There’s a football vs. cricket discussion over at Corridor of Uncertainty. Not surprisingly, since it’s a cricket blog, everyone is saying how wonderful cricket is and how much football could learn from it.
But I still think that for moments of sheer, jaw-dropping brilliance, football is streets ahead of cricket, just because it’s less structured. Even the most memorable moments in cricket – like Warne’s famous Gatting ball – are variations on a theme. Yes, it was an extraordinarily good leg-break, but it was still rather like all his other leg-breaks. The great moments in football – from Gordon Banks, Maradona, Cruyff, Archie Gemmill, Paul Gascoigne – give you the sense of someone doing something impossible and unthought of. It’s like watching a magic trick, except invented on the spur of the moment in front of 70 000 people and with the World Cup at stake.