Cup of tea, anyone?

Already by that tour in 1905, the tea interval had been through both acceptance and rejection. Two years earlier, there was an attempt to stop it altogether, but captains seemed to love it, especially fielding captains who noticed that a wicket tended to fall soon after the break. We don't know what umpires thought of this storm in a teacup, for they were not consulted.

updated: February 10, 2013 19:53 IST
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One of the many things about cricket that amused the comic genius Groucho Marx was the fact that at some point in the day, the two teams battling intensely on the field abruptly broke for tea. There is something archaic about the tea interval in a cricket match - perhaps it is a concession to modernity that the limited-overs games do not have a tea interval stitched into the fabric. It is not as if the urge to have a cup of tea disappears once you wear coloured clothes.

Archaic maybe, but sacred too. The tea interval is as much a part of cricket as the toss before the start of the game and the appeal for leg before. Theoretically, you could do away with either, but then why would you? Interestingly, Test match cricket preceded the tea interval, which means that around 1881-82 when it was first tried out in Australia, it must have caused an uproar.

Few changes in cricket have arrived without an uproar, and although television pundits did not exist then, you can imagine the pro-tea and the anti-tea factions battling it out, throwing into the mix such elements as patriotism, the paying customer, the rhythm of the game and the absurdity of a 20-minute break about two-thirds of the way through a day's play.

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  • Cricket
  • Lalit Modi
  • Ravishankar Jayadritha Shastri