I’ll take 11 Malian women over our withered whiners any day

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I’ll take 11 Malian women over our withered whiners any day

They might never win anything, but how beautiful is this world for having this miraculous cricket team in it

Now, I know there’s a strong chance that you don’t care about cricket, and although I think you’re making a grievous error on this score, I do not hold it against you. We must all follow our own stars and plough our own furrows, and it just so happens that in my case that means cricket.

I’m gaga about the damn game. I love it and am devoted to it with an intensity that would be embarrassing and shameful if cricket were something else – a person, perhaps, or a socio-analytic ideology. Cricket is much greater than these things – it is art and philosophy and aesthetics and history and psychology and joy and nourishment and friendship and wine and a good night’s sleep. Cricket is all that is worthwhile and noble about humanity, it leadeth me to pastures green and maketh me to lie down beside the still waters, and I’m quite convinced that one of the reasons I love it so much is that I wasn’t much good at it when I played. And all of this is to explain why the news of the Mali Women’s Cricket team delighted me so much this week.

I don’t know anything about the Mali Women’s Cricket team, who played their first official T20 match against Rwanda in Kigali on Tuesday, and at this stage I do not think I want to know, for right now I am free to picture them and cherish them as I hope they are...

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