Cricket is one sport that is tailormade for theologians obsessed not only with the nitty but also with the gritty. Two cricketing conundrums (‘conundra’, as the pundits would correct us) are being furiously discussed even as we write this. First, it’s Kevin Pietersen’s radical gesture of switching ‘hands’ mid-delivery. The English cricketer changed his grip and stance from a right-handed batsman to a left-hander even as the bowler was in his stride. In the process, Pietersen smacked two sixes on his way to an unbeaten 110.
The reverse sweep, made popular by the likes of Mike Gatting, has become part of cricketing mainstream. With the rules mum about the hand-stance switch, the pundits are stumped. The point about bowlers being allowed a ‘switch of hands’ is being talked about. As is, we’re sure, the issue of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
The other heated discussion is about the arrival of the ‘television umpire’. The Sri Lanka-India series next month will introduce a rule in which a player who wants to question the decision of the on-field umpire can make a ‘T’ sign and get a ‘verification’ by another umpire sitting in front of a telly. Some say this makes the branch office more powerful than the headquarters. We say the TV umpire is the HQ.