Thursday, 25 September 2014

Commentate, Don't Prognosticate

I read a lot of cricket books, mainly biographies and histories. A common theme for any cricketer turned commentator is 'Advice Received From Richie'. Although, why they need to include it I don't know, since they all tell the same story.

The generic tale runs something along the lines of said commentator talking about the future, about who will win the game, series, who will succeed, fail etc etc. In the story Richie Benaud sits back and says nothing, a cryptic smile on his face. He always lets them sink. There's no hand on the rudder from Richie, no pre-game crimp notes. You're on your own.

The writer always says how during the call, very shortly after the wayward prediction, it proved to be a lot of hoary bollocks. Another cryptic half-smile from the doyen.

At the end of the game the commentator asks Richie, "so how'd I go?" And Richie always tells them that they ought to watch and call the game, not try and make predictions about the future. Say what you can see is happening, don't guess at what you can't see and don't know. Best lesson they ever learnt, they all say.

I always think, why didn't you just read the last guy's book? Learn from his mistake. Don't go and do it yourself.

But it seems, for each individual, it is irresistible. Which team will, or most definitely will not, win the World Cup? Who will eventually be regarded as an all-time great, or not (Alastair Cook, discuss)? What did Andrew Gale really say?

People just can't help themselves.


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