.
It can be a power-packed punch of express messages best left undelivered. The West Indians, old and new, have always been exceptional at this craft. The pundits say that the most enchanting, sexiest sight in cricket is a fast bowler in graceful flight at maximum thrust. The West Indies have them. This can be their day and year.
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