Month: December 2018

Dialectics of Spin Bowling or Cricket in the Soviet Union

An old comrade recently inquired if I had managed to finish this treatise. In fact, it is under way but needs more research. A deterministic approach is required to understand the dialectic working, spin imparted causes a ball to swerve in the contrary direction, we call this in cricket “The Thesis”. On pitching it turns in the direction of spin, this is the. “ antithesis”. It then strikes the pad – the umpire raises a finger – the synthesis.

However a truly dialectical requires an understanding of how spin bowling relates to society. Engels made some progress in the “ The Conditions of English Wickets”. But really we had to wait for Lenin’s “ sticky wickets – what is to be done?”

In my treatise I make central the issue of the Test Match that took place in Russia in the 1920’s between the Right Centrist Bloc XI vs The Joint Opposition XI. This took place in 1926 -7. On paper, the JO certainly had the stronger side, Trotsky the skipper, Zinoviev & Kamenev, recently played for the RC, Rakovsky behind the stumps, Preoboensky, Radek, Rykov, Lunacharsky. The RC skippered by Stalin, had no big names apart from the volatile Bukharin, previously the subject of Lenin’s withering “Left arm spin – an infantile disorder”. Bukharin was hoping to rely on his nepmen to get the runs.

In the build up to the match the RC Bloc got up to no good. The Centrists had the groundsman replaced by one of Stalin’s friends, the stewards prevented the JO supporters getting into the ground at all, while packing the stands with their own supporters – most of whom had never even been to a cricket match before – let alone have slightest understanding of the game.

The Joint Opposition bowled first. Trotsky himself opened. Stalin’s boys had no answer to his searing leg breaks and googlies. Every ball brought a question they had no answer to. Wickets fell while the Right Centrist Bloc struggled to lay bat on ball. They had some relief at the other end. Zinoviev’s slow donkey drops were half hearted to say the least and Kamenev’s little better.

Stalin could see he was going to lose and Bukharin was panicking. However, sad to say, overnight after the first day, all of the Joint Opposition’s kit was stolen- including their bats, the umpires were nobbled by fear and intimidation and the pitch ploughed. Stalin claimed victory.

Stalin himself was no spin bowler, despite his 1928 claims of bowling massive leg breaks turning from right to left. His own style was wooden to say the least. The most he ever managed himself was in 1912, under Lenin’s close coaching he managed to bowl a few slow turning off breaks. He was adept, however, with scorebook. If any of his bowlers got a few wickets, he would rub their names out, often the bowler himself got rubbed out too, and insert his own name. Thus he acquired a reputation for artful spin that some benighted folk still believe in today. I can say with absolute certainty that Stalin never bowled a single leg break in his life.

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