The Bedouin Cricket Club

“It was Bismarck’s judicious editing of the Ems telegram from King Wilhelm that led – as Bismarck anticipated – to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Franco later went on to have a (g)littering career as a Spanish fascist. No less than you would expect from a man who single-handedly took on the might of Prussia. Be that as it may, what most histories fail to mention – in fact this is the first to do so – is that Bismarck’s edits included a suggestion that a wandering cricket side – nomadic if you will – be established, the purpose of which would be “to organise a few games of cricket each year, to be played with friends on green grass, under the sun and a blue sky.” The German phrasing has been lost to history but the Rt. Hon. Roger J Harbinger QC Bar (retd.), after extensive researches whilst travelling in mittel-Europa in the company of his current lady-friend and his first wife, the long-suffering Marjorie, concluded that this is the only viable translation of, “was dieses Land braucht, ist ein Bündel von Verlierern, die mit einem Ball spielen,” a phrase that Bismarck so capriciously chose not to share with history.

“Events or, in Levy’s phrase, “ what men call history”, intervened and it was not until the latter stages England’s abortive 1974 World Cup campaign that the idea of “a wandering bunch of losers playing with a ball” really took hold. The catalyst was the birth of the Mufti twins in a small yurt just outside Yoxford (later to be the scene of so many Bedouin
triumphs – or disasters, but it is the Bedouin way to treat these impostors the same). What kind of crap is that? If you can’t tell the difference between triumph and disaster you .. you... well, you’ll fit right in with the Bedu.”

[Editor’s note: the writer has faithfully transcribed his shorthand notes of the speech by the Mufti, but he asks the readers’ forgiveness because it was done by starlight and for reasons best known to himself the Mufti chose to speak only in 13
th century Farsi.]

“Endowed by nature with god –like bodies and 23 incredibly agile fingers the Mufti began a debate that was to last nearly forty years, to wit, who should be allowed to play for the Bedu? Following closely by its sister question, who should be allowed to play against the Bedu? The answers, like the Mufti, were remarkably similar: anyone stupid enough to do it.

There followed a correspondence with the Authorities in the Game in England (
copies are available) and a period of administrative bungling (aka the Highgate Years) during which the Mufti and their followers found themselves playing crap cricket on crap fields against crap opposition before finally casting off the yoke of their competitive yearnings. [Translator’s note: this may not be correct. He may have said “Is there more wine?” 13th century Farsi is ambiguous on this point.] The first Bedouin fixture was set for Manaton in the County of Devon on the last weekend of May in this, the two thousand and tenth year of the Common Era.”

Offered, without mediation, by your humble correspondent,
M. Dick Esq.
The True History of the Bedouin from the Horse's Mouth (la bouche du chevaux)