Columnists 30.1.2018 12:49 pm

The Special One puts cricket’s failures to rest

Jon Swift

Jon Swift

It had, the Incomprehensible Scot, privately admitted, something of a personal trial as, having duly bowed the knee to the democratic process, he uncomprehendingly trudged his way through four days of a less-than-sparkling cricket Test against India at the Wanderers before the Proteas finally crumbled.

“I canna git ma heid roun it … tha krikut,” he said of a game he had little exposure to while spending his younger days corralled behind the confines of Hadrian’s Wall.

On reflection, he was not altogether alone in this, with both the South Africans and the touring Indian side struggling mightily to live up to expectations on pitches which seemed to have minds of The Special One puts cricket’s failures to rest their own.

But this was undoubtedly to deep for the scant knowledge of the game the Incomprehensible One has acquired by the forced osmosis of hob-nobbing with a bunch of locals brought up in the game.

“I dinna mind tha one-day game,” he said.

“Tha’s summut happening. But tae shell oot fir five days when the canna git pass three,” his Scots roots coming to the fore, “tha maks nae sense ta me.”

But, being the man he is, the Incomprehensible One settled back with a lager and lime to take his medicine.

“Fitba,” he said between sips, “I ken fitba.”

As well he should having captained a regional youth side north of the border before the pressing business of earning a living closed in on him.

His claim to a love of “fitba” extends to his enduring attachment to Manchester United, though having invested so much faith in Sir Alex Ferguson during the sporting knight’s long and fruitful reign at Old Trafford, though this has not been transferred to current manager Jose Mourinho – “He were always wrong fir Manyoo,” is his summation.

He also dutifully follows the fortunes of the side founded in his native Falkirk back in 1876, runners-up in the Scottish Cup in 2015, but now in the Scottish second tier.

“An tha goff,” he added as another aside.

“Aye, I ken tha goff.”

That it must be added is no empty boast.

He has played since a youngster and until the slight wintering of the temples arrived, was a more than respectable single figure handicapper and has had the experience of playing on some of the most reputable links courses of his homeland.

He had backed this up whenever finances and travel plans have succeeded in dovetailing, with a trip to watch the British Open.

But suddenly, this particular afternoon, the last rites having already been read over a far from convincing cricket Test, the way had been cleared for the main event, an absorbing Australian Open final between the veteran of many epic Grand Slam battles, Roger Federer, and Marin Cilic, the elongated Croat seven years his junior, in Melbourne.

This time, the Incomprehensible One was not to be denied as the seemingly ageless Swiss superstar, forged his way to a record 20th Slam singles title in a five-setter.

“I luv ma tennus,” said the Incomprehensible One, in quiet contentment as a tearful winner accepted his accolades, “and yon Federer, is he no speshul?”

Indeed never a truer word has been spoken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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