by Ben Roberts
For Anita, a Jane Austen lover and wife of a cricket tragic.
It is often said that sporting teams will take on individual characteristics that differentiate them from others. Describing these characteristics need not be limited merely to the mundanely clichéd terms of sport; they can come from the literary world.
Lying in bed thinking of how best to describe each of our World Cup challengers I realised how each of them fit seamlessly (in my own mind) into Jane Austen’s Victorian tale of Pride & Prejudice. See below, team’s are in alphabetical order.
Australia – Lydia Bennett: Gets what they desire in the end, however do not please others with the manner in which they do so, including their own ‘family’.
Bangladesh – Mr Bennett: Have some talent within them but are rarely taken seriously.
Canada & Kenya – The Bingley Sisters: Serve no purpose in the tournament except to ruin the future ambitions of Ireland.
England – Elizabeth Bennett: Like Lizzy, the English supporter lives a life of undue frustration and complication.
Ireland – Jane Bennett: With their coloured hair and pure joy in victory they are the simple souls of this competition.
India – Mr Wickham: Describe their motives as being pure however are believed by many to just be in it for the money.
Netherlands – Mr Collins: Existence is based purely on the patronage of one individual.
New Zealand – Mary Bennett: The poorer sibling of many, they have little talent but try hard.
Pakistan – Mrs Bennett: Can hold it together for short periods of time but likely to collapse into tantrum at any moment.
South Africa – Mr Darcy: The look and resource of a champion team however regularly cock it up at inappropriate moments.
Sri Lanka – Mr Bingley: Talent and riches and a zest for the game.
West Indies – Charlotte Lucas: Well past their glory years now, will settle for anything resembling success.
Zimbabwe – Lady Catherine de Burgh: More a reflection on the administrative leader of Zimbabwean cricket, a dictatorial and manipulative individual only concerned about their own end.
Like Austen’s tale we already seen the Netherlands bother England with more attention than one would feel comfortable about, and seemingly Ireland have a greater ability to woo victory than the English.
Do these undoubted parallels mean that England and South Africa or Ireland and Sri Lanka will be tied together at the end of the story...I mean tournament? Or will Australia and India elope in the final act of debauchery? This story is still to be written.