Some eccentricities survive, though, like the Wisden Cricketer's Almanack, an annual compilation of the sport's facts and figures that means nothing to most people and everything to the die-hard cricket follower. Founded in 1864, Wisden has been published annually ever since, irrespective of minor inconveniences like world war.
|David Inshaw, 'The Cricket Game'|
By the time Eric Ravilious was commissioned to create this memorable cover illustration he was a renowned master of wood engraving, with a taste for old-fashioned subjects that made him the ideal man for the job. He also played cricket once in a while at the village ground in Castle Hedingham, Essex.
|WG Grace memorial, Bristol|
Another artist inspired by cricket is David Inshaw, one of Britain's finest living painters. During the 1970s and 1980s he painted serene, sometimes haunting, gardens and rural scenes with extraordinary attention to detail, and in this painting captures the beauty of the village game when the sun is shining and the match is evenly poised.
|Sally Prior, 'Beach Cricket'|
And the sport continues to inspire artists working in diverse media and styles, from sculpture reminiscent of Giacometti (not a cricketer so far as I know) to paintings by players like Jack Russell. Former England captain Michael Vaughan made some very odd paintings a couple of years ago, by whacking paint-covered balls at a canvas in the manner of a cricket-crazed Jackson Pollock.
More interesting is glass artist Lucy Amsden, who in 2009 created a series of pieces that recreate famous cricketing moments in graphic form, using a series of colour-coded balls to show a passage of play. In one, she recreates a venomous over bowled by Andrew Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes series, while the piece shown here represents the final passage of play in the inaugural T20 cup final. Good to see that cricket fans are as eccentric as ever...