Let’s Get The Message

I think it is time for some honesty, from me. Not that I’ve been dishonest, let me say, but perhaps I need to clear up a few things nonetheless. This is a really long piece, so you can pass over it if you wish. But I do this from time to time, and is part of my blogging make-up. I feel sometimes, that the message is not getting through. This blogger’s message. I will never tire in clearing up blatant misrepresentations of my views. I will not stand by when I am being lied about.

You can stop now if you want. Click on more, and there’s 3K words. You’ve been warned!

Enjoyment
I’m really not enjoying this Ashes series. Of course, most of those who don’t follow this blog avidly, or do and disagree and rage at what I say will contend that this is because I want England to lose. A certain tweeter said that this weekend. That would mean that I want Australia to win, and that can never happen. This would be like me saying I hate my own football team, but when it comes to a game against our deadliest rivals, I want them to beat us. I don’t. I can never want that.

I, and others, have been banging a drum for 18 months now since the sacking of someone I am supposedly obsessed with, but who I’ve barely discussed since the events of May. In that time we saw the beatification of our captain, a horrendous home loss to Sri Lanka, a victory against an India team that patently packed it in after Lord’s, one day disasters, the appointment of Moores, the reign of Downton, the outside cricket division line (see Giles Clarke in DOAG if you think that attitude is limited to Piers Morgan), the sacking of Alastair Cook as ODI captain when it was too late, the World Cup farce, the sacking of Moores due to the inability to beat a mediocre West Indies, and then the inability to beat New Zealand in a test series at home.

But as we know, one Ashes series, which we lead, and in my view should win comfortably from here, and all is right with the world. Looming on the horizon is a trip to the UAE and then to South Africa, but beating Australia is all that matters now. Of course it does. 

Support
So let me be honest with you. This is agony for me. I can put my England supporting record on the table with many people, and I am not backing down. I’ve done two Ashes tours and one to South Africa. I went to the Oval test until 2012, when I got up, and walked out, and vowed not to return there – note to all those who think my antipathy is solely because of KP. That test pre-dated Textgate and KP’s sacking. Watching Pietersen bat was about the only pleasure I was deriving from the England team, and even the 2013 Ashes seemed hollow, despite trying hard to convince myself that this was the sort of series win we would have killed for in the late 1990s.

It’s not easy for me, as it is for some, to put my feelings aside and just support England. I don’t blame those people, because I try really hard to understand them, but just can’t do that for myself. It’s the way I was brought up.This England team to me is Team ECB. George Dobell can go on and say “these are really nice guys”, but I can’t differentiate it from the authority that selected it. The right kind of family personified by the captain. That sort of thing.

Authority is great, if you respect it. There are leaders I have had who i would crawl over broken glass for, because there was mutual respect, and I recognised that that person had those qualities of leaders. I see with the ECB a total lack of respect for supporters of this game in England. Sure, the ECB have a new Pravda Twitter Feed, and the players are making more of an effort to recognise the supporters, but they’ll turn in on themselves when times go bad.

Meanwhile, our governing body cocks up its most sensitive issue (KP this spring), but massively more importantly is complicit in smashing the international game up into haves and have nots. It hides its content on Pay TV, which is getting more expensive, and thus, more exclusive. This has to have a knock-on effect. We played cricket in the street thirty years ago. You don’t see kids playing cricket in the street any more, like you did back then. The game’s a damn irrelevance on council estates. Ten years ago, the TV room in my office was packed with people watching the cricket; now I can put the Sky Go feed on my tablet and no-one stops to ask what is going on. I think we might have three people following it on the text feeds in my area of the office. This is a small sample size, to be true, but be honest folks, cricket is withering in this country. That’s aside from participation numbers going down and the sort of club cricket structure TLG was talking about a while back.

An Ashes win is nice, but the strategy is flawed. You know it is.

Papering Over The Cracks
So, I sit here, depressed at the game I love. I see an Ashes win papering over the gaping cracks. A short-term fix to a long-term malaise. Catching an Australian team in transition, with old players too rickety to play or be effective, and those with reputations not living up to them.We didn’t expect this, to be sure, but I’m disappointed in the way our visitors have played so far. I would have loved to see us beat them when they were playing well.

My natural ongoing mood will always seep across into this blog, and my attitudes, and this is being honest. At this time, not cricket-related, I’m in a bit of a funk. It happens. I may be casting my attitude to life etc into the blog as I always have done, and it may taint the picture.

There will be people who think, no, are convinced, that a win in the series means we are wrong to be so down on England and that it’s the KP issues that drive me. That we are wrong to think the ECB has done badly by the supporters. That we are wrong not to get behind a captain that was blatantly used as a propaganda tool by the same authority who told us we are outside of the game. That we are wrong about “my obsession with KP” as if this matters. That we are wrong to be against England winning. It’s genuinely hard to pull for this team knowing what is going to follow. We’ve seen it after every win (and thus recently before every loss) – triumphalism, goading, berating, ostracising, insulting. Point out a statistical fact, and you are accused of all sorts. It’s a nonsense.

Instead of berating me, and others, for feeling like that, ask yourself why someone like me, who isn’t well off, spent thousands of pounds following England on three tours when we lost all the time, feels like this? Really. Stop and think. If you seriously think it is all about Kevin Pietersen, you have not been reading this blog, or you just wish to wilfully misrepresent my position. I have never said those who want England to win are bad people – only when they throw missives my way and to others like me do I get truly angry with them – and that they should do one. and yes, I retaliate. To dismiss those who disagree would be the height of arrogance, and there are many things that I am, but arrogant really isn’t one of them. Not now.

That I get on, I think, with people like BigKev, who I’ve disagreed with but would love to share a pint with one day, and would love him to contribute more on here shows that. He’s been frustrated with me, but that’s blogging, and me with him, and that’s Twitter. But although he said I was a broken record on one Tweet (I saw that, sir!), he also never questions my commitment to England (I am glad you get that). I get that he, and people like him, can’t understand why we can’t separate ECB and England, and that’s the flow of life. He doesn’t drip poison as others do. He hasn’t gone to Steve James and said something along the lines of “DM me and I’ll let you know what they are really up to” as if all I’m out to do is cause trouble. You think I’m going to treat someone who sneaks around like that with respect? Sorry to pick you out Kev, but you are the best example I have of someone who I can disagree with, and know that we’ll settle and agree to differ. You know who the other one is.

I’ve made an effort not to do too many anti-ECB posts during the Ashes when this blog should be about the cricket. Still I still have had “KP obsession” lobbed at me. I’m not that thick skinned. That person is talking bollocks. That person lobs this obsession card when he professed to be “neutral” on the matter. I may not be the only one with plausibility issues. But I’ve never said I’m the font of all knowledge and my actions on this blog prove it. I want people to contribute.

I’ve involved lots of people on the Ashes panel, and got different views. I’ve loved that. The Leg Glance has added his polished words, and the blog has gone to another dimension in terms of output- TLG gets more of the purist appreciation than I ever did, and that’s great for the blog. In addition, he’s a top, top bloke. I’ve noticed media interaction has fallen off recently, which is an indicator that I think they believe the storm has passed. Jarrod Kimber’s excellent interview with The Full Toss, and his film, which I am yet to see, may raise the stakes for a bit, but the ECB strategy is clear, and is similar in the way “the book” was treated – say nothing. They hope the Ashes will be a success and that the vast majority of fans will take that euphoria and ignore the rest. They aren’t wrong in believing that will happen. As Clarke says, who is interested in cricket administration?

Here’s what I’m not:
•    A representative of England cricket supporters. No-one elected me. Perhaps others might remember that;
•    Anything other than an ordinary cricket fan;
•    Wanting to be a journalist;
•    Wanting to be famous;
•    Needing a following as some sort of personal weakness;
•    Without an ego. Of course I have;
•    Claiming a monopoly on knowledge;
•    A trouble-maker

Ask Lawrence Booth, when he told me my blog was mentioned in Wisden as I shut down HDWLIA. I requested he removed it. I didn’t want it. I really, truly, did not want it. Everyone who knows me, that knows this blog, think I’m crackers for that. As I said to TLG the other night, I’m the most publicity shy blogger out there! A paradox.

Pointless
As we are playing an Ashes series, in the sub-continent a series between Bangladesh and South Africa has concluded with two washed out draws. This has been viewed with barely a shrug in our media. A test nation, developing some skills, and indeed, working South Africa hard, had a two test series scheduled in the Monsoon season. That doesn’t develop Bangladesh at all, and it damages South Africa’s lead in the Test Rankings. No-one seems to care. No-one. What on earth are we doing having series like that played when there is an enormous weather risk? It’s utter madness. 

The sport needs more than the Big Three to survive. The Big Three see themselves as the saviours. For themselves. While India and Australia have, on the surface, structures that bring players through (although less so for Australia), England have a system where the base is getting narrower. Let’s be honest with ourselves. For once. Let’s not just live for the now, but for the bloody future.

Nostalgia
I’ve been reading some old Wisden Cricketer magazines, from 10-15 years ago, and while there is a noticeable drop in the quality of writing in the newer magazine, there’s also far less, on the surface, content than there was a decade ago. From the one I’m reading, Daniel Brigham’s article on the second season of T20, for example, is far beyond anything you see (certain people excepted, Tregaskis) in the recent editions. There’s an interesting comparison with today as well, as Brigham’s article has quotes from Tom Harrison, who seemed verbose compared to the mute he appears to have become in his current role. Hell, I even read Henderson’s snobby piece and it didn’t seem anywhere near as bad. I know nostalgia can be seen through rose-tinted specs (there’s a top article on throwing in the edition I’m currently reading) but it does seem better then. The England team had won two joyous tests against New Zealand and were about to win a third in their clean-sweep Summer. No-one really cared about Giles Clarke. The IPL was a pipe dream, with T20 in its infancy.

Maybe we should have looked closer then, but was there anything to see? Now I see a Cricketer magazine shorn of much decent writing, full of twaddle, with more spaced out text and fancy stuff. It eschews content for design. It doesn’t encourage anyone to look beyond the curtains. It fears a constraint on access. You can make your own decisions on its editor, it’s columnists, and the main writer who is the brother of a famous ex-England cricketer. As Dan Brigham said to me a while back “does anyone actually practice journalism on there any more?”

Disenchantment
I’m rambling off at tangents, but it’s all meant to hang together on a common theme. Disenchantment. It’s hard to keep up the passion I have for the sport when I feel so disenchanted with the way it is run. I can’t shelter behind “everything is ok if England win” because that’s more the football supporter tendency (something I am laughably accused of being like) and I don’t think that’s me. I can’t abide the leaks, I can’t abide a number of the press who have been willing accomplices to the powers that be, and I can’t abide feeling this way.
If England lose it doesn’t prove me right. I am not driven by wanting to be proved right. I’m driven by my love for the sport that brought me life experiences I would never have encountered. The joys and pain of club cricket. Seeing starlets playing while I was at school and seeing them become international cricketers. Seeing Australia. Seeing South Africa. I once stood on the square at Kensington Oval when it was building site, just to say I stood there, where the West Indian legends played. I went to Holders Hill, to the Wanderers when our partners thought we were nuts. I saw state games at the SCG and MCG. I marveled at Cape Town. I wondered just how much some people could drink at Trent Bridge! I’ve seen pretty much all the recent legends. I’m lucky.

Cricket did this. Cricket in all its forms, with all its countries, all its players, good or bad. I’m grievously worried for it. The same sort of attitude that casts a talented player out and then actively briefs against him (before and after) is the one that tells you, the paying public, to look over there when they are carving the sport up, so that future generations won’t go
to Kensington Oval to think about that’s where the great West Indians bowled, but lament the past for there is no future.

Nom de Blog
I’m really sorry that I care, but that it is different to others. I’m being honest with myself. I’m accused of hiding behind a nom de blog, and I’m wrestling with the thought of being more open about that. I would love to meet many of you for a beer, but don’t feel that I can – so far I’ve met, in person, just Maxie, The Leg Glance and Keyser Chris – until I remove that nom de blog. Sometimes I feel  it constrains me more than liberates.

I’ve now gone on for over 2000 words, and yet I feel I’ve only just touched the surface of what it is to write a blog at this time. It is rarely black and white. It is not that everything the ECB does is bad, because that’s arrant nonsense, but it is that cricket authorities need to pay heed not to the bottom line, but to the customer. I am not a fanboy. I’m 46 years old for heaven’s sake, although, yes, sometimes I act like a child! I used to think I was reasonably bright, but as time goes on, I’m beginning to seriously doubt that. While this blog has risen, my career prospects have nose-dived. While my spirit has risen with every piece of praise and every contributor’s comment, my spirit is sapped by real life. While I see great things on here, by clever, forensic people, who don’t rant and rage, by and large, but construct arguments and when playing the man, make sure they take the ball at the same time, I see charlatans in my real
life, abusing trust, playing the people, lying as a way of life. I feel a sense of despair in the main. It doesn’t matter how many times we are right – and boy, were we right on some key issues – we only have to be wrong once to be pounded.

Death of a Gentleman
Jarrod said it right last night on the absolutely superb conversation with James Morgan. The ECB and its acolytes should be embracing blogs, asking us what ails us, trying to find out what it is we rage against and try to bring us in. Some of the members of the press, and I’ll state openly one of them is Lawrence Booth, found that behind our ire and rage, we are decent human beings who care passionately and have a view they didn’t think was being heard. You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that being polite and charming was never going to work. I find that doesn’t work in many cases, and for me to act like this is out of character. You need to bang the bloody door down, cause a scene, throw the dead cat on the table. The ECB are about as likely to invite me to a cricket match of any importance, or a sit down, as I am to walk on the moon. I am a small voice. Not important. Not worth the time. But we resonated. Outside Cricket is now a phrase in the lexicon of the sport. We played our part.

I get criticised for bile. I got criticised for being over the top. I was called, still am called, obsessed. I’ve rarely been called incorrect on here. People will call me sad, call me bitter, use the KP thing as evidence saying I’m just a KP fanboy. I don’t apologise for supporting Pietersen. But this long since became being about him. What I don’t do is take authority on trust. When they tell me “I don’t need to know” or “I should know” when I don’t, I believe things are being concealed. You rarely conceal things like this for good reasons. You conceal them because there are weaknesses in your position. I feel let down by many who could have revealed more. That’s why I fed off the early few followers to have a blog that is on course for well over half a million hits in a year if we keep it going. We might not get there, but we tried. Hell, we tried.

Nearly 3000 words. Good grief. I may look back on this as a load of self-pitying, self-justification codswallop, as might you. But I think my regular readers recognise that this is me. I do bare my soul, my weaknesses and my self-doubt. I often think “is this all worth it?” I wonder how can I love a sport that patently doesn’t really care about the likes of me. Then I think of Lara. I think of Pietersen. I think of Botham. I remember an 80 odd Amla scored on an Oval Bunsen as genius at work. I remember seeing Vaughan’s 177 at Adelaide. I remember a century by Adam Hollioake, I think against Warwickshire. I could best describe as “visceral”. I remember the beauty of Arundel. I remember the walk down Vulture Street in 2002. I remember the pain of a diamond duck on Cup Final Day in 1982. I was there when Ramps got to 300. I remember all this, and a lot lot more. Less Death of a Gentleman, more death of an ideal. I believe in the sport, and I don’t like what’s happening to it, and who is running it, and who is reporting on it, and what they are doing. I can’t help but care.

Apologies for the length and rambling, but I hope you stuck with it.

Dmitri

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43 thoughts on “Let’s Get The Message

  1. Sean B Aug 5, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    Terrifically honest blog. I think most on here will agree with some, if not all of the points made

    Like

  2. Tony Bennett Aug 5, 2015 / 8:42 pm

    3,000 words from you are worth 3 billion by Lord Selvey, and that arse Pringle etc of course. Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. paulewart Aug 5, 2015 / 8:49 pm

    This fits better here:

    Dmitri, I hope you’re not getting to down about idiots on twitter (a form of social media I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole). You’ve created a wonderful alternative community for the more discerning thinkers, inadequate exiles, homeless hobos, bullied and banished from The Guardian’s increasingly hostile,jingoistic and dare I say, in a laboured attempt to sustain the home/less metaphor, provincial commentators, but above and below the line. Mark’s right, things have changed and sites such as this and The Full Toss have hastened said change whilst also providing a cathartic space for more critically engaged thinkers.

    The posts here attest to the wonderful environment you’ve created: you no longer have to go to war alone, nor do you have to constantly engage in snipe and countersnipe with idiots and sycophantic establishment types. They were wrong then, they’re still wrong, they’ll always be wrong, but they’ll never admit it. And you know what, on good days that doesn’t matter. What matters is that things have changed. You know you were right and we know you were right. It’s better to live on your feet than die on your knees.

    ‘Obsessive’ is little more than a lame meme for those who ‘don’t move on’ People take a position, frame it and repeat. If you have access to power and narrativity i.e. the media, it becomes common sense and all other positions are forgotten. That’s why blogs are so important, they provide space for counter narratives, for those of us (the vast majority, the great unwashed) with no access to narrativity (outside cricket). Understand this, and you will understand quite why those who think critically are persistently abused: access to narrativity is policed. I understand where you’re coming from, the decline of The Guardian, both writing and readership, has been a source of torment to me, but I won’t give up commenting there. You have to fight. It can be disheartening; one would think a pluralistic society could tolerate one vaguely left of centre media outlet, but it isn’t so, and the space for critical debate is being closed down before our eyes. That is why independent social media is so very, very important. It is vital for a functioning participatory democracy.

    Keep up the good work!

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fred Aug 5, 2015 / 9:39 pm

      Paul
      “I understand where you’re coming from, the decline of The Guardian, both writing and readership, has been a source of torment to me, but I won’t give up commenting there. You have to fight.”
      I’m struggling with that too. The Guardian is one of the best newspapers in the world, but it’s also shockingly bad sometimes. I’ve had to become a master at selective reading.
      I’m torn between the boycotting approach vs the change from the inside approach. I have a sick feeeling that everytime I respond to a provocative statement from Selvey or a subsequent commentor, there is a satisfied advertising executive somewhere saying “thank you!”. But there’s enough smart people commenting there to make it hard to ignore. In fact, I don’t know a better site.
      It’s such a shame a newspaper like the Guardian can’t get it right for cricket of all things.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OscarDaBosca Aug 6, 2015 / 7:15 am

        I no longer comment on the guardian because of the rabid mob who pounce on every disagreement with (ironically) zealotry and bile. You just aren’t allowed to disagree with Lord Selvey (unless you are Vic Marks, whose columns I still enjoy).

        A friend of mine is banned from commenting because he used to continually raise the question of hypocrisy under any guardian article regarding tax evasion and off shore companies (the guardian’s parent company is an offshore tax evader, and lots of their leading opinion writers recieve payment into offshore tax efficient/evading limited companies).

        Comment is free unless you disagree with us.

        I also hate that their political pieces btl are full of commenters calling other commenters ‘vermin’ and ‘scum’ when people disagree. It is somewhat dehumanising and an unfortunate reflection on the way society is going.

        Disagreements here btl are rare, but when they happen it doesn’t degenerate into slanging matches and that is a reflection on our kind host and his atttitude atl.

        Liked by 2 people

      • paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 7:26 am

        Spot on Oscar, lamentably.

        Like

      • paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 7:32 am

        The calculating bullies who close down any kind of critical engagement with the refrain ‘Putinbot’ when anyone dares to deviate from The Guardian’s hopelessly biased and uncritical line on the events in Ukraine was a chronic and perfect example of your point. This isn’t a political post, btw, and I’ll take it no further, but it’s about how public space is being closed down by bullies.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Aug 6, 2015 / 8:16 am

          The problem is that we, those who are critical, are seen as the bullies. That’s what irks. Bullies don’t say sorry when they are proved wrong. Bullies don’t invite you on here to discuss. I have no power except this blog. Hardly news international.

          Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 8:23 am

        Do bullies ever say sorry Dmitri?

        Like

      • paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 8:53 am

        I actually had a reasonable and fairly long running debate with AgeingAlbion last week on Gooch and the rebel tourists. It was quite remarkable for a Guardian debate: no personal abuse, no ‘move on’, just two adults inching towards compromise. I note this only because it’s so rare.

        I was reminded of this because of your post and the discussion about bullies. I do get the impression that the bullying, military culture commenced under Gooch’s captaincy and has continued, the Fletcher interregnum aside, ever since. The man has left a toxic legacy from apartheid to Gower to a series of notoriously unwelcoming dressing rooms, to the Flower/Cook regime. We discussed whether he’d ever expressed misgivings for touring South Africa in his prime, Ageing Albion was of the opinion that Gooch had expressed regret at the way he was treated (he had threatened to sue the TCCB over the ban) but not about his participation in the tour. These are the people who run English cricket, and Selvey, Pringle, Hughes et al are in love with them.

        Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 6, 2015 / 8:56 am

        You might even regard them as “Great Traitors”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Aug 6, 2015 / 9:53 am

        PaulE, I was surprised when I read Cook’s autobiography recently to discover just how much he owed to Gooch, who had not only always backed him at Essex but had previously arranged for him to go on training camps when he was a schoolboy cricketer, paying the fees out of a foundation he has for that purpose. This was of course very generous and good of him, and no doubt other players have similar debts of gratitude to people who’ve helped them. I just find it interesting how often Gooch crops up and how far his influence reaches.

        Like

    • amit Aug 7, 2015 / 5:05 am

      Truth is that most people find it easy to be jerks on the anonymous posts btl.
      There’s just no accountability and in most cases, there’s no personal relationship, so being vapid (or even rabid), criticizing others and going over the top becomes very easy. These same people are unlikely to be as rude in person. Their online persona is just a way to vent the frustrations; stuff they can’t get off their chests in daily lives.
      I think of it as drawing a line in sand, based on one’s individual beliefs, and as a contributor, it’s the the only line you are judged by. There’s no other logic / reason to it. That’s possibly why even DP, Selvey and people of their ilk, as annoying and condescending as they are, do not really matter. They indulge in name calling and we know why.
      So, taking them seriously would, in most cases, be pointless.

      You (we) know what you think and these views can’t be suppressed any more.
      This glorious place called world wide web is a great leveler. 🙂
      The “invention” of blogs must surely rank as among the best things to happen to society 😉

      Like

  4. paulewart Aug 5, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    Oh and I meant to add. The difference between 2005 and today? 7 players from state schools.

    Like

  5. Fred Aug 5, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    Very interesting post.
    My first comment is that since your blog has apparently taken off very strongly in the last year ot two, and I suspect with all respect it’s not because of aspriation to journalistic heights, the dancing girls or the loyalty card scheme, then you have clearly touched a nerve regarding how people view cricket. Whatever else can be said, and wherever you go from here, you have certainly identified something real.
    Secondly, I was quite stunned to hear the Kimber podcast today. I know he’s a self styled rebel, and I also have gathered that he’s pretty smart, but I was surprised at how DOAG has become a mission for him, and how he won’t just be moving on to his next project, but rather taking it as a starting point for addressing what ails cricket. His comments in the final moments about “remember, there are millions of us and there are only three of them”, and “cricket is the second biggest sport in the world”, were striking. In mention this in the context of this blog, because if all the points are joined up, then you get real momentum. You get a genuine and effective alternative to the officially controlled game.
    I experience most of my cricket now outside of officially sanctioned channels, I watch a computer video feed because no one bothers to feed live coverage into continental Europe (CA used to, but they stopped), I find blogs more useful that official sites, and while I was lukewarm on testmatch sofa (but full marks for the effort), I caught a bit of WhiteLineWireless the other day, and it sounds very interesting.
    So, Kimber’s comments chime with me, there is a great game that is not only not being exploited, it’s being hidden by the administrators, they are creating barriers to the exposure and growth of the game. I don’t know where Being Outside Cricket will go from here, (aside form immortalising that odious phrase) but I know it’s just one point in a bigger picture, and it will certainly play it’s part in forming crickets future, indeed it has already.
    Thirdly, Dmitri, so your job/life is a bit tough at the moment, you fight the good fight on this blog, and then you tussle on twitter. I think your quality of life would increase enormously if you stopped the twitter stuff. but that’s just my view:)

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2015 / 10:41 pm

      Fred,

      Thanks. Twitter is a useful vehicle for this blog. I can get to interact with people that are useful for me to do so to get fuel for the posts. I also am one of those who will fight my corner if I believe people are slating me for no good reason. I will not engage directly with them on that neutral venue. They’ll be taken to task on here. Come here and say it to my “face” if you will. I’m not having the loyal crowd on here called a “sad bunch” or a “small gang” in an insulting manner. We damn well fucking care. And pardon my swearing.

      But it might be time to temper the Twitter usage. I’ve virtually stopped reading books / kindles in the morning for checking the feeds. Time to smell the roses.

      This blog is not going anywhere, anytime soon. Never fear about that.

      Like

      • Fred Aug 5, 2015 / 11:13 pm

        Dmitri
        fair enough, everyone has to use or ignore the beast that is twitter in his own way.

        Like

  6. Arron Wright Aug 5, 2015 / 10:17 pm

    Great stuff. I for one would be bereft without this blog, reduced to trading insults with those who would defy Statsguru and whitewash nearly a quarter of someone’s Test career. #tinytinyblot

    I see the Guardian is getting its “Cook redemption” headlines in early. Not that you needed proof that you’re right about the way things will go in the event of victory.

    Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 5, 2015 / 10:20 pm

      BTW, don’t go to the bottom of the Selvey thread. wctt is being an even bigger prick than usual.

      Like

      • SimonH Aug 5, 2015 / 10:42 pm

        With a lead-in like that, bet I’m not the only one who straight over to have a look!

        Feeling a bit dirty now though – and not in a good way…..

        Like

      • OscarDaBosca Aug 6, 2015 / 7:25 am

        I love the capitalisation of great traitor…he really needs to get over himself.

        Like

      • Arron Wright Aug 6, 2015 / 8:22 am

        Now we have this:

        “I think you mean ‘The key difference between him and Lyth is respect’. Lyth has it.”

        No-one on those boards is more obsessed with anyone than he is with Pietersen.

        Like

      • paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 8:27 am

        He prefers scapegoating to sport. I wonder what he’s going to do with all those voodoo dolls when KP retires?

        Advice:don’t engage. He only brings KP up to provoke a response. He will then call you a KP obsessive for responding to his obsessive post and when pulled up on it, will ‘move on’. He’s nothing more than a troll.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus Aug 6, 2015 / 8:28 am

          I don’t respond on there any more. It’s really not worth it.

          Like

  7. Mark Aug 5, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    I have never been a “my country right or wrong” type of person. It seems like a fast road to tyranny. In addition, my experience is that those people who believe in “my country right or wrong” are usualy the first to kick up a fuss if they can’t get what they want.,

    I hear what you are saying Dmitri. Supporting England is interpreted by the powers that be as support for the ECB. Which it certainly isn’t. I love cricket but hate most of the people who run it. I used to love football,but that love affair has wained as the monster that is the Premiership has grown in a hideous grotesque. I see the big clubs now as nothing more than corprate enterprises. You might as well as be supporting HSBC or Tesco or Barclays or BP. Maybe it’s just me but as the money gets bigger and bigger the outcome seems less important. There are very few matches that have a sudden death feel about it. Everything is about maximising revenue. The almost hysteria promotion to the start of the season has a desperate feeling to it. This has now infested cricket with the so called big 3 stitch up.

    You may have to consider walking away Dmitri. it really is not worth beating your self up about it. That might mean stopping the blog (I hope that is not the case) but don’t let it destroy your life. The ECB are not worth it. Nor are the army of muppets who demonstrate everyday how easy it is to spoon feed people with shit, and how much more they prefer it to reason. Not worth ruining your life for. If you can’t accept the way the game is going walk away. It’s the games loss. I may not be far behind you.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2015 / 10:36 pm

      I’ve just watched Death of a Gentleman.

      If you don’t get it, people, you never will. Watch Clarke’s performance in it. Dismissive, contemptuous, arrogant, venal, he makes my skin crawl. I don’t really want to join the list of people who have reviewed it, but if you get the chance, you should watch it. At one point Clarke points out that he does this “unpaid” and it is “very time consuming”. No-one’s bloody forcing you to do it.

      His message is simple – don’t worry your pretty little heads about administrators. None of your business, and no-one is interested. There’s your message, those of you who decry this blog as being a rabid anti-ECB vehicle, unfocused and full of bile. He’s telling you to eff off. Pay your tickets, and STFU.

      Lovely. I’m glad I’m on the side I am.

      Like

      • Mark Aug 5, 2015 / 10:56 pm

        Clarke typifies the vultures who have come into sport. They see fans as deluded customers who can have their love of the game milked for all its worth. They want your passion as a fan, but they don’t want any input from you. Shut up and just keep consuming. They are betting on enough people not walking away.

        I would love to see Newcastle fans not turn up for the first game of the season at home. An empty stadium, and the giant extended finger to Mike Ashely. It won’t happen of course. Because they are fans not customers. ” Love my club right or wrong” and the owners just love that fan loyalty. It’s making them very rich.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2015 / 11:01 pm

          Bang on, Mark.

          I have a post on that sort of thing in mind. 27 years ago my club were just about to start their first season in the top flight. At a point just before Easter we were third. At the end of the season we finished above Manchester United, managed by Sir Alex Ferguson. Now? No chance. That deck is stacked, and the only way in is a mega-rich, who gives a shit how they got their money, individual. I can barely watch this version of the game now.

          Like

      • Pontiac Aug 6, 2015 / 2:38 am

        The cricket is a metaphor for a lot of other things happening in the world; that’s a large reason why I’m here where compared to most I don’t have any justification to be.

        And, well, don’t stop struggling. The struggle justifies itself.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Rohan Aug 5, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    Dmitri you hit so many nails on the head in that entry that I lost count. I can only talk for myself (although I would guess many on here agree), but you perfectly explain how many of us feel and view the current state of the game.

    I found myself nodding and agreeing with every paragraph. For me, the way I feel now about cricket, is worryingly similar to how I felt about football 12 to 15 years ago. It is now a game I struggle to enjoy, whereas I used to adore it; I followed my team everywhere!

    I hope I don’t end up the same way with cricket, I don’t think I will, but much as you, I am struggling to find joy in the Ashes. Where I have found solace is in the individual performance of certain players, who seem free of and separate from the team, ECB shackles and general corporate rubbish. I hope you too have been able to enjoy individual performances!

    I guess we all now have to accept Jarrod Kimber’s challenge and hold the governing bodies to account, more so than has already been done. Lobby our MPs etc.

    Like

  9. MM Aug 5, 2015 / 11:18 pm

    Hey LCL. You’re alright, mate. Keep on going.

    We all get vexed by the bollox swirling around our lovely sport but I’ve recently found out that it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. (Not my words). You carry on lighting candles, dude. Shine a light on all their wrongness.

    FIFJAM will continue doing his jolly roadshows and rent-an-anecdote punditry. FICJAM will continue answering questions that no-one except he has asked. Selvey will continue to squirt out words like they’re dysentery. Pringle will continue to tweet bitterness in the hope it’ll mask the dying of his talent. Just pity their well-paid delusion and light another fecking candle.

    Like

  10. metatone Aug 6, 2015 / 12:37 am

    I feel conflicted about this series too.
    I could never (having lived Down Under) support the Australian team.
    And I’m happy for Root and Finn and some others.

    But the grassroots are contracting. Sky still monopolises coverage.
    We’re not developing bowlers to compete on dry pitches. (Witness Lords.)
    We appear to still be dabbling in cortisone as a short term fix.

    Like

  11. paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 6:46 am

    Oh, and reading between the lines, and well aware that it’s none of my business, it might be time for you to consider changing jobs. Sounds like you feel as though you’re being taken for granted: never good.

    Like

  12. paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 7:12 am

    Apply to cricket and the current state of journalism:

    Public opinion is a dim bully, and moderate Labour needs to be its mate so it beats someone else up instead. Is that right? I think that’s right.

    Like

  13. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 6, 2015 / 7:34 am

    Dmitri/LCL there were so many different parts to that message but I think I will concentrate on your twitter/social media detractors. I don’t think I need to concentrate on several media pundits because they have consistently made such public idiots of themselves. They (the social media) have a go at your support for Pietersen but the problem is that they have a clear and obvious bias to certain folk, be they the current captain of the England side or even more ridiculously the cricketing establishment. They couldn’t make it more clear how much they dislike the questioning of the set-up when as you have so rightly pointed out Pietersen was merely a symptom of the ECB management’s inadequacy on so many levels.

    On CWOTV the other day they go on about how ‘everyone is talking about cricket’. What utter b*ll*cks! The only people who tend to talk about cricket that I know happen to be cricket fans. I don’t get that many folk talking to me about cricket like they did in 2005 when THAT series genuinely did capture the imagination of the wider public and folk who knew I was a fan started talking to me about it even if they were not fans themselves. We all know the reason why.

    Keep the faith!

    Like

  14. Arron Wright Aug 6, 2015 / 7:49 am

    By the way, ten years ago today the south Birmingham ground witnessed the best day’s cricket I have ever seen in my life.

    I very much doubt any England supporter was anywhere near feeling the kind of conflict articulated by Dmitri/LCL here. I certainly wasn’t. I celebrated the eventual result on Sunday 7th with a wildness that almost shocks me still. Nor was there remotely that kind of cynicism about the team, management or board. The press, possibly, but only because they decided to dump all their shit on Ashley Giles after England’s second defeat in nineteen Tests, and were quite rightly told where to get off. I’m still doing my ten-year-anniversary DVD watch, so last night I watched him take 3-78 (including Ponting and Clarke) and do a post-match interview with Mark Nicholas in which he was asked “Did you say anything you regret?”, and he simply said “No.” There is, it should go without saying (Mr Cricketer editor), absolutely not the slightest comparison between the attitude of the press towards Alastair Cook in 2014/15 and Ashley Giles in 2005. To be fair to Hughes, by the way, he was the only one of C4’s experts who predicted an England first innings lead after day one of Edgbaston 2005.

    One of my biggest bugbears – shared by several commenters on here – is the revisionism surrounding 2005. This morning I put “ten years ago Ashes” into Twitter and saw one person saying that Cook, the 2015 Bell, Root, Buttler, Anderson and Broad would all get into the 2005 side. Suffice to say I agree unequivocally with only one of those (Root, for the 2005 Bell), would be prepared to debate three others and am implacably opposed to the first two. We didn’t play on paper or Statsguru then, sunshine, and nothing that happened off the pitch detracted from what took place on it. Absolutely the greatest sporting event of my lifetime, and nothing that’s happened in English cricket since even comes close. Sorry Giles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Aug 6, 2015 / 8:43 am

      Great post Arron, which raises an interesting issue: did anyone feel conflicted in 2005? Football fans and long suffering partners perhaps who suddenly grasped how exciting cricket could be. Australians perplexed by positive English people, maybe. I remember watching Hoggy take his late three fer in a Walkabout bar (the first and last time) in Brighton. The atmosphere was more like a football match, people were crowding around the giant screen cheering, Aussies and England supporters enjoying each other’s company.

      Like

    • Arron Wright Aug 6, 2015 / 9:17 am

      “did anyone feel conflicted in 2005?”

      The closest I ever came was being narked that they dropped Thorpe for Bell.

      Like

  15. thebogfather Aug 6, 2015 / 10:07 am

    Everything you’ve said, and so much of the replies too – keep a smile then keep chipping away !

    Like

  16. BoerInAustria Aug 6, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    Thank you for this post and this blog – This site offers a sanctuary of sanity in very worrying times for cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

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