Aaron Sorkin Knows Cricket

To follow on two recent posts — one from Kridaya on Bill Crosby and cricket, and the other from Clear Cricket on watching cricket in the USA — I wanted to recommend episode 21 in the first season of Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin‘s first major television breakthrough. (For foreign readers, Sorkin wrote The West Wing and Social Network, among other things, and is a God among men.)

This episode, called Ten Wickets, must surely stand out as the longest discussion of cricket on American television ever. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any YouTube clips (use Netflix to watch it instantly), but the episode revolves around a character’s attempt to understand the significance of a bowler taking ten wickets in a match. And it’s hilarious, because none of his colleagues knows a thing about cricket, except a) there’s tea involved, and b) it takes a really long time. (At one point, the character tries to equate a ten-wicket haul with a no-hitter, but the analogy fails when someone points out that a bowler can still concede runs while picking up his ten wickets.)

It’s interesting because when American colleagues discover my love for cricket, they will almost always mention either “tea” or “five days.” I don’t know why these two examples are always cited; yes, time is a major element of Test cricket, but it’s hardly definitional, given one-day and T20. Well, this is a challenge: you have two words/examples to describe cricket. What do you pick? (Adjectives not allowed.)


10 thoughts on “Aaron Sorkin Knows Cricket

  1. Giambusso says:

    Snatch and uh … oh f-ck it, tea.

    Interesting sidenote unrelated to the actual mechanics of cricket: Among the many corollaries between SN and the West Wing, (e.g. actual verbal exchanges, and plot lines repeated in both shows) Sorkin uses cricket as the means by which Danny Concannon discovers (spoiler alert) that President Bartlet ordered the assassination of Qumari defense minister Abdul Shareef. (Season 4, “Oh Holy Night”)

    Ok that was only interesting to a very small demo of West Wing/Sorkin geeks, but to them–very interesting.

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Have you ever considered, Giambusso, how much brain space you waste with this illuminating trivia? And how many times have you watched the West Wing to remember the cricket thing? (I need your DVDs, in other words.)

      • Giambusso says:

        Erez is with me. So far I feel very welcome on this blog despite your lack of hospitality, beamers (and my total ignorance of cricket).

  2. Two words: Sachin Tendulkar.

    Oh, seriously? Two words: graceful aggression.

    Also, agreed: Sorkin is God among men. Subservient to Tendulkar.

  3. Erez says:

    My first thought was bat and ball. This isn’t the first time Cricket has been mentioned in a Sorkin script. In the West Wing there was a political assassination authorised by the president which was accidently discovered by an airport employee who had his bat stored in a locker and came back for it.

  4. Krishna says:

    The Big Lebowski is threatened by big bad guys holding a cricket bat

  5. Alan says:

    There is another one from a Sorkin-written show: In episode 4 of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (The West Coast Delay), the method used to prove that a show is broadcasting live is to read out the current score of a cricket match taking place in India.

    There isn’t a direct cricket reference in The Social Network, but 25 minutes in, at a student disco, the music being played is 10cc’s “Dreadlock Holiday” – which of course contains the line “I don’t like cricket…I love it!”

  6. […] installment in my continuing series on cricket citations from Aaron Sorkin’s oeuvre (see here and here). If you watch the finale of season 1 (“What Kind of Day Has It Been“), […]

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