Certainty In Reflection

Hello all. This is a personal blog post, so please forgive me.

It has been a week of huge change for me. This time last week I was preparing to represent my employers in Hong Kong for a major event, and yes, it was an exciting but also daunting prospect. I appreciate the opportunities, and welcome the challenges it proposed. You’ll forgive me if blogging took a decided second place! I met people I hadn’t seen in a decade, I met a great mate who emigrated and is a massive success (and I’m proud of what she has become) and I travelled with a top bloke too. I even ticked one off the bucket list with a flight on an A380! I came back on Thursday, had a wonderful night out with my longest work friends last night, which got quite emotional (and I do emotions) because 2016 looks a year of immense change.

So it was a time for reflection and decision. I will be honest with you, I’ve had thoughts of phasing the blog out. I find I lack the sheer energy I had a few months ago. You’ve heard this refrain a bit, I know. But what keeps me going is the energy in the comments, the sheer love of the game from you lot, the sheer despair in your voices as you see the game waning inexorably in front fo your eyes. TLG’s brilliant last piece should be read by the cognoscenti. It captures a school of thought that may not be universal, but is the preserve of a lot of us. We’re sick and tired of being told that cricket is in rude health when in England it patently isn’t. We’re sick of the international game being vandalised before our eyes. And we notice what is going wrong beneath the surface, beneath the England cricket team. It’s more, much more than a KP Fanboy rant-a-thon, but a cry for help. A wail of hopeless despair. While the ECB release their fan figures and congratulate themselves on record numbers, the game disappears further from the public eye. It’s going to turn what was our second or third largest sport to a minority one in a decade.

But this isn’t to replicate TLG’s piece. It’s to get to the heart of what I feel this week.

I’ve not been a happy person for a while now. It’s not in my nature to be particularly happy at the best of times. The blog isn’t a place to cheer me up. But on landing in Hong Kong, and after meeting a great old friend who has done so well for herself since she left the organisation I’m with, I thought that it must be more important to do what you want, as much as you want. Great friendships are precious, and through this blog I’ve already met some top people. So in the hope I’ll meet some more, I’m going to continue to do what I can. But also, I am going to write what I want, not what might play to some mythical gallery.

TLG and I went for a beer a couple of weeks ago. What came out of that discussion is that we remain committed to this project, that we would do our best to be at our best, and yes, we’ve some long-term projects that we’re not sure how to play at this time. I will also not be meeting any journalists, not that they give a shit anyway.

In an interview I read a few months ago, a prominent player said that he knew that a large percentage of people hated him, and that a lot of people liked him. He’d spend his time on the latter and not give a shit about the former. This blog seeks to be a forum for the disaffected. A place where international cricket is debated and pulled apart. It is a place to put our views on those that run the game, or report the game. Want to be a fanboy, an apologist, then good luck. Bring your A game.

This is not a post to invoke “please carry on” because you lot wouldn’t do that. It’s for some understanding if gaps between posts are a bit longer than they used to be.

Dmitri Award #2 will be with you shortly. And I lied……



13 thoughts on “Certainty In Reflection

  1. jennyah46 Dec 12, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    What you and TLG do is very worthwhile. Your blogs and the debates they inspire are such a necessary aspect to the game that we love and wish to protect.

    It doesn’t have to be every other day, just when you have time. I will look forward to your posts whenever you are able to produce them.

    I’m half asleep so I hope this makes some kind of sense.

    Go well Dmitri.


      • jennyah46 Dec 13, 2015 / 4:02 pm

        I value opinions at odds with my own! How else do I expand my thinking? 🙂


  2. Mark Dec 13, 2015 / 10:50 am

    I’m glad you have decided to keep going Dmitri. I’ve sensed for a while in your writing that your enthusiasm for the game has not been in it. And that’s before you add in work, and life commitments. However, please don’t feel obliged to keep it going just for us out of a sense of loyalty. It’s your site, and if you feel you don’t have the time or inclination then please pull the switch.

    What I would say, there is an alternative to the two extreme models that you mention (either shutting down or providing new content every day/week.) And that option is hibernation. The site is up and running now. There are many sites that don’t update very often. If you feel you have nothing to say for six months then fine. If you don’t want to have to keep monitoring the comments section you can always disable it for as long as you like. You have our email so you can always send out an automatic alert to inform us the site has a new article if it has been in hibernation for a while.

    LGs piece touched a nerve with me because I think the sport is in decline in this country, probably terminal. The so called owners of English cricket are furiously selling off the family silver to keep it going. Heck, they are selling off most of the estate never mind the jewellery. And they are spending the proceeds on new Ferraris and fine wines for themselves.

    How long Sky will carry on bailing out English cricket when it produces an audience that is dwarfed by professional Darts is anyone’s guess. Sky have payed out a huge amount for Premiership footballs latest deal starting next year. I can’t help thinking they are going to have to raise prices on customers to make it worthwhile. If many start cancelling in this present economic uncertainty then cricket may soon get the cold shoulder. In terms of audience numbers English cricket doesn’t earn its keep. It is effectively being subsidised by football fans. But for how much longer? Hence the slash and burn of the administrators.

    This blog may well have a ringside seat for the decline and fall of The English cricket empire.


    • d'Arthez Dec 13, 2015 / 12:58 pm

      I agree with Mark.

      It is hard to keep going when everybody keeps kicking you in the teeth. I find my own enthusiasm for the game waning, simply because no one in a position of authority gives a flying fornication about the game, the fans, the supporters or even the players. It seems that this trend is accelerating in England (Sky is playing a role in that, the ECB is, and so are the press).

      How much support does Ireland get over 8 years (the TAPP funding they got amounted to about 850 000 pounds)? Leicestershire and other non-performing counties get sixteen million pounds over that period of time. In terms of broadcasting value that is close to zero. How long Sky will be interested in propping up the counties is anyone’s guess.

      Look at the West Indies to see where it can lead to. And they still have not reached rock bottom. Not by a long shot. Unaccountable self-serving governance, players who are not that good (which of the current players would get into the side of say 1998?) and can pursue more lucrative options, and good old plain organisational incompetence. That is surely a winning recipe to keep supporters caring and involved.

      I have not watched a single passage of play since Day 1 at Nagpur. And I don’t feel particularly like I have missed something. The walkover tour? If such a limited batsman as Shaun Marsh, who can’t even average 40 in FC cricket, can score 182, against a non-existent attack, imagine what a Ponting in his prime would have done. Or a Hussey, Martyn, Hayden, Clarke. This is not sport. This is just ticking boxes. And the authorities wonder why people are not that intrigued by glorified box-ticking, especially when ticket prices are extortionate …

      The lack of basic interrogation of what is plain to see is so lacking, by any of the powerful stakeholders (media, ECB, Sky), is glaring. Spindoctoring at its worst: portraying things rosier than they are for PR-purposes, and then believing the bullsh*t you produce, because the alternative (disbelief) is unpalatable. Angus Porter (the outgoing chief of the PCA) is a case in point. He does not even know the facts that he is supposedly talking about. He makes up facts, just to pretend that he actually cares about anything (like the ECB caring about the supporters or the FTP). He does not, or at least does not convince me one bit. And I doubt I am the only one who is as skeptical.

      Problems exist in Zimbabwe, are likely to become more prominent in South Africa as well, and political issues / interference in Sri Lanka and Pakistan are never far away. Some of these problems are not for a cricket board to resolve (such as the security situation in Pakistan). But in terms of sustaining cricket, let alone expanding it, things are not looking good at all.

      So, in conclusion, I can well imagine that you’re struggling a bit with the motivation to keep going. Don’t feel you owe us a thing Dmitri (and TLG). We appreciate all you’re doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM Dec 15, 2015 / 11:09 pm

        “This is not sport. This is just ticking boxes. And the authorities wonder why people are not that intrigued by glorified box-ticking, especially when ticket prices are extortionate”

        Double damn straight, brother.


    • LordCanisLupus Dec 13, 2015 / 4:04 pm


      This part of Peter Hayter’s piece on ESPN Cricinfo is interesting:

      The standard of reporting remains excellent, but the desire of the cricket authorities in general, and the ECB in particular, to manage the news, manipulate the media and, on occasions, be downright obstructive, is unhealthy and unhelpful. So is the complicity of those journalists who have allowed the daily news briefing to form the basis of their coverage. Aiding individual requests for access is almost impossible. But if anyone has bothered to buy all the newspapers after non-match days in recent summers, they would quickly have realised they were reading the same story, featuring the same quotes, in the same order. The reader will also be told at the end of such a piece, and sometimes halfway through it, that so-and-so was speaking as a “brand ambassador” for whichever sponsor’s turn it was to have the use of an England player – information that will mean nothing to readers. Those who work in public relations call it churnalism. Journalism, it is not. We have all dined at the same trough. But it did come as a shock to be told by an ECB media officer, soon after I had secured an interview for the first issue of The Cricket Paper with England captain Andrew Strauss (by ringing him up and asking him nicely), that in future I would not be allowed access to any England cricketer unless the piece was arranged in conjunction with a sponsor. I admit I have not always stuck rigidly to the rules.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 13, 2015 / 6:59 pm

        Wow! well done Peter Hayter.

        Liked by 1 person

    • MM Dec 15, 2015 / 11:06 pm

      “How long Sky will carry on bailing out English cricket when it produces an audience that is dwarfed by professional Darts is anyone’s guess”

      Damn straight, brother.


  3. paulewart Dec 14, 2015 / 8:30 am

    ‘But also, I am going to write what I want, not what might play to some mythical gallery.’
    As it should be. Why else bother? Glad to see your back!


  4. paulewart Dec 14, 2015 / 8:36 am

    If I were a betting man I’d say that siren voices have been issued to suborn you, to seduce you, to smooth you out. It’s what us historians call ‘incorporation’ or, the more sinister ‘interpellation’. You’re right to resist the mermaid’s call: they’ll take you down to the watery depths……*

    *On a cultural/political note, this is how radicals are swallowed up by the establishment and is why, a certain man, who refuses to engage with the great game, is so utterly loathed at present.


  5. Benny Dec 14, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    You know what I think Dmitri. Stating the obvious, it’s a blog not a formal publication from a PLC with commitments, deadlines, payment. Millions of bloggers out there putting their thoughts on all sorts of stuff into the aether and discussing with others.

    The fact is you do it very, very well. This is my newspaper and I also get to read interesting posts from other visitors. Not least, I’ve learned a fair bit from this blog.

    If you posted half as much as you usually do, I’d still think of you as prodigious.

    Good luck to you


  6. MM Dec 15, 2015 / 11:23 pm

    I bloody love this blog. There… out of the closet.

    Don’t stress yerselves. Take yer time. Keep doing it organically and for your love of the game and what’s right.

    Gonna play as much cricket as I can in 2016. Elbow hurts all the time. Plantar fasciitis is constant wincing agony. Blood pressure is through the roof even with tablets. But I’d take that all year long for just one more season on the pitch. AND if that distracts me from all the rah-rah-rah s.h.i.t.e. from the ECB and their buttcrack-sniffing media, it’ll be worth the pain.

    Salutations, and compliments of the season to y’all.


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