While the British licked their wounds after Bangladesh surrendered, we had time to… er… try to forget about it all. Here’s a new article from an old friend of the site, Mr. James Hindle. He lived in Singapore for a few years, practicing his unique cricket game with league teams. Here’s his description of the local cricket scene…

Following Tristan Allen’s excellent article on Australian cricket clubs in 2013, TFT’s editors – there were two at the time – asked other moderately talented cricketers living abroad to write Short essays about their own experiences. I recently moved to Singapore, a small city-state just one degree from the equator, and I readily agree.

Much to our editor’s dismay, it took me three full years to make this drama: the wait was almost as frustrating as my habit of dancing at the wicket and then playing forward defense!

Singapore is both very hot and very humid. We don’t need weather forecasts or “apps with rain radar” here, as the daily temperature is always reliably between 31°C and 33°C. During the two monsoon seasons of the year it rains daily – very heavy – usually at 2pm sharp for 15 minutes! There are thunderstorms 40 percent of the day and very high humidity. It was impossible to go anywhere for more than 5 minutes without breaking a sweat, reminiscent of overweight Lancashire League inaugural bowlers over 15.

There is also an extreme lack of cricket grounds. There are only two cricket grounds on the island – just a third of the area around London’s M25 motorway. Most matches are played on the dreaded artificial belt, with tennis-like punch.

Meanwhile, cricket is in high demand. There are tons of super enthusiastic Australian and Indian cricketers here. I play for an Australian team, ANZA, and they have five XIs: four League XIs and one Social.

The solution found by Singapore cricket administrators, whose penchant for excessive penalties would terrify the Surrey Championship chairman and captain, was to play two 30-plus matches a day at each ground.

These games are played according to the seasons in the northern hemisphere, giving egg hunters a chance to practice their so-called sport in “winter.”

As a collector of average talent — it usually takes at least 30 takes to get to 50 points — I was initially put off by the truncated format. After being blackmailed for gambling, I realized that wasn’t the only thing I had to worry about.

Singapore’s goalkeepers are a nightmare. Humidity makes 20 people feel like 50 people. After three or four times, my eyes were sweaty, and I started wearing a tennis headband in the style made famous by Bjorn Borg and Craig Woodhouse. If dehydration is not controlled, dizziness will occur after 10 reps. Some teams changed goalies after 15 rotations to ease the pressure.

Another big problem is snakes. My ANZA teammate told a shocking story of an English teammate wandering into the sparse bush surrounding the grounds to retrieve a ball. Moments later, he yelled “Snake!”, sprinted across the plaza, into his waiting Lexus, and sped off to the local hospital. He was never heard from again.

I love playing for Australia. I didn’t live to see the F-word tirade Tristan described during his time in Blacktown, Western Sydney. But most Aussies I hang out with agree with me.

Most of the teams we played against were Indians. Let me get straight to our biggest weakness and the main reason we are currently third bottom in the league, one place above the other ANZA XI: Our opponents are net 10-15 years younger than us and don’t drink beer.

We are currently outside the relegation zone but will be relegated if the team currently at the bottom of the table wins their final game next weekend. The only positive we can take from this season is that we somehow managed to get past an understaffed, higher division ANZA team.

I’ve done some running, but I’m fighting for the limit. The leg look still works, but unfortunately I haven’t had a full season off.

By x59ok

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