One Take. One Take writing. Take it or leave it.
We live in interesting times. We live in times where our cricket faces change and turmoil, yet we, as lovers of test cricket and the primacy of the international games, sit on the outside not able to countenance what is going on. Not able to articulate our rage, our desperate anger, in a way that those making the decisions take a blind bit of notice of. Those “in charge” of the decline. From the keepers of the international game, emasculated at the altar of Indian primacy, the paper tigers dwarfed by the 1.3 billion sized elephant in the room, pretending they have a roar, when all they have is the cage around them. To the local entrepreneurs, the brains of the various outfits, struggling to keep their game relevant while realising that it really is a task of such gargantuan proportions, it makes Sisyphus’ little struggle seem a pre-break tick box exercises. To the media, and those who claim to be inside and outside more than the world hokey-cokey championships whenever it suits, who tell the proles that they are bilious inadequates, but should realise that without them, they are nothing. To the governing authority of the English game, without sin or error, without confession of mistake, without recognising the recreational game, without recognising the contribution of county members and supporters in nurturing the sport, bringing in the next generation, who sit on high like some Supreme Judge, a body of the immense, a wisdom beyond mere mortals, while practising their own version of dictatorship.
We live in interesting times. Where players play too much, there is too much cricket, but where the prime form of the domestic game is marginalised to the ends of the summer. To the past pros, able to dish out criticism, call their followers on Twitter idiots or muppets, but when the folly or conflict of their ways is pointed out, they jump on a stool, like the maid in Tom & Jerry, feigning horror. The Shiny Toy is naked. The Analyst has 39 mis-steps. The Lord is just another social media zealot. The Muppet is left to the Cricket Paper. The cosiness of the media construct, that rushed to praise the Comma, and we doubt will ever bury him, remains. It just wears less marked clothing. A Sky Sports team brought up on Free To Air, preaching how restricting coverage is for the good of the game because of money. That thing that matters everywhere.
For however interesting those times are, I’m afraid they don’t interest me anywhere near as much as they used to. They’ve learned absolutely nothing. They pretended to, but we never bought it. They appeared to move towards us, but instead they were doing so only to insult us more. They spoke nice words, then when we did not prostrate ourselves before their mighty deity, they lashed out. You obsessives. Obsessives. OBSESSIVES. These men, for men they generally are, deserve our contempt. They do not deserve our anger any more. Anger is for those who seek to change. Who believe that change is possible. Who believe reasoned debate, and calm tones, have tried and failed and been used against us. Who believe that there is something out there worth saving. Who believe, truly, totally believe in test cricket.
Anger, like natural resources, is something exhausted. If you keep banging your head against a brick wall, it starts to hurt. Do it too often and you cause permanent damage to yourself. You either stop, or you end up in pieces. Why? Is it worth it? Truly? When a game is run by such total charlatans, such specious toads? When they don’t care what you think, when they KNOW they are right? Why? Is it truly worth it?
The world moves on. Blogging moves on. This blog won’t end, not yet. But I sense I’m watching the degradation of a good friend. Surrounded by those who purport to want to save it, they are instead looting it. When they leave, and they will, the good friends will be left to mourn. I believe we are in this phase. Dmitri Old eventually will be no more. He will move on. Sad, grateful. Mad, respectful. Angry, in awe. The game that gave so much, returns him nothing but contempt. 20 overs here, a large bash there, a MRF Maximum to send him on his way.
Enjoy it while we all can. For enjoyment is in short supply.