World Class Anxiety Redux

Tuesday 6 January 2009

It’s not normal for a nation’s press to care about a cricket series on the other side of the world that doesn’t involve said nation. Unless I checked the fine print in the sports sections of the papers, the British media would offer me no clue as to the Australian test team’s performance – which is perfectly natural. However, in the past few weeks the BBC’s sports reports have become increasingly concerned with the current series of Australia versus South Africa. British newspaper columnists are quietly excited at the prospect of Australia losing the third test and no longer being the number one cricketing nation in the world.
The fact that the England team are ranked at number five and had no part to play in their former colony’s potential downfall is irrelevant: just the fact that someone has beaten them is a source of vicarious satisfaction. It’s like the instinctive barracking by a neutral country for whoever is playing against the USA at the Olympics, writ large.

(Crossposted at Sarsaparilla.)