"You can smell it
You can tell there's something rotten
Now the kingdom is shot
And it's all gone to pot
Heaven help us there is something rotten"
In the past week or so, we (as in the liberal humanekind) have been swarmed by the alarming clampdown on dissent. A smart teacher from what was once my school has called for the dissenting students and the rest of their kind, of our kind, to be eradicated; silenced by the anaemic disregard of the Establishment, their ideologues and a few misguided beret-wearing, rank boasting military men. Whatever crumbs of comfort we take, we take it from amongst ourselves, at the courage of our peers, the sharpness of their speech and the empathy of their hearts. Some, as Harsha Bhogle rightly tweeted, also have sports.
In most cases, the pain-alleviating qualities of sport are oversold, and in the modern age, it is mostly a marketing gimmick which the ad-men and big corporations are quick to seize on. Of course, moments of pure romance do exist; they are few and far between, but they exist nonetheless. I have made my peace with this equation. This rarity of romance enhances the emotion of unbridled positivity, which in itself is rare, especially if you share my disposition.
Now would be a good time to introduce Baz. Bmac. Brendon McCullum. No fuss, just a flurry of shots, adrenaline, and dizzying bat swing.
There, in an instant, you forget your shit and sit up and take notice of the buffed biceps, tattooed arms and his everyday spunk. I won’t pretend to understand the finer points of captaincy and discuss the Macca way of cricket. But I will try to tread somewhere close in a roundabout way.
The theme of the hour, or at least the theme I have adopted, is to stick it to The Man. The council houses of East and North London, quaking to the sound of grime, the chorus of 'Fuck the Police' ringing through empty warehouses, illegal makeshift radio stations, cutting across bourgeois elements and reducing them to their ill-gotten gains. The cry of our times is 'azaadi'; azaadi from State-sponsored oppression and ideological monopoly. It is there in our streets, in our campuses, in our minds but above all in the face of The Man.
"This daylight robbery is now so fucking hateful
It’s accepted by the vast majority"
And somewhere in the middle of overlapping discontent stands McCullum – virtuous, strong and courageous. All good fun, beer-swigging, sexy-cricket-playing, giver of joy. He may not voice his concerns about the ICC, or even the BCC of I. That's the way he works. But give him some wood and he'll chop The Men down to size, make them crumble under the sheer force of rebellion. That is how he bats. All or nothing. Johnny Rotten in cricket whites. His New Zealand the Sex Pistols of the traditional game. Anarchy here. Anarchy there. Anarchy everywhere.
Perhaps I am patronising him. Actually, scratch that. I am most definitely patronising him, but I am a sucker for his style, his swagger. I am profoundly touched by what he espouses, the same way dour Alastair Cook was. That is my weakness, but also my strength. If sports can stir the restive soul – like The Black Power Salute, like Muhammad Ali, the Mohun Bagan of 1911 and Leicester City of now – then BMac is that sport.
“Look, no we ain’t hooligans, just young and talented nubians”