It has been a year all right. An absolute rollercoaster. It started on HDWLIA, finished here, had an extra bit appended to it, things turned incredibly nasty towards the end of the Ashes, and all in all, I exit the year with some enthusiasm remaining, but with the enjoyment a lot less than before. We’ve lost the Full Toss, we’ve seen Tregaskis hit the stocks with a couple of epic posts, and we’ve had new faces on here too. Then we’ve also had The Leg Glance (aka Vian) to write regularly and become co-editor of this blog. It’s not exactly been quiet!
If I could sum the year up, it would be “difficult” – hey, we still need to have that homage to our favourite man. Paul Downton. This “Difficult 2015” wasn’t just cricket related. Issues surrounding the real world meant I had to close down HDWLIA just when it was about to hit the pages of Wisden (LB informed me of this on the day I shut it down). To my relief the pick up for Being Outside Cricket was reasonably sharp as the new blog reached heights of hits etc. in May that HDWLIA never did. But it had to be done, and I’ll do my best to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
I’ve found it interesting how the blog has been treated by those who don’t generally partake here, and by the media. HDWLIA was read widely, and interaction was certainly more than it is now. Also, on BOC most media reaction is intensely hostile, which is odd because we have toned it down this year compared to HDWLIA. Also, I still note that other prominent cricket blogs, that I used to link to on HDWLIA, still do not link to this blog or our stuff. I’ve found that reasonably amusing. I wonder if we are thought of as the awkward squad. Certainly the comments pages have been described unfavourably, or somewhat amusingly. I think Dennis Does Cricket described it as a “zoo”.
At times, I might have subconsciously written some posts with the media or the refuseniks in mind. I’m not going to do that anymore. There’s no point. I have to be me, just as TLG has to be TLG. I hope I’ve learned my lesson! Haters are just going to hate.
The other lesson I really need to learn is not to Tweet on the train home from a night out. It gets me into all sorts of trouble.
This account of the year will be over several parts. Today I’m dealing with January and February.
So, let’s ramble through the year and see what happened when….
JANUARY – I was still “How Did We Lose In Adelaide”. It’s still there, just a different address. Despite the really good new name, I still love that old title. It was to be the last full month, and a bizarre one, including a comment that really shook me (and some know what that one was). I also came across a picture in Wisden Cricket Monthly that would end up in one of the more bizarre exchanges of the year.
Anyway, January was about preparation for the World Cup. England were involved in a Tri-Series, where we beat India but lost to Australia, including in the Final, and where we never really looked like beating the hosts, to be fair. There was an obsession over a certain new tattoo among our media friends as a certain player started showing some form. Patrick Collins, employed by Wisden Almanack to review “the book” (a bit like asking a Rangers fan to review the History of Celtic Football Club) called HIM’s online supporters “twittering sycophants”. Given the way the media had behaved with the ECB, we could afford to laugh.
And laugh we did as Bunkers came out with these two special quotes…
“Only the lifting of the World Cup and the Ashes later in the year will dispel Pietersen. The only way he could grab attention then would be to have a tattoo engraved in unmentionable places, or invade the pitch at Cardiff during the first Test against Australia next summer waving his bat in one hand and a placard in the other saying “Justice for KP”.”
Our Kevin (well, not strictly our Kevin any longer since England dispensed with him, but he so wants to be one of us that it seems churlish not to be a little inclusive in memory of all the good times) has given this a modern twist, as he did with so much of his batting. While it was once the done thing to have “I love Mum” inscribed somewhere on the upper arm, Pietersen has effectively had inked across his back and chest “I love me.”
all because the cheeky sod made runs in the Big Bash.
Newman did a wonderful piece too, in the wake of the Ponting/HIM interview that had the cricket world a buzz, and exposed who others thought were the “real egos” in the team. This barb was a great..
If Ponting wanted to do a proper interview, for instance, he might have asked Pietersen why he didn’t play alongside him with Surrey more often last summer if he truly was serious about playing international cricket again.
Ponting did not play for Surrey in 2014. Not as if we pay them for their insight, is it?
HIM was dominating the landscape still, and Stuart Broad’s contention that they “should have just dropped him on form” was a wonderful insult to all our intelligence. Amazing what you forget, and then remember reading it back, isn’t it?
Ian Bell made a massive score in a warm-up match, and some claimed it beat Robin Smith’s 167 in a proper game. Hilarity ensued.
And then there was Downton Gold. Now who could possibly have come up with the phrase “Outside Cricket”?
FEBRUARY – Some who have had a drink with me know why the blog closed down. At the time I was also going to retire the Dmitri Old Twitter feed, but there were reasons pertaining to the blog that didn’t apply to my Twitter feed. The farewell message sort of summed up the personal situation I was in…
I’m not one for big farewells, nor is this me doing what I said I wouldn’t and getting people begging me to stay. Comments for this post will be disabled. Later tonight I will be retiring this blog and the pseudonym Dmitri Old. It has been a brilliant run but all good things come to an end.
The decision was finally made on a bus home, with the immediate intention to set up a new home straight away, but with different disciplines. But it was February 6th 2015 that HDWLIA came to an end. I’m immensely proud of it.
February 4th remains an important day and we marked it with the Tyers Tendency Tweet
So, February 4th is KP sacking day and even if our knockers hate the fact I go on about it, it is an important date to remember. The day this all started.
February showed how The Cricketer was nailing its colours:
So, with the demise of HDWLIA, so a new blog was born. Over the weeks most of my old friends found me. The new blog started thus:
Let’s see how this one goes.
A new beginning, a chance to set the record straight. Let’s go.
I kicked off with a manifesto…
I did not agree with the sacking of Kevin Pietersen
I think Paul Downton is an abject disaster in his role at the ECB
I think the press did not do their job properly in the wake of the KP sacking, preferring personal prejudice over professional ethics
The big three stitch-up is a disaster for the game
Alastair Cook’s return to form is not guaranteed. There are slumps, and then there are slumps that last the best part of two years. Don’t be fooled by any runs in the West Indies
KP’s book, in hindsight, did him no favours. That isn’t to say that it didn’t have important things to say.
The current coach of England is a typical England appointment. Nice man, company man, safe man.
Then came the World Cup…. We were all over it on here, with regular comments, and despair at the England showing. Many were wistful about Cook’s sacking and none more so than Selfey, who despite saying it was good for Cook’s test future that he’d been left out of the ODI team, still wrote a pile of old cobblers that got Fred BTL absolutely mad and in many ways captured the frustration we feel about Dmitri #7…
That’s it, I’m done. I’ve officially passed the point where I think the shallow and xenophobic cricket press in Australia is worse than English cricket writing. English journalists use longer sentences and more adjectives, but stripped of that it comes to the same thing. Bollocks.
The above sentence is just breathtaking in its delusion. If only Cook hadn’t played, he’d still be selected now for the team? What a fool he was to walk on to the cricket field! There was no problem at all with Cook, just that he chose to play the wrong series, but of course did it for noble reasons.
“Such is fate”: he could have been leading England to glory now if he hadn’t come unstuck in Sri Lanka?
He used it as a “team bonding session”? A seven match ODI series against Sri Lanka, the country that just beat them at home? A fucking bonding session?
By way of comparison, every Australian who speaks about playing cricket for Australia has awe in his voice when he talks about playing for his country. Doesn’t matter who, where, when or what, it’s playing cricket at the highest level, for their country, and they all jump at the chance, and they want to win. They’re not there to bond.
This sentence, and the editorial tone of Guardian cricket, indicates the malaise of English cricket.
February also saw an ECB document leaked (stop laughing now) that put the case for all sorts of changes to the game, including four day tests, and 40 over international cricket. Graves started to learn lessons, but it would be March (and Part 2) of this blogging review, that would be the clincher for our Costcutter Champion.
A podcast involving George Dobell made some waves in February. The post, invoking the second Armand van Helden album I bought, summed up a lot of why we like George.
There was this bizarre retweet…
But I think the award for sure anger goes to Andy In Brum after the Wellington debacle:
Remember last year when Giles Clarke said england weren’t at a massively low ebb? He was right.
I’m gutted we got thrashed & good players are getting a tonking, but I would be lying if I’m not feeling smug about it at the same time.
I told you so, I told you that the leadership Omnishambles at the top of english cricket would lead to this, I told you sacking KP was a mistake, not just for spurious form reasons, but for the utterly incompetent, vindictive, spiteful way it was carried out.
I told you that Paul Downton was an incompetent so far out of his depth that fish with lights were above him.
I told you the signing of Moores was a disaster, I told you the failure to address the myriad failures of the ashes series would be a disaster, I told you the continuation of Cook as captain would be a disaster, & now his removal was too late, but better than nothing. We told you the bowling coach was doing it wrong, that the bowlers were bowling repeated utter dross, & that bowlers bowling well, fast & dangerously in County Cricket were coming to team england and regressing horribly
We outside cricket, told you this would come to pass, & we’ve been ignored, moderated or dismissed as irrelevant KP blow yards.
Well we told you so & it happened, so stuff you & the horse you rode in on.
Written BTL on the Guardian, summing up so much….. All to be found in one of my favourite posts – https://beingoutsidecricket.com/2015/02/20/wise-people-learn-when-they-can-fools-learn-when-they-must/
Of course, not to forget. FEBRUARY 9 IS OUTSIDE CRICKET DAY. Marked by this post.
This one was tagged “Burn In Hell”. Sometimes I think that’s what many want.
So this is the end of Part 1 of the Review of the Year. There’s more to come over the next few days. Including Ibbotson-gate, Trust, How Journalism Works, Wisden and lots lots more I’ll have triggered when I go through the posts.
Do tune in….