The Year in Blogging – Part 3 – April

Many of you have read the first two parts of this journey, so I thought I’d finish the year with the two main months for hits this year. April and especially May. Firstly, April.

We left the review just as England had been laughed out of the World Cup and Australia were being crowned champions again. What was our reaction going to be?

Cinema Cook and KP

The bogfather was causing trouble, tweeting my “Dirty Dozen” to Simon Hughes and it being called “an odd list”. I ranted. Plus ca change. It then got a little bit odd.

Simon Hughes - The Analyst

Ho Ho. The media were still incredibly prickly about the likes of us. The “new era” had seen the same World Cup results. Cook had been sacked as captain and was without a hundred. There needed to be  distraction.

We got it. If we were to hear this once in April, we’d hear it a thousand times.

Newman greeted the Wisden Editor’s Notes with his usual pro-KP stance.

“a decision on which they had right on their side”

“a decision supported by those who follow the team around professionally”

Ha Ha! Cat out of the bag and all that. Never mind, Paul. It was never really a secret with you lot.

April 8th was a sad day for this blog. I was outside the Shakespeare pub on Kingsway when the tweets started pouring forth. There were messages. I was waiting for my Uni mate, down in London for the day. He sees me, and before we say hello he says “He’s gone, what are you going to do? It was the end of aplomb. You seen any of the pro-Downton camp admit their massive error? Have you?

In tabloid style let me go through some of Downton’s best moments:

  • Sacking KP. Oh yes. For reasons unclear, but something to do with being disconnected. You make a big decision like that, you need to explain yourself. Constantly avoiding the question makes you look a fool.

  • Outside cricket. Given he used that phrase in a 1985 Q&A for Cricketer’s Who’s Who, it seemed to be something he would have said. Way to get a meme started.

  • Difficult Winter – Oh yes. Losing 12 out of 13 to your main foe is just “difficult”

  • The press conference – Alastair Cook being told that he wasn’t strong enough to captain KP seemed rather amusing. Of course that was our spin. Other saw aplomb.

  • The interview – SO good I got multiple posts out of it. Where do you start? Read this. The read this. Then read this. And then there is this. Once you’ve done that, read my conclusion.

  • Who can forget his interview round in Sri Lanka. Backing the captain, then presiding over his sacking a few days later, all the while refusing to answer any questions on KP. Good lord.

  • Then there was the side to be reckoned with going into the World Cup. That went well.

  • Then the media blitz post elimination which struck all the wrong notes, had him wondering how T20 cricket had impacted, and played “it weren’t my fault” cards all over the place.

But there were playing matters to attend to, and England were visiting the West Indies for the first time in tests since 2009. That series had seen the forming of the Strauss/Flower nexus. We went into this series with Moores under a cloud, his main pit prop gone, and with a captain bereft of runs and form, no matter how many people tried to spin it. Meanwhile, I was in it up to my neck and worried about how the blog could survive long-term without me being completely f*cked up about it. April was peaceful….

I was in full-on “Get Clarke” for the Downton dismissal.

The sad news came through from Australia that the great Richie Benaud had passed away. It wasn’t a shock, but it still hits you. Richie had been a part of my childhood, a key man in getting me to get into cricket through his commentary. A sad, sad day.

Then, of course, on Wisden launch day, it was confirmed that a minor part of the bible of cricket was dedicated to little old me. A really minor part. That I didn’t want to be there (no, the man doth not protest too much) passed many by. But it happened. I discussed it in Infamy.

That Sunday after KP scored 170 for Surrey against Oxford and the usual suspects lost their shit. Hey, we never realised, that University cricket wasn’t as good as test matches. How were we to know?

The first test against the West Indies in Antigua ended with Jason Holder batting out for a hundred and a draw. Trott hadn’t functioned well as an opener, but Ian Bell made what would be his last test ton in trying circumstances. The verdict on the match is here.

As work was getting tough, in the run up to a long period of leave I was about to take, a cry for help was heeded. The notice now seems incredibly peevish, and how my air of suspicion clouded some of my views. “My blog”. What a tit! But Chris came on board and this was the best thing to happen to the blog. His style is totally different to mine, we do different things with different strengths, and it has been fantastic. House Notice II launched TLG on the world.

He kicked off with a match preview. The Grenada test was an exciting one after some dull cricket with Jimmy Anderson bowling us to victory on the last day. The fact we’d beaten a mediocre side purely on the back of a brilliant bowling spell meant that the fans and media suspended reason and went mad. There were plenty “greatest win of recent times” swaddling. See Godfather. And Notes and Queries.

We’ve beaten the 8th ranked team in the world, without their best quick bowler, and a frail batting line-up having wasted the advantage given us to a large degree on the 1st day. If this was a flawless, ruthless demolition over four days on a good deck, I’d be encouraged. But this was won because of an inspired performance on Day 5. The thing with inspired performances is that by and large, they don’t happen often. You can’t rely on them.

The elephant in the room mentioned in that post would be addressed in May, in Bridgetown. Compare Durban to this nonsense. It really doesn’t compare, does it?

The last post of the month was the last Cook one before he made his hundred. Philadelphia. This took us into May….the most hit month in the history of any of my blogs. I mean, not a lot happened. That will wait until the New Year.

Happy New Year all.

 

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The End of 2015 – My Thanks

By Dmitri Old / Lord Canis Lupus

Happy New Year

The end of 2015 is nigh, and although I’ll continue with the Dmitris and the review of the year into 2016, this is a time to give my thanks to all of those who have made Being Outside Cricket what it is. What that is, I have no idea….

My main thanks, of course, has to go to The Leg Glance. Chris offered his assistance at a time when I was really struggling with a change of job and some personal issues. He has been an absolute bloody tower of strength, a fantastic contributor to the blog (and no, he’s more than that, he is every much BOC as I am), and more than anything, a bloody good mate. We sealed the friendship over Krusovice, and no doubt we’ll share some more. I think one night in August, when a very well lubricated Dmitri entered into Twitter combat with a journo was when I was most thankful. Cheers, squire.

Then there are those that have contributed. Sean B, aka The Great Bucko, has put some really decent stuff out there for you, and I hope we’ll keep him from his own blog, and get his stuff on here. Also thanks for Philip for the batting piece in the late season. Again, really thought provoking. Thanks to both for the Ashes Panel too which brings me on to…..

To all those on the Ashes panel not already named, I can’t thank you enough. Keyser Chris (a great pleasure to meet you at Lord’s – let’s do that Adelaide piece one day), Man In A Barrel (despite the problems you caused 🙂 ), Cricketjon (how many names/emails you had on here 🙂 ), Paul Ewart (my main man in Finland!), The poet supreme that is The Bogfather (cut out the filth),  AndyIn Brum (my PoI fellow fanatic), Metatone (where you been, man?), EoinJPMorgan (what’s happened to Hillel), Andy Cronk (Oscar da Bosca), Dr. Melf (cheers for the support on Twitter as well), Rooto from the Cote D’Azur, Colonel Blimp (our man for the Windies) and Martin Payne (a Hammer, but I’ll let him off). The Ashes Panel went down really well, it was tough for all of you, but you responded superbly and made it what it was. Thank you so much for that.

To my constants for the last couple of years. Arron, who was there at the start of this blog going “big”. You know both Chris and I would love you to write more on here, but understand your desire to stay as a commenter. Simon H, Mr Stats, Mr News, the man who leads us to the stories – again, this blog would be a lot poorer without you here. Mark, the raging light that never goes out, who will say what he wants when he wants. I love a “Mark” response. To D’Arthez – again, we appreciate all the effort you put in, and understand the waning passion. Keep posting. Zephirine too (maybe one day I’ll learn to spell your name, but you taught me a lesson – never assume your respondents are male) – constant commenter, loyal follower. Northern Light, who has also been a big supporter over the last couple of years, as has Simon K, my local neighbour, who ruined my May with his tweets on politics!

To all my commenters this year. If I miss you out, it’s down to my error. So let’s go.

Iron Balls McGinty, @pktroll, AB, Ali Martin, Amit, Alan, Alec, Andrew Nixon, Andy (if not covered by Cronk or AiB), Angst (my man in Hong Kong), Ann Weatherly-Barton, ArushaTZ, Benny (great to meet you at The Oval, let’s do it again next year), Badger, Bags of Smoke, Belgianwaffle, Bertie, BigKev 67 (I think we’d get on better without this cricket lark), Blamcrambello, Bob, BoerinAustria (a perennial star here – thanks for the support over the last year and a half), Boz (hope you are well, long time no hear, drop me a mail), Brian Coleman, Burly (another one dropped off the radar), Cato Junior, Chateleine, Chris Stocks (appreciated the reply), Chrisps (like our Master In Charge, keep ploughing on), the tour de force that was/is Clivejw, Craig, Critihas, Culex, CustomCopyWriting (we’ll get to you later….), Dan, DanDanBoom, Danno (hope you and the family are well, Chris), Danny, Dark King (maybe Culex), Dave, DavetheVet, David Hopps, David Mutton, DLPThomas, Douglas Green (one, very odd, response), dvyk, Ed, emasl, Escort (up the BBC!), Footydoc, Fred (miss you on here, sir), FICJAM IS ON AGAIN AAAAGH (Must be someone else, but can’t match the mail), Fungineer, FustedBlush, Gambrinus (keep a welcome in the hillsides, squire), geoffboycottsgrandmother, Gonthaar (sorry for wordpress asking for your mail), Grenville, greyblazer, Grumble (or Jomesy as he is better known), Grumpy Gaz (another missing for a while), hatmallet, Ishallremainanonymous, Ian, Ian Jones, infrequent commentator (incredibly infrequent – just the once), Ivon Ivonovich (oh yes indeed), Jack Ballard (aka Ross), James (aka Larry David Niven), James Morgan (mentioned him already), Jamie, Jayman, JennyAH (who can see the nice in all of us, wish I could), jbkingsangler, jegmeister, Julie Gould (KP’s #1 fan, I’m just a jobbing amateur), JoFo, John Etheridge (still no), John Owen, Jomesy (again), Josh, Jrod (aka Jarrod Kimber), Lawrence Booth, LarryC, Leplayboy, Lezza44, Liam Desmond, Lionel Joseph, Lord Clarke of Paraguay, Lydia Thayer, Maggie, Marees, Marge, Maxie (we’ll get on to him later), May, Mike, MM, Moggy, Moosyn, Muzzleford, Narelle, NE Mike, Nephilim, NJH Cricket (I’m sure he’ll appreciate it. PS I know, have done for ages), Nicholas, Nick, Nick Atkinson, Pam Nash (ha ha ha, as if), Paul, Peeking Duck, PepperSydney, PhilA (need your help on the glossary, sir), pluckywingate, Pontiac (Nathan Lyon’s #1 Fan), Poultz24 (our newest contributor), Sherwick, Rich (aka Rich77), Richard, Rob, Roger, Rohan (thanks for all the contributions, and support), Ron, Ron Walaron (long time no hear for Ron as well), Rufus SG, Ross More (though I might have done him before), Sarah, Saxophone Alex, Scrim, Silk, Sebsmar, Shaun, SimplyShirah, Sir Peter (getting pangs for Cape Town, mate?), SNML, Steve from Oz, Steve, Steve T, SteveTuffers, SubtleKnife, THA, The Nibbler, The Vickster (back after 7 months!), Timmy, Tom (from a pacificview), Tony Bennett, Topshelf, Tregaskis (we’ll get to him later), Trevor, Tuffers86 (might have had another name), Tybalt, Veturi Sarma, VinnieMac, Volkerelle, Waikatoguy, What What, Wrongunatlongon (long time no hear – the bloke who inspired me to go that extra mile at the start of 2014), Yossarian 1977, Zero Bullshit (one of the great misses. Sad about this one) and Zeitkratzer Stockhausen (Toby Roland Jones…..)

Ed Book

I have a couple of questions. Who is my visitor in Chile? And the one in Joinville, Brazil? E-mail me on dmitriold@hotmail.co.uk . Also, the visitor who might register from Templecombe in Somerset. Could you also drop us a line. You were a key visitor!

To supportive blogs like Dennis Does Cricket. I had good fun with the Ashes previews. Let us do it again, if we are still doing this next time around.

I’d like to pay tribute to the work of Tregaskis this year. When he posts, we listen. An inspiration in terms of depth, research and turn of phrase. Glad we are on the same side.

I was really gutted to see the end of The Full Toss, and the hopefully temporary hiatus in the output of Maxie. Another inspiration to me in particular, Maxie and James had a great thing going, and can see why it got to where it did. I’ve had my own doubts. Best of luck to James in his new venture.

To those journalists willing to engage, thanks. We don’t bite. It’s passionate, I know, but you take that away, you see those who the country depends upon to keep the fires burning turning their backs on the sport. I’m sure that’s never been in the ECB’s heads. There’s been less interaction this year, but the Ashes solved many issues in many eyes.

To the ECB. The Ashes didn’t solve a thing. While Giles Clarke has an official role with your backing, then it cannot.

To Jarrod and Sam, thanks for access to the film. Good luck in your ventures, and we’ll support it how we can within the confines of the blog. There are some, you know!

For the record, some of my best ofs for 2015.

My England innings of the year was Alastair Cook’s 162 at Lord’s. This isn’t me pulling my punches. It’s acknowledging that he played a truly special knock that played a huge part in us winning a fantastic match.

My favourite commentator this year was Mike Atherton. He has zoomed past Nasser Hussain who went downhill rapidly – maybe 2016 might bring redemption. Sky should also think of promoting Mark Butcher (although given his behind the sofa comment, which Cook raised at the end of the Ashes, and the close relationship between ECB and Sky, that’s a reach) and Robert Key. I think they only employ Dominic Cork to troll their viewers. TMS is much the same with Lovejoy. If you also have Sky, one minute of Brayshaw is enough to have you scratching your eyes out.

My favourite moment of last year was seeing Toby Roland Jones make his first hundred at the end of a great day at Lord’s. It was a joy to be there. And I am a Surrey man.

P1070022

The best bowling was Broad at Trent Bridge, how could it not be?

Finally, I want to thank all those who have been so supportive on here. I’ve met a few of you this year, and I’d like to meet a few more. How this blog will go next year is anyone’s guess. If you stick with us, I’m sure we’ll enjoy it. As I said, I was having major doubts at the end of the Ashes, and then again earlier this month, but I’ve rediscovered some of the fun in doing this again. My friends at work, overseas and the long-suffering beloved have been great this year. I should thank the wife for her patience, her listening to me wittering on about this thing, and being very supportive. One in a million.

Not sure how long it will last, but I hope this mood remains for a while yet.

I wish you all a Happy New Year. Good luck to you all.

Dmitri