David Lister: Tweet your way to sporting failure

Cricketers intent on sharing their musings are just asking for trouble

Share
Related Topics

Great sporting conflicts sometimes earn their own nicknames. The most famous Ashes battle was the Bodyline series. I have a name for the current series. It's not quite as grand and menacing as Bodyline, though it's almost as painful. I call this series the Twitter Tests.

There is a new and strange phenomenon of sportsmen giving us their thoughts through Twitter, not even after the match has ended, but during the match, tweeting to the world their predictions for the next day's play. OK, they are normally pretty mundane – "It will be hard work for the groundsman" etc – but sometimes over the last week or two they have illustrated the fact that sportsmen have no sense of hubris.

The Today programme read out one England bowler's Twitter entry, saying he would like to take five wickets on the last day's play of the third Test. Inevitably, the whole team didn't even take five wickets that day. Why set yourself up for failure in that way?

It could have been worse. It was. A week earlier, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes tweeted that he had been dropped before the official team selection was announced. Then there was an injury and he could have been reinstated – had the selectors not been furious at his unauthorised tweeting. The Greeks would have appreciated that one too.

It's not just cricketers who are spending time with new technology when they could be training. Spurs footballer Darren Bent, in a less than brilliant career move, managed to insult his club chairman in the requisite number of Twitter words, most of them short ones. Have these guys worked out that it's not just their friends and fans who read their tweets?

It's a dangerous game, this playing with Twitter by sportsmen. And it's especially dangerous mid-series or even mid-match. What is it with cricketers wanting to convey their ambitions to the world before they even take to the field? Don't they realise that their words will come back to haunt them?

But there's something else that niggles me about the tweeting sportsmen. It's that I'm not sure I want to read their musings, and be reminded how prosaic they are. I want to think of them as heroes, men of few words but full of strategy, bursting with feats yet to be delivered. I want to picture them alone with their thoughts of an evening, silently planning the downfall of the enemy, not whingeing that they have been dropped, or saying like an 11-year-old to his mum, "Hope I take five wickets." I want the mystique of the aloof, superhuman sporting hero back. I don't want gossips with a grudge.

How much of that mystique might have disappeared if there had been Twitter in another age of sporting heroes: "You can forget me training for the United-City derby. I'm going to a club then back to her place" – George Best. "I'm aiming to score four in the final" – Geoff Hurst. "Mind your own business, lad. We'll do our talking on t'field" – Brian Clough.

That one, at least, I could relate to. I want my sporting heroes to be strong, silent, enigmatic and unpredictable. And such heroes don't tweet.

d.lister@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Fertility Nurse

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nicky Clarke has criticised the Duchess of Cambridge for having grey hair  

Letting one’s hair turn grey would be the most subversive Royal act

Rosie Millard
 

London’s foreign money bubble is bursting – but will we be better off?

Chris Blackhurst
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash