Billy Bowden saves test cricket

December 21, 2021

VVS Laxman might have won the game.

It was Billy who saved test cricket.

This man that I had the audacity to question, this quaint little weirdo, has gone and done what no else could do.

Make people (by people I mean Indians) watch test cricket.

If all umpires could contrive a game as well as Bowden (ably supported by his gimpy sidekick Gould) did, with mistake after mistake to ensure that India win all tests by one wicket, then the future of test cricket will be safe.

It will be more than safe, it will be untouchable.

Billy’s genius blends into an artform, like a Jackson Pollock painting, but each of them just put another layer of mystery, fun and genuine intrigue into a game of cricket that Australia tried to bat to death for a couple of days.

One less mistake from Billy or Gunner and Australia win. One more mistake, and Australia win. Billy had test cricket in his weirdly shaped hands, and he chose to protect it from all that is evil in the world.

For the casuals and heretics of the cricket world, seeing this can change their whole life.

Most of us watch test cricket our whole life for a test like this. Waiting and hoping that the game you skip work for is the one that will turn into the one wicket or one run ending.

The test match that just inches closer and closer to an improbable end, and then somehow, beyond all the odds, it is actually a close test that either side can win in one ball.

The mythical being that your dad and uncle talk about and you’ve never seen.

For us, this was religious.

This test was like touching Jesus’s cheek, rubbing Buddha’s nose, stroking Krishna’s earlobe or sniffing at Johnny Cash’s eyebrow.

While to some it may seem that perfection was standing at backward square when the winning runs were scored, leaning gingerly on a bat, yelling at his young team mates, and batting like angels would do if they smoked, drank bourbon and sang the blues. They would be wrong.

VVS was a mere pawn in the game of Billy Bowden.

Billy Bowden, the saviour of test cricket, a man beyond laws, a rebel with a walkie talkie and the ultimate puppet master.

Pull the string! Billy! A mistake is made. A story must be told. Pull the string!