Boxing Day in Durban — here’s how to make the most of the glorious cricket

2013-12-21 00:00

WE can count ourselves lucky that our sports stars don’t rest over the Christmas period, for if they did, then what would we do on our lazy weekends without anything to watch on the box?

The PSL boast a full schedule this weekend before going into hibernation mode until the back end of January, while the English Premier League is ballistic at this time of year with fixtures crammed together up until New Year’s Day. Rugby may be fast asleep as players spend their holidays bulking up for a new Super Rugby campaign, and it is on the cricket field where we are truly blessed at this time of year.

Two Boxing Day Test matches are pencilled in for this year — and they feature the four best sides in world cricket right now [regardless of the Aussies being ranked number five in Test cricket]. The Proteas host India in Durban, while the Ashes — though over as a contest — continues at the MCG.

The Boxing Day Test in Durban is pretty much the most fun you can have. If the weather plays its part then the flowing beer, bikinis and festive cheer all combine to make it one of the most memorable days on the cricketing calendar. Or any calendar, actually. And, with a little bit of luck, the cricket won’t be too bad either.

So, here are some top tips for those of you looking to attend day one of the BDT, as we like to call it.

1. If you’re there for the cricket, sit on the stands. Let’s be honest, the banks at the BDT are generally occupied by university students, or those who wish they were university students, on holiday, who are more concerned with a day of beer and sun that they are with cricket. If you are a purist, it is best that you avoid this crowd, for your own sanity. You also ensure that you escape the harsh Durban sun.

2. Only bring your girlfriend along if she is (a.) a cricket nut and (b.) okay with you being in the company of half-naked women for eight hours. The last thing you want is to spend your BDT explaining the fundamental rules of cricket to your spouse. Also, warn her about the half-naked women.

3. Handle your alcohol. We are South Africans, and we are a proud sporting nation. A bit of banter is par for the course, but don’t become “that guy” who gets drunk and starts shouting profanities at Zaheer Khan on the fine leg boundary.

Let’s respect our opposition, and save your beer-fuelled rage for another day.

4. You’ll need lots of money. Depending on how you want your day to go, you’ll need to budget accordingly. The beers won’t be cheap, and there will be numerous food stalls on offer. If you’re up for it, Hollywood Bunnies have a stall and you won’t find a cheaper, tastier way to enjoy your lunch.

5. Pack a goody bag. This will include a cap/hat, shades, binoculars [if you fall into the purist category], a blanket or camping chair [if you fall into the drunk university student category], sun block and some kind of cricket paraphernalia. Really, anything will do. A bat, ball … anything. This way, you look like you at least have a vague interest in cricket.

6. Hope that it doesn’t rain. In all honesty, you can probably laugh off any of the above scenarios. It is, after all, summer in Durban, and rain is likely to have the most fun at the BDT.

The weather forecast says there is a chance of showers. But those of us who have been following the Dolphins for the last two seasons know that this is more a certainty than a possibility. Somebody [winking to the heavens] please prove me wrong.

Being as serious as the silly season allows, it is fantastic for Durban to have the Boxing Day Test back.

It is part of the city’s make up — the same way that the BDT in Oz is a highlight of Melbourne’s year.

Now it’s up to the KZN public to make sure it doesn’t leave again.

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