Noone knows his date of birth, but William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26 1564, and died April 23, 1616.
Shakespeare is the world’s greatest and most well known writer ever, sort of the Tendulkar or Bradman of writing. His plays have been read and performed zillions of times, and remain timeless. As documentaries of human nature Shakespeare’s stories are peerless.
Hardly known is how cricket shaped shakespeare’s writings so our Investigative Reporters have dug into Ole England’s archives around Stratford on Avon and come up with the following :
The first recorded sledger was Shakespeare……after getting a batsman out he would say “Parting is such sweet sorrow “ (Romeo & Juliet)
His teammates didn’t like batting with him as he was known for getting his fellow batsmen runout whilst he pondered “To run or not to run…that is the question”. (Hamlet)
But as a coach,he discovered ALL Rounders,as he put it “The world’s a pitch, and all men are merely players…..and each must play many parts “ (As you like it)
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo & Juliet) ………….Shakespeare’s response when opposing fielders called him names
“If cricket be the food of love, play on” ………..This phrase was stolen by musicians who started saying “If music be the food of love…..” (Twelfth Night)
“Now is the winter of our discontent”……(Richard the Third)….when his team was going through a period like the West Indies is going through now
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark“………(Hamlet) on tour in Denmark, he was very upset with the Umpiring.
“A pacer, a pacer, my Kingdom for a pacer !“………..Frustrated by his team’s lack of a really fast bowler (like India) . This phrase later became “A horse,a horse, my Kingdom for a horse !: in Richard the Third
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be “ (Hamlet)……..Shakespeare admonished his teammate who asked to borrow his CUP.
“The better part of valor is discretion “ (Henry the fourth)……As captain, recommending his batsmen play defensively like Rahul Dravid
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” (Henry the Fourth)……Unhappy with how being captain had affected his batting, and the criticisms he was getting.
“What’s past is prologue; what to come “ (The Tempest)………After scoring a century, he said this to the slip fielders, threatening to score a double century.
“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time “ (MacBeth)…….On his way to his first Triple century, he was asked by reporters how long he intended to bat.
“Off with their heads! ” ……..instructions to his pace bowlers. Much later fast bowlers like Hall & Grifftith, Lillee & Thomson, Waqar and Wasimand Imran Khan, Roberts, Holding, Marshall, and others would follow Shakespeare’s instructions.
Written by Lloyd Jodah
Photo: from Shakespeare in Love” 1998 directed by John Madden (not the football dude),starring Joseph Fiennes & Gwyneth Paltrow