4 minute read
What’s Sky’s upcoming documentary, The Greatest Game, about then? It should be obvious really, shouldn’t it? You know, with a title like that. The Greatest Game. Let’s look for some clues.
Well, it’s a moodily-lit Ben Stokes kinda documentary.
But that doesn’t really pinpoint things.
Now here is looking thoughtful-yet-resolute.
Again, this doesn’t really help us.
If you’re wondering whether they had a second camera during the moodily-lit interview, it looks like they did.
If you’re wondering whether they have footage of Stokes on safari, it looks like they do.
But none of this is really giving us a decisive, unarguable answer. Which ‘greatest game’ is this thing about?
Oh, wait, 2019 one-day kit?
Okay, now we know what we’re dealing with.
Verdict: Guilty of hyperbole
“The 2019 World Cup Final was the greatest game of cricket ever played,” claim Sky in their blurb – yet it wasn’t even the greatest game of cricket played by England that summer.
With catches that were actually sixes, deflected boundaries and a whole slew of run-outs where the runs that were prevented were more important than the wickets, the 2019 World Cup final was fully bonkers and in that respect a very pure and excellent example of cricket at its rather confusing best.
But it wasn’t as good as Ben Stokes and Jack Leach at Headingley a month later. That’s just a fact. Ask anyone. Ask Timothée Chalamet who plays Paul Atreides in Dennis Villeneuve’s version of Dune.
Timothée Chalamet says…
Look, no-one’s saying that the 2019 World Cup final wasn’t a great game. It clearly was, both when taken in isolation as the final of a major tournament, but also from a narrower England perspective as the climax of a longer story of limited-overs underperformance and how that had been addressed by Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss over the preceding four years.
But does that make it the ‘greatest’ game of cricket ever played? Clearly not. King Cricket has highlighted the Headlingley Ashes Test from that same summer as an example of an England game he clearly feels was superior. I’d agree, but minor differences between his opinion and mine also hint at a deeper truth, which is that the ‘greatness’ of any given cricket match hinges on the perception of the individual.
A Pakistan fan or a West Indies fan would easily be able to come up with a whole host of matches they felt were ‘greater’ than the 2019 World Cup final. And that’s before we get to experiences that may be even more specific to an individual.
Because for many, the greatest game of cricket will have been one they themselves played in. Not necessarily a professional match. Not perhaps even a proper 11-a-side organised match at all. Maybe for some the greatest game of cricket was played in an alleyway, or down a driveway. Perhaps it was played on a PC or with Owzthat dice.
So it is that I ask: who made Sky Sports the arbiters of cricket match greatness?
Wise words from Timothée Chalamet. Wise words indeed.
You can watch the trailer for The Greatest Game here, if you want – but we have to say that other than the safari shot and Jason Roy in a very old-fashioned looking motorcycle helmet, you can probably guess most of it, right down to some of the actual quotes.
In their defence, Sky Sports are usually pretty good at this kind of thing and you can be pretty confident there’ll be greater depth than can realistically be conveyed in a 49-second trailer.