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Thus sayeth the Lord, ‘Howzat?’


I love cricket. Like most Australian kids, I learnt how to play in the backyard and spent many hours batting and bowling with my brother and sometimes with my father or grandfather. Playing with my father was hard because he was so unselfish – he’d get a turn at batting and just deliberately hit catches to us!

 

I find watching T20 cricket (20 overs per side, for the uninitiated) an amusing way to waste a few mindless hours at the end of a working day. And one-day matches are rarely played these days, but they also have some entertainment value. What I love is test cricket; it’s the game they play in heaven. (I recognise some of you may differ from me on that last theological point.)

 

I recently had some time off work and spent four days on my couch watching a test match. It also gave me time to think of what some biblical characters may perform like on the cricket field.

 

Moses would be a great swing bowler. He would bowl the ball and then stand and just spread his hands apart – like splitting the Red Sea – and the ball would swing to one side. When he got tired of bowling towards the end of a long spell, teammates would stand next to him and hold his arms up so he could continue.

 

Samson would be a powerful, big-hitting batsman and use his bat like a club. He wouldn’t run much (he’s not really built for quick singles), but he wouldn’t need to; he’d just smash boundaries. If his bat broke in half, he’d just continue using half a bat and swinging it like, I don’t know, like the jawbone of a donkey.

 

Judas would try and bribe the umpires. Enough said.

 

Peter would play like it was tippity-run. Hit the ball, run. Hit the ball, run. Hit the ball, run. It wouldn’t worry if the ball went straight to a fielder, back to the bowler, or over the boundary fence. Just hit it and run. Peter only knows one way. He’s never blocked a ball in his life.

 

Jonah would hit the ball, call for a single and then run in the opposite direction. He’s just wired to do that. If the aim is simply to run down the pitch to complete a successful run, Jonah will run the other way. Then he’ll complain about the lack of shade near the pitch when he’s batting.

 

David would be a quick and accurate bowler, but he’d have an illegal action, and the umpire would call him for throwing. David would complain: “But my arm’s not bent; why are you no-balling me?”, and the umpire would respond: “Yes, your arm’s straight, but you’re using a SLING!”

 

Jesus would be the wicketkeeper. Nothing gets past Jesus. Express ball. Leg-spinner. Bouncer. Way down the leg side. Yorker. Huge outswinger. Jesus would stop everything. Some bowlers would try to test him and offer a real googly, but nothing gets past Jesus. Nothing.

 

Thomas would make a terrible umpire: “Umm, I don’t know. I think it’s out. Or in.” Noah would be a bat maker: “I prefer gopherwood; it handles wet weather well.” Paul would be a fine cricket writer: “Let me just write an article about how the match is going, or maybe a two-part article – 1 Day’s Play and 2 Day’s Play.” Job would make a miserable player: “Out? Why me? It’s always me. Sure, tell old Job he’s out. No one cares about old Job.”

 

While this might all sound a bit fanciful, you must remember that cricket is one of the few sports mentioned in the Bible. Right at the dawn of creation, we read in Genesis 1:1: “In the big innings, God created the heaven and the earth”. See? All done while he was keeping one eye on the cricket.

 

– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos

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