Rainy Days And Mondays

I drafted a piece for the blog on Monday (15th) and decided not to post it. I thought it was all getting a bit repetitive. But the Bogfather, through a comment in the post below, made me rethink.

P1030628-01
Sometimes I feel like Meaker in this picture

You can sit up last night and watch people fall over themselves watching a tour de force by Brendon McCullum that was as fortunate as it was exhilirating and still be entranced by this sport. This was the test equivalent of my club side sh*tting it when someone started hitting the ball really hard. But watching it, communicating with the Tweeters you like, ignoring those that you don’t, or you think have really gone off the boil, and think this sport still has a ton to offer. So read this as someone who hadn’t watched the 1st day’s play last night.

“Treadmill”

The treadmill rolls on to a T20 series. England’s winter tour is reaching its denouement and all eyes will soon turn to an ICC tournament to be held next month in India. England have won one test series and lost one test series. They have won one ODI series and lost one ODI series. They have won one T20 series, so let’s see how this one goes…. there is a pattern there.

This blogger, though, finds himself in a different position than before. Previously there was true anger. A rage fuelled by my view that there was an injustice done to a player, and a contempt shown to the punters. While it was not about getting KP back, getting him back would have been a rapprochement of sorts. If it was just a T20 World Cup, then it would have been a sound cricketing decision. Of course the ECB would never pick him. Imagine what would have happened if he’d been a roaring success, like the time we won the competition. Leaving him out was by far the safest option. By the end of this farce the main reason I wanted him picked was to see the reaction of some of the resident obsessed online, more than the freak show another performance for England would be.

But there is not so much anger now. Not really. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the ECB have absolutely no right to think that I’m back on side, and all is right with the world. They are wrong if they believe that in finally accepting the end of KP in an England shirt means I’m back on the bus. They could not be further from the truth. They’ve lost me as an England cricket supporter.

This is a monumental achievement, and you’d have seen it coming from two or so years ago. Let me put into words the scale of this achievement. From a child I’ve loved the England cricket team. One of my commenters said how he used to listen to TMS on the overseas tours overnight, so that he was sleep deprived. I once sneaked a radio into a mock exam room to listen to the 4th day of the India v England test in 1985 (when it appeared as though we couldn’t get Azharuddin or Amarnath out). I started going to test matches, went on three tours (two to Australia, one to South Africa) when I had money, and tried to watch as much as I could. I recorded cricket for posterity, have most England tests on highlights since 2005 (having had to throw the rest out before due to compatability issues) and at times probably knew too many stats for my own good. I bought replica stuff, even as an older man who should know better, kept the stubs, the programs, the memorabilia. As you will know, I took photos, lots and lots of photos. The sport was one I played, I loved and still do. But England, I’m sorry, have lost me. If Adelaide 2006 happened now, I reckon I wouldn’t care. Back then, it was devastating.

This is running over “Schism” again, and I expect the same old same old. But I don’t care if this is repetitive. TLG’s excellent piece on the interviews with Cook last week put a lot of my concerns, a lot of what I had been saying, in context. Did you notice that the selection of an ICC tournament team did not merit a press conference with either the Chairman of Selectors (the man responsible for the selection of the side), any of his panel, nor with the Director, England Cricket (the man responsible for the team), the CEO (who was there when the decision not to go with KP was announced by Strauss) or the Chairman (he’s in Downton’s cupboard)? None of them thought this squad was worthy of explanation. If they did, I missed it. If the press asked, I missed it.

What followed was a soft toss interview with Cook. Only they will know, but that looked to me like certain questions were said to be off limits, so off limits they remained. This was preceded by Hussain’s Daily Mail interview with Eoin Morgan. I’ve seen mentioned that by saying what he did, Eoin Morgan has become a target for the KP fans. Apart from providing us with a great catchphrase, and that’s from me, this was an advance message sent by a captain who, as far as I am aware, is not part of the selection panel. At the time we were 2-0 up in the series and lots of wind was being blown into Mr Morgan’s sails. Six days later, and the series lost, such bravado, such confidence now looks like arrogance. I’m sad our captain, who clearly had no beef in the past with KP, nailed his colours to the mast. But I’m not berating him for it. I put it down to media strategy and such forth. Call me what you want, but you know I’m not going to be a million miles off (no way Morgan puts that statement out without clearing it first).

But this is all mere fluff. The other side of the debate is claiming the spoils. The other side never really cared about the main themes, seeming to concentrate on the one that drove them the most – antipathy to KP, antipathy to those calling for his return. For many, an explanation was not what was required. Ed Smith once told us that Alex Ferguson never told the public why he sold Beckham (he did, later). For some, they just wanted the whole thing to go away. Given our politics at the moment evoke the same response from me shows wishful thinking – you still have to deal with it.

We wanted to be treated as adults. As proper supporters of the team. Not as part of the decision-making process, but true, to use that abhorrent word, stakeholders. A national team is our team. It brings out the best, and worst, in all of us, but above all, it is our team. It represents us. As do those who run the game, who administer the sport, who make the decisions. They should be making them on behalf of us, using their judgement, reporting back and explaining. We have had too much decision making and not enough transparency. Even when they say they have. By not saying anything about the Pietersen non-selection, when it was out there, being talked about, they were representing only themselves.

I am a blogger. A fan of the game. I know I am representing just one person. Myself. Others may agree with me, others may disagree. It is clear that those who agree with me will comment on here. I think I’ve been quite fair, if forceful in what I would like to see happen. I’m not naive. I know how “business” works. I know, to some degree, how “comms” works, and I know a cover-up when I see one. I’m pleased that the other side of the argument approves of this. I really, really do.

So, it’s not good to be angry for too long. We have the press we deserve, always keen to shoot down the infantry when there’s an officer class to protect. We have the coverage we deserve, slick, on message, vacuous for large parts of the time, names over substance, and never really questioning the powers that be. And we have the bloggers we deserve; inveterate moaners, massive smart arses, those in love with their own prose, those in love with their own voice (and yes, I am more than one of those!).

I’m fearful, actually. I have said many times that I walked away from Millwall. I’m not a season-ticket holder. I don’t have any desire to go to games any more. I don’t really love the sport any more. But I still get happy when they win, and still a little miffed if they lose. I do care. The authorities at my football club have to strike a pretty precarious balance, but with a couple of exceptions (one Chief was a complete lying prick) they weren’t against me. I don’t feel that about those who run English cricket. They do not give a shit. So it’s time to reciprocate. It remains to be seen that my lack of respect for them will manifest itself in constant output on the blog. I’ll try. But it’s hard to get enthused to write, when it’s hard to get enthused about the team you are, mainly, writing about. You don’t want a piece like this every week. And I don’t want to write it.

 

As I said, written last Monday. Thoughts and feelings evolve, even in that short time.

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19 thoughts on “Rainy Days And Mondays

  1. thebogfather February 20, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    I’m so glad you let that out, totally heartfelt and so close to many of my own feelings about a game I love being torn away from me by faceless whores – thank you LCL

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sherwick February 20, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    “They do not give a shit.”

    Exactly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clivejw February 20, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    Excellent, Dmitri. I could sign my name to all of that. I don’t think I will watch another test match involving England live again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Clivejw February 20, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    I’m also astounded how incredibly bullish the English cricket press is about our chances in the T20 world cup. Even after our losing four international limited-overs games on the trot.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. rpoultz February 20, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    Love that those who were keen to tell us that this ECB side had won 5/6 games on the spin and didnt need KP are now saying Team ECB are a side lacking in experience since the loss on Friday.

    Also is it just me or is nasser hussain getting worse and worse?? On Friday his comments about the inexperience of the side were so lacking in awareness it was untrue. But then saying after Topley stuffed the run out attempt that he liked to see his passion at the end of the game smashing the stumps down. I think most would have preferred him to take the balls and whip the bails off rather than petulantly knocking the stumps down!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. alan February 20, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    Thanks for that Dmitri. I’m glad you decided to post it. No doubt you’ll attract the mandatory derision from the usual quarters of the terminally small minded.
    What you’ve said sums up exactly how I feel as well. It’ll be 60 years this summer since my first memory of England’s cricket team and I too remember the radios we smuggled into lessons so that we could catch the score. In those days many of my classmates were as keen as me. I doubt that you’d find that now
    I even remember having one handy when I was working on the Post Office counter so that I could catch up in the (rare) gaps between customers. I never thought the day would come when I just didn’t care about the England team anymore. But it has and I leave them to their self appointed ‘real supporters’, the ECB and their cheerleaders in the press who are more than welcome to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. MM February 20, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Top post, LCL.

    Best to be a cricket fan, rather than an England fan, these days. I so love Brendon McCullum.

    From the England point of view, when do they cease to be regarded as young/inexperienced? And when will they cease to use that as justification for bottling it?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. northernlight71 February 20, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    Just thought I’d say this pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about the England cricket team right now, too.
    I get a small frisson of pleasure when I notice that certain players are out for not many runs. That’s about as much positive energy as the ECB Brand Pluggers give me right now.
    Otherwise, it’s a weary carelessness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Julie February 20, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    Thank you Dmitri. You put my thoughts into words so much better than I can. I feel sorry for the team but they still don’t have the courage to stand up and defend KP.They know that they would perform much better with him, They see him in T20’s scoring the sort of runs and run rates that they need for WC. If they stood as a “team” a decision would have to be made. Anyway, I’m happy for KP .He is happy, succeeding, enjoying the company of mates and cricketers from around the world.I know the one sorrow is not being able to finish his career, that was denied him, Just to play in whites again for England.After what they’ve done to him , you would wonder why.Unlike you, Dmitri, I haven’t given up that one day—– Then again I’m just a silly old lady!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherwick February 20, 2016 / 10:07 pm

      He can’t play for England again.

      The great (((cough))) James Whitaker said so.

      Like

  10. Mark February 20, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    I didn’t even know there was a match yesterday. Such is the indifference I have for the dishonest clowns that run English cricket. I only found out when I Switched on the radio in my car and heard the last over on 5 live. I laughed out loud at the fact that I didn’t know the event was taking place. That’s your new modem ECB right there.

    I wanted to like the ODI team but Morgans cheap shot last week has lessened my respect for him, and the team. I would be surprised if he did this off his own back, and instead wasn’t forced to make the comments he did. We are dealing with despicable people who run English cricket. There is no level they won’t sink too to advance their agenda. We are stuck with the great white dope of Cook as test captain for as long as he chooses. What a farce? I believe it irritated the Cook luvies that the ODI team was being given more credit and receiving more support. So in their usual spoil sport dishonest way we are to be driven out. Only capitulation, and obedience will be tolerated.

    Not to worry. We are in good company. These same charlatans and moral pygmies have tried to drive out whole nation states from the game. NZ, SA, WI all driven from the game so that a few scumbags can loot and feed their greed.

    In a normal free world this would be called to account by the fourth estate, but there is no fourth estate anymore. Just cronies and arse lickers. In this age of access driven media you only get to interview powerful people if you promise to not ask the tough questions. Nasser may think it reflects well on him that he gets to interview the England captain, but the truth is the opposite. If you get access to power it means they view you as a pleb who can be relied on to repeat prearranged talking points. Shit, if you do a really good job they will even come to your birthday party, or invite you on a golf day. But who cares? A select few are getting rich and drunk on the power. I don’t believe a single thing Strauss says. The man wants to go into politics for Gods sake. Another cesspool of liars and fraudsters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • MM February 21, 2016 / 6:26 pm

      That’s a winner, Mark.

      Like

  11. Sean B February 20, 2016 / 10:59 pm

    Top piece Dmitri. I was far more excited about the NZ test than I was about the T20 last night, partly due to preference of the longer format and partly because I too, am fed up of being treated as a commodity by our national board. I’m fed up about writing about how the ECB and MSM keep on treating us like fools, who should be grateful to pay through the nose for whatever tripe they can be bothered to throw our way. Most of all I’m fed up of having to justify my position as an England fan, to people who view my cynicism about the way English and World cricket is being run as an excuse to call to tell me I’m not a real fan.

    There should never be an inside or outside cricket mantra yet I find myself outside cricket now because I will not lie down and swallow the crap that’s on offer. The ECB has made its bed, I hope like many others that it proves to be a nest of vipers.

    Rant over…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. "IronBalls" McGinty February 21, 2016 / 12:15 am

    Excellent post LCL like the other posters you have summed up my own feelings exactly. The only thing the ECB did for me was make me lose my love for England cricket, something I thought could never happen, but it did! I am comforted that I am not alone, there must be many thousands, just like me, who don’t post on blogs, but feel just the same way. It’s a crying shame is what it is, and no mistake. Goddam them and all their disciples, and congratulations to me for being so coherent, considering the amount of ale I’ve necked tonight !! :-/

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Benny February 21, 2016 / 12:58 am

    I’d like to join the club. So much heartfelt truth here. New season not too far away and I’m looking forward to joining Dmitri for a beer at the Oval, might pop into the little parochial ground at Hove, depending on who’s visiting and, forgive me me, I’ve forgotten who England are hosting this summer so the tests might pass me (and my wallet) by.

    Like

    • SimonH February 21, 2016 / 9:40 am

      You know what’s going to happen if this summer’s internationals are poorly supported – it’ll be blamed on SL and Pakistan and we’ll have even more Big Three fixtures in the future.

      Meanwhile, there’s not been much ICC news recently but here’s a possible sign Manohar’s wish to undo the power-grab isn’t going to pass unopposed:

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/974709.html?CMP=chrome

      Of course the news Srini’s former association are saying this may not come as a total surprise (rearrange the words Rice Davies and Mandy to make a famous name and all that).

      Like

  14. jomesy February 21, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Thanks to Bogfather for encouraging this post. Thanks to LCL for a great post….brought back memories of listening on my Walkman on “scratchy” LW in bed as an 11 yr old.

    Sometimes I ponder two things:

    1. Can it actually get any worse? (God forbid); and
    2. Would I actually smack GC if I saw him? (Nb not a thing I’ve ever done to anyone but the fact I think about it concerns me).

    Liked by 3 people

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