Tom Eaton on Sport, Life and the Universe

Holy cricket, Batsmen

Holy cricket, Batsmen

Our Captain, who art at square leg...

In an era of dramatic revelations about the Catholic Church, the announcement might have underwhelmed the global media or been written off as a joke. But there it stood, and apparently it was no Papal bull: not only did the Vatican have a cricket team, but it had challenged the heretics of the Anglican Church to a match at Lord’s in September.

Further details were sketchy, but the press release suggested that the umpire might be a Jew or a Muslim, apparently a gesture of religious harmony, but, alas, a hollow one. Any cricket person knows only the most devout Anglicans believe in the existence of the umpire as a literal, omnipotent and omniscient figure. For the rest, the umpire is more of a metaphor, a symbol of everything that is righteous in cricket, all wrapped up and projected onto a human man in a Panama hat.

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