It’s been an interesting 36 hours, but one that has a silver lining.

No cricket for a day brought the silly squad out, and now everyone’s had their say, most notably about Pietersen, and less about the folly of Downton and the first plays of Colin Graves.

The South Africans did for Ireland in a big way, and the full test nation lobby has a little string to its bow.

There’s been the John Etheridge stuff which I’ve probably talked about too much. But it’s been revelatory.

Then there’s been another of our favourtie sponsored interviews, and Stuart Broad does little to disprove “the book” and its little take on our fading star.

But we don’t have perspective, we have guesswork, we have sneering superiority, we have arrogance. Oh well. Let’s move on. (oh dear, I sounded just like them).

Two games tonight, game threads to follow. I think we can say, without fear or favour, judging by hit rates and visitor numbers, that after a month re-establishing myself, the blog is back.



Let us go back to 26 November 1998. On that sad date Doug Ibbotson passed away. For those of a certain age, his columns in WCM were an entertaining and enlightening read. For the vast majority on here, you probably didn’t have a scooby who he was until this week. I’m not au fait with all the facts but I do believe his column in WCM was taken over by one Paul Newman. Now there’s a name we know and cherish. Invoking Doug Ibbotson’s legacy is up there with the most bizarre items of the last year in blogging, and I’ve had a few.

OK. So we’ve seen the events of the last 24 hours. John tweeted me a silly message. I took a little bit of umbrage at it, and replied. Then I got, frankly, a ton of old twaddle from John, objecting to my use of a picture of venerable old Doug as this blog’s “blavatar”. I’ve replaced it with one of Allan Stanford now, and am expecting a tweet from Norman Collier or Giles Clarke to say I’m reminding them of their dealings with this crook.

Then you lot stepped in. Thanks for the support and all that, but there’s no need, and while what you write is your own responsibility, I am not going to be split from the support I get. We all have views and I don’t agree with all of you all the time. I don’t want this to be an echo chamber. For personal reasons, I am not keen on Hillsborough references, for example. One thing doing this blog is that I’ve developed a marginally thicker skin, and am very solid in my position in writing my own views on the administration of the game in this country. I hear a lot of things that no-one told me about last year. I share them with you, or at least cast my views in weighing up the position at time. I’m not actually bothered at all by the “quite unpleasant” stuff because that’s water off a duck’s back. I’m not popular, I know that, among our writers such as they are bothered, but ask those who do talk to me online and they’ll give you a different view, I’m sure.

I am bothered with the bit John left out of his comment this morning – the bit about “guesswork”. This is one stage away from “conspiracy theorists” and our pigeonholing as a bunch of tin foil hat merchants. I’m not that and very comfortable in my own skin in that regard. Being challenged is still tricky for me, but I’m not underestimating the support behind me. As KP would say “it’s very humbling” (as would Stuart Broad). For instance, I’ve contended on here since the Dean Wilson tweet last year when he revealed that Downton was very approachable behind the scenes, that Downton was an awful public performer. I have said, at times, it is cowardice. I’ve said it all year long, despite the media assuring us in the early days he was “nice old Paul” and that he would be a refreshing new face. Now we see the media really turning on him for ducking out of the last press conference and sticking Joe Root up. Brenkley, who I’ve really laid into, was spot on in his piece (I don’t want to hate reporters, in the same way I don’t want to hate anyone). My “guesswork” seems to have been slightly more accurate than those who have their jobs in this industry. It might be luck, it probably is, but I negotiate in my day job and you need to try to read people – I suspect most of us do – and he seemed an obvious all style, no substance type to me.

We “guess” because you’ve been proved wrong, reporters, and with few exceptions we find it hard to take what is said without feeling let down. I’m incredibly pissed off that this Graves comment has focused on KP and not on the potential impact at the organisation he takes over. So we have more attack pieces on Pietersen – today’s one in the Guardian about pouring scorn on England is rich – and Selfey’s lament yesterday being the only one to really focus on Downton that I’ve seen. Yes, I read John’s piece in the Sun, too.

I say it once, I’ll say it again. This is not about KP, it’s about how the game is run, and how fans are excluded by many manners of means. Some try to paint me as something I am not (a KP fanboy – I love his batting, thought him being dropped was terribly wrong, and not sure I want to see him back). It’s not being bought here. I don’t doubt how little influence I have, but it’s funny how our agenda points still keep being raised. A year on “outside cricket” is still going strong. I suspect “positive influence” will be joining it. I’m certainly the first, and doubt I’m the second. But we are still here, different venue, same points.

Thanks for all the supportive comments. I’ll buy you a beer if we ever should meet……

(Note – this post was written on a mobile connection so no bells and whistles. Any edits will be this evening, where I’ll try to keep up with you lot and watch some more of Season 2 of House of Cards.)

PS – John, I lost my wallet in Adelaide in 2006. If you find it, lost in Glenelg, then please keep it safe for me.