Long has test cricket been referred to as the “longer form of the game.” Now, thanks to Twenty20, the media has begun referring to it as “the longest form of the game.” Well I never…
So does that mean that the language of the game will have to change? May be not all of it, but yes, cricket writing and commentating will have to jettison some oft-used expressions from the past and find new ones. Much like the game itself, the vocabulary also needs some refreshing. Which is just as well – it may help eliminate some trite, tired and over-used expressions. However, the phrase-challenged pundit may just find it a bit tough for a while.
Classical economists for whom cricket is a second love can no longer say “on the one hand, and on the other” because they now need a third hand to hold up the new baby. Unless, of course, one day cricket dies out (as some cricket futurists have forecast) and we return to the old economy again.
Old English scholars who write about cricket in their spare time will have to resist using expressions like “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” when referring to the similarities between test cricket and one-day cricket. Of course, they can extend it and say “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander but not for the swan” but that’s not quite as succinct as the original, is it?
While the formality of the toss will perhaps remain unchanged, bean counters need to toss out terms like “two sides of a coin” when referring to the forms of the game. They can become philosophical, though, and refer to the three forms as “two sides of a coin, plus the truth”, thus setting into motion an interesting argument on what truth is.
Punters will continue to play an invisible part of the game in all its forms, but the game is not a “two-horse race” any more. And you can be sure no one will bet against it.
The pedantic commentator can no longer use trite expressions like “the long and short of it”, and that is the long and short of it.