I know I frequently say this blog (in my posts) is written to represent my views only. I don’t wish it to be representative of anyone or anything. But I have to recognise there is a loyal band of readers, and that I need to keep interesting stuff coming to maintain this blog. So I had a number of questions.
Who, or what are we? Why does this blog continue on its path? What is there for people to discuss now the KP reinstatement debate is closed for good.
We’ve lost, haven’t we? As evidenced by….
- There’s a major international competition going on, and yet the key theme here is that people cannot be bothered with it due to ECB/ICC stuff.
- There’s an England team that has just performed the remarkable, chasing down 11 ½ an over to win a World competition match, and people are still talking about a batsman who isn’t there.
- There’s a world competition going on, but people on here are talking about the teams not there, the organisation, the scheduling and the weather.
- There is now a relative calm around the England team and the media feel it, but there’s still anger about key reporters, their “agenda” and their actions.
It’s March 2016 and not January 2014. These issues are still there, even if they are wished away.
This blog has discussed to the extreme what has happened in the past 26 months, in both its guises (HDWLIA and BOC), and seen an ignored writer (I’d been blogging for years) pick up “followers”. It has responded to every setback with an anger that can make those outside believe that its fanaticism, for want of a better word, is dangerous, pathetic, sick even. I’ve picked up critics, of course I have, but their vehemence against “us” did surprise.
I don’t see this as a cricket blog. Not in the sense those outside want a cricket blog to be. They want it to be about nice things, positive things, lovely things, places where you aren’t challenged, places where you find “writers” not bloggers. I find much of that writing tedious, but fully recognise that there is a wide audience out there who lap up those sort of articles, playing on their nostalgia and glorious memories of the past game, and reflecting it in the more brutal crash, bang and wallop of much of today’s cricket. Some are truly magnificent at this genre. It’s not for me. I wouldn’t go on their blogs to tell them. I recognise that there are all sorts out there. There is lots for all tastes.
I see this as a blog about someone who watches cricket, loves the sport, but who can see not much good in it at the moment, and in that I share some of the looking back to the past that others focus on. I see this is a blog that widened its scope from one decision in January 2014, to a look at those making the decisions, those reporting the decisions, and those authorising the decisions. We do match reports, we do match previews, but we’ve not the time, or the inclination, to try to emulate other blogs who go the extra mile, or the dedicated sites that do this better than us. I work five days a week. I spend four waking hours at home each night. I have other interests. Cricket is competing for space. In not just my life, but other people’s. Weekends are to do the jobs we can’t do in the week, or to go out. Running a full time blog requires dedication and motivation.
It seems to me that we need to think about the direction the blog should take. Chris and I had a discussion about this a month or so ago, and came to few conclusions. We react to events and give our take on them. I was much more pushing the KP line over the past two years, but Chris and I both agree that’s pretty much over. His treatment will always be raised, but what happened with our media must not be forgotten. That line, though, doesn’t lend itself to a continuous blog writing experience! There needs to be something more.
I have watched, and read, the numerous comments on this blog recently over the BTL comments in The Guardian. At the start of my ever so humble rise, I did go BTL, especially as Clive and NonOx were linking me on there. I stopped pretty much after Bertie Wooster described my posts as having poor grammar (you know my rule, draft, post, polish), which is fair enough. My writing style has always been Marmite, back to my school days. It isn’t going to change now, and my former English teacher is an occasional reader and hasn’t told me off for it yet! But Bertie also said he couldn’t read the posts for the bile on the screen. And that’s been a really convenient hat to hang on me. I’m bilious. It’s all about the bile. From that moment on, I thought it wasn’t worth it. I may have the occasional sortie on there, but I honestly can’t remember them. Bilious ain’t my style. Persistence is.
Since that date the schism, a word I love, has been stark. Those that still believe not a single thing has changed in the decision-making process that is the ECB, are given the KP Fanboy tag as a reason to explain away the miscreants in their midst. As if wondering how an England cricket legend, and he is, could be sacked and no-one told why, is something for blind rage and anger management patients only. By challenging the status quo, and the unforgiveable lack of inquisitiveness in our normally nosey keyboard clankers of the press, we’ve been labelled all sorts. Just the mention of a review of the media in these here parts has some outside wailing, insulting, denigrating the work. Even before it’s written, in some cases.
When I set out on the KP path, it was very much press focused. I reacted to piece after piece. I don’t really do that any more. I was thinking of starting it up, but in a much more thorough way, but then decided not to after the incident earlier this year when the groundwork was too much to continue without having to deal with extraneous matters. It was also very boring for me.
I have, though, been following a lot of the BTL stuff with amusement and amazement in equal measures. It is clear in the eyes of some that they have “won” and that the “KP Fanboys” can now just shut up and form whatever odd little tribe they like. Because the ECB and their compliant press have managed to weather this out (and I’ll bet when they started they didn’t think it would take two years) they are now “in the right”. It’s unedifying, and it’s also wrong. It is a Pyrrhic Victory, just as getting KP back into the side would have been. The damage to English cricket support may not be great in terms of numbers, although I think the people this has alienated are passionate fans who no sport can do without, but it’s a deep wound inflicted and there’s little sign of peace. Now a number of our gazes are at Mike Selvey, his words and deeds, his defenders and his critics. There are many on here who probably cast Selvey above Clarke as our Number 1 “enemy”. There are a number who are saying this pro-Establishment line is typical of the “new Guardian” (in the words of Chris Morris, who said this of Mark Thomas, I think the Guardian are more the harassers of the office secretary than true authority). I’m not sure. I don’t know why this has happened, but it has.
Mike Selvey utterly bemuses me. It’s not anger I feel, at all. It’s contempt, and that’s apt because that’s what he shows to anyone who goes up against him. I’ve taken the advice of those who said that I should stop reading Paul Newman if it upset me that much, and applied this to Selvey. He has nothing to offer me. I know he has let down many of you, who thought he was “more than this”, and that’s reflected in his dominance in our “Worst Journalist” poll. I don’t tweet him, I don’t read him, and only react to the comments on here when I need to. I did, for example, read his piece on T20, which was, frankly, something we could have all done with the access. And that’s it. He has the access. Not many of us are mates with a former England bowling coach. When it’s raised to me that I don’t know how journalism works, I do smile.
But Selvey and the Guardian’s frankly moronic comments policy (and the ludicrous reactions of the journos when criticised) aren’t enough to sustain us going forward, are they? And this is where I begin to get concerned. I’m nowhere near as enthusiastic as I was. About the game, about what surrounds it, and about writing about it. At this stage, the critics will be more than pleased, because they’ve done little to put a case to us, let alone persuade us to change views. It hasn’t been a dialogue of mutual respect, that’s for sure. But at some point, as I said when I gave up a voluntary role a few years ago, if you keep banging your head against a brick wall it does start to hurt.
I don’t want this blog to ever be boring to its client base. I don’t want to mail in posts more frequently than the current rate (20 questions being a case in point – a whim, a post, and lots of response). I respect the core readership much more than that.
I’ve rambled on and on as usual. I think you get the picture that the future isn’t clear. It rarely is. I don’t want this to be just a rant at the press, anti-Cook blog. We need to be more constructive. I’ve said it countless times over the past two years, if you want to write, and it fits what we want to do, then fire away. We don’t do satirical stuff, we don’t do poetry… I’ll leave those to SgtCook and the Bogfather! But how you feel, yes. We do that. What you think. We do that. Challenge us, we’re more than fair about it. I had a discussion a few weeks ago with someone very close to Andy Flower – we never came to blows, never even rowed. I’m not some obsessive, and I’m also going to stand my ground if I feel fit. I had a drink with him. We got on! I think some people need to realise that.
The blog won’t be going away. It just lacks a focus at the moment. One thing that the last two years has taught me is that something to concentrate on is never ever far away. We’ll be here to comment.
Game thread for tomorrow’s fixture to follow.
I, for one, can say that I believe the blog is more than just an anti-establishment piece, as the detractors like to frame it. It covers the areas that those in the wider media don’t, and not only that, it questions them, scrutinises them and tries to hold them to account far beyond any other. I also feel it’s a community, whereby I don’t fear being shouted down by the usual suspects like at the Guardian because my views don’t corroborate their rose tinted spectacles. This is one of the few places where I believe we can have a discussion, agree or disagree, but without the need to throw mindless insults, keyboard warriors we are not.
Time will naturally elapse and arguments may become less vehement (I certainly feel less outraged and more meh these days), but I do personally believe that these things can’t be forgotten, nor should they be.
On a side note, just wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to contribute the odd piece. If you’d have said I’d have a written a few pieces a couple of years ago, I’d have said you were bonkers!
This is one of two sources I get my regular cricket fix from, it is so much better than anything else I’ve come across. The Guardian lost me a while ago because it’s quality didn’t measure up to this (and TFT.) I started writing cricket related stuff as therapy having been inspired by the efforts of Dmitri, LG and James (so Nonoxcol, Bogfather and anyone else who has had a grin at ‘BMW’ etc you can thank that trio of proper cricket writers). A massive thank you for all your efforts and may the ECB fire Joe Root if it means you find your focus and continue the high standard you’ve set. (Maybe not Joe Root, went a bit overboard there but you get the idea)
i also believe that this blog is more than just an anti establishment piece, This blog is THE place for cricket views and opinion during a test match or when a major story is developing.
LCL – you and TLG should do what you want to do.
You can ask your readership what they want but I suspect you need to take a risk, do what feels right for you both, and see if the readership follows.
If they don’t, well, it doesn’t change the fact that it felt right and you can always reappraise.
Meant to say – be brave!
May I suggest you perhaps widen this blog from a cricket blog to a general sports blog Dmitri. Many of the issues in cricket are also prevalent in other sports. The sight of all the owners of the biggest European football teams caught red handed having a meeting to discuss a break away European super league that non of them will ever have to qualify for was so typical of crickets so called big 3. Money off the pitch is now more important than competition on it. (Which only reinforces a belief of mine that most capitalists hate competition. And will try to rig or buy a fixed market for their own looting model.)
I feel the people who comment on this site share similar interests on many sports, and the corrupting role of money in sport. Cricket has shown how deep that corruption runs. Even the media are on board with the governing body. How corrupt is that? This site offers an Oasis of sense. A place to go like an old boozer with few decent types who know what’s what and can construct an argument that is not based on lies and disortions. I find It funny that our opponents hate us so much. To quote FDR about his rich opponents. ………… ” I welcome their hate.” They are especially amusing when they venture on here to play the smug concern troll.
As for me I have lost almost all interest in English cricket. And I would like to thank the duplicitous liars at the ECB and their puppets in the media. Well done, you have driven me away from the sport. I can’t separate the people who run English cricket and the cricket team. They are as one. And part of their tactics has been to to encourage a kind of football thug like moron fan base. We saw this at the 20/20 finals day, and you can read the assortment of village idiots who write BTL attacking us or eulogising their idiot hero Selvey. Good riddance to their fake niceness and cake munching.
I have watched very little cricket over the last year. I dipped into and out of the Ashes. But I have watched non of the 20/20 matches. And don’t intend to. Captain Morgan’s little Pr stunt with Nasser to show his brown nosing of the ECB board lost that one remaining part of English cricket for me. It was craven in its way. Morgan is better than that, and I would remind people that it was his 20/20 team that had started to turn things around long before establishment Strauss muscled in and tried to take all the credit. I don’t believe a single word any of them say. They have been caught out time and again.
Hmmm, James tried widening the Full Toss out into Eat My Sports, and without wishing to fill this sentence with cliches, it didn’t float my boat at all….. be wary of diluting your USP, as the talentless marketing execs might say…..
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I wouldn’t mind the occasional article or discussion on something about sports in general, or specific non-cricket sporting events like the 6 nations or the ryder cup,,as long as there are no articles on bloody football. People come to blogs like this to get away from the neverending assault of football that the mainsteam media consists of.
“Which only reinforces a belief of mine that most capitalists hate competition. And will try to rig or buy a fixed market for their own looting model”
Well, duh. This is basically economics 101. Unregulated markets tend inevitably towards oligopoly.
Compared to other readers, I don’t think I am as forthright will my views and, I dunno how to frame it – as pissed off, or utterly dejected or even as militant as some on here.
For as long as there is complete and utter BS in the English game, then this voice and this blog is essential. Just because it isn’t sharp, or perhaps doesn’t have the venom of a mid-KP storm doesn’t mean it has a focus. The readership here is keeping things going. You’ve managed to organise likeminded folk, but we’re not all the same.
I probably should have said at the time, but I loved your County Cricket piece. As a writer, please don’t judge your post success by the comments on it. It was competing with something else (and you are worried about output). It was timely and well thought out. I personally think the stinking rot starts there and it needs to be the victim of creative destruction. The problem is, if it goes, the ECB won’t go with it, it will galvanise itself.
So do keep up the good work. That goes for TLG and the occasional Sean B piece. I think the whole world is grinding everyone down a bit, but it’s the third day of spring, clocks go forward and the season is nearly upon us. Someone is bound to piss us off. Thanks.
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Absolutely agree with this. Also from the main article “Since that date the schism, a word I love, has been stark. Those that still believe not a single thing has changed in the decision-making process that is the ECB”
This blog is important exactly because nothing has changed. KP won’t ever be picked again but the precedent is now set; the ‘England’ team is now chosen according to those that get on with the supposedly non-selector director. Making the team on merit is now a myth as those selected will never know if they only got in because Strauss doesn’t think they are a c&^t.
Cook, still the worst England captain I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch, is still in place. That means the next time it all goes horribly wrong the vested interests at the ECB will once again find a scapegoat instead of addressing the actual problems.
The lick-spittles like Selvey and Pringle have zero journalistic integrity and so will never hold their ECB masters to account. Someone has to.
I also completely agree. The blog is having some down time at the moment, but they’ll overplay their hand some time soon. Next time we’ll be ready for them!
I also feel less strongly about some things than a few posters here. It doesn’t matter. When they come for you, they’ll have to get through us first.
I also liked your CC piece. But, you said everything in it, so I could add nothing worth saying! So, my one suggestion would be to throw a few open threads around on different subjects for us to chew over, on the quiet days.
Keep your powder dry, and thanks again.
One last thing: just the fact that your mere presence irritates the living shit out of them, I personally find very satisfying.
We may have lost the battle but we won the argument hands-down. The KP issue remains relevant when you have the parallel with Chris Gayle and also the presence of a convicted spot-fixer in the tournament. Seems that looking out of the window, staring at your watch and not being trusted by Andrew C Strauss are sufficient crimes for a lifetime international ban while spot fixing is not.
While the game continues to be run and reported like it is there will surely be plenty of issues to get your teeth into. As long as they refuse to apologise or explain, what these bastards have done will not be forgiven or forgotten. I still consider myself to be outside cricket and will continue to follow this summers international from a neutral perspective.
Thanks for all the great articles you turn out and thanks especially for giving your precious time. It can’t be easy.Oh and my wife will be happy that I’m lifting my Waitrose embargo!
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Always with you Dmitri.You will always have the ” good guys” behind you and just as an aside, I still haven’t given up on KP.
I used to visit BTL in the DT but they seem to be allowing less and less comment these days. I do occasionally comment on the Guardian but every time I do I get trolled by an obnoxious twerp who is everywhere accusing me of trying to getKP back and causing me obnoxious names. He did it again last week when I had made a comment, complimentary I might add,abot Root. I know he is extreme but there are still loads of people out there who will try and shoot you down if you express an opinion which does not toe the line. We need blogs like this so keep the faith. We are all feeling pretty disillusioned still. I am watching the T20 and really enjoying it but try as I will, I find that when watching England I still wa t them to lose. That makes me feel pretty sad
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aquitted, isn’t it? I knew instantly who aquitted was – “william francis gerald” from the Telegraph comments sections. I’m afraid the Guardian nesting system encourages worthless trolls – in pursuit of extra clicks (which they have undoubtedly garnered) they have lost a community and brand loyalty built up over a decade. About 90% of comments from loyal readers and contributors were against nesting and the re-design of the website. They did it anyway. aquitted (and many similar examples on a variety of topics) is the result.