In Johannesburg a Test match was halted yesterday. The South African opener Elgar, confused after taking multiple hits on his body, thought he was playing football and tried to head a short ball away. It crashed into his helmet and he was last seen with ice packs all over his body. That did it for the officials. This pitch is too dangerous, they said, and called off play for the day.
One wonders what these batsmen, master blasters all, would have done in the helmetless days of uncovered pitches. In ’76 at Sabina Park Bishen Singh Bedi declared a Test innings after just six wickets had fallen, fearing for the life of his tail-enders. Clive Lloyd informed the world that Test cricket was a hard game and that people sometimes got hurt playing it. The Indian team returned from that tour in bandages and casts, with split lips and broken bones.
Perhaps we should ban Test matches altogether and stick to limited over matches where defanged, declawed bowlers are molested at will by anyone who can lift a bat. Or even better, ban fast bowling altogether.
Interestingly India has lost the first two Tests in the series. They might win this last one, if play is allowed to continue. We have been hearing awhile now about how our batsmen do not like to face fast bowling on quick, bouncy wickets. They have learnt fast it seems, and one wonders what the result would have been if they had gone into the Tests after playing a few practice matches. More interestingly, it is clear now that no one, definitely not these South Africans, likes facing fast bowling on fast wickets.