The bowler turns on his heel as he approaches the top of his run, tosses the ball from hand to hand, steam very nearly bursting out of his nostrils, given the furious energy he has built up leading into this moment. Gradually, he begins his run, first at an amble, then a run, before hitting the crease at an Olympian sprint, simultaneously throwing his arm over his shoulder and releasing his small leather projectile at his nemesis at nigh-on 100 miles an hour. The die is cast, the first delivery bowled in anger of what will hopefully be an epic contest.
The batsman, in a split second, sizes up the speed, trajectory, movement and bounce of the ball. Instantly, he assesses the placings of the fielders, the chances of success. He’s facing a great bowler with a head full of steam, and he’s yet to find his rhythm. He steps forward, raises his left elbow, presents a straight bat, and sends the ball safely back to the other end of the pitch. Game on.
Then, from the crowd, emerges “Fucking hit the thing you lazy cunt! It’s twenty twenty!”
Welcome to Twenty/Twenty (or in the bogan-abbreviated, text-speak vernacular, T/20) cricket. Cricket, thirty years ago, was abridged for the nascent bogan into World Series Cricket – taking the traditional 5-day, 450-over epics and trimming them down to a neat 100 so that they could all be bowled in time for bed. Colourful clothes and night games were the norm, and bogans embraced the x-treme spectacle of cricket for the attention-deficient.
However, as is always the bogan way, turning a five-day sporting event into an eight-hour sporting event was not enough. Thus, from the depths of the mother country, T/20 was born. Cutting back like a newspaper editor who just saw his daughter reading TMZ, cricket was whittled away to a positively skeletal 40 overs, creating the ability to finish a match in three hours.
Of course, x-treme brevity was not sufficient to mollify the bogans’ impatience for sixes and fours. Cricket geniuses incorporated ‘power plays’ from one-day cricket, because clearly the bogan enjoys power of any sort, its total lack of awareness of what power plays are or their effect notwithstanding.
The boundaries were moved even closer to the batsmen, almost guaranteeing that if they closed their eyes and connected, said fours and sixes would ensue. And naturally, when these inevitable fours and sixes are scored, the bogan masses, clad as they are in flag-capes and cheap knock-offs of the Australian uniform, can celebrate. Celebrate along with fireworks. Fireworks that are effectively large stoves, spewing forth flame, allowing one household’s annual natural gas consumption to be spent igniting flame bursts on the sidelines. Meanwhile, over the loudspeakers, ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ pumps, elevating the bogan to a new level of patriotic hysteria. Meanwhile, at the pub among those already kicked out, a bogan glasses some cunt.