Take It or Leave It

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.

19 thoughts on “Take It or Leave It

  1. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 27, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Nil de illegitimi carborundum descendum…FTECB…a growing mantra btl from the purists, the traditionalists, and every other kind of obsessive, the very core of support for our game, the fabric from which everything was built, those that enjoy the sport!
    Do not feel alone, a lone voice in the wilderness…because you’re NOT!
    I feel sure this blog can aid and support the growing momentum of dissent..FTECB!..Always!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Apr 27, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    Works for me that, a lovely piece.

    Small in the scheme of things but maybe indicative… has anyone picked up the situation regarding Total Cricket Scorer? This has been great for the club game – scorers like the electronic scoring and members love being able to receive live updates of games.

    There seems to be a letter doing the rounds from the ECB which may prevent this being used in favour of their own app, which is only available in phone format anyway.

    Does anyone else know more about this? There was plenty of chat last weekend at my club…


  3. Mark Apr 27, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    I can quite understand your frustrations boss. I feel the same. You have done a great job with this blog and I can sympathise with your wainning interest In the sport. The game I discovered in the late 1960s has gone, and it ain’t coming back.

    The 2005 Ashes, although we didn’t know it at the time was almost a last hurrah of the good old days. The enormous changes that have come since then have completely transformed the sport into a foreign land, The sport has lost it’s way, and its heart and purpose have been ripped out. A series of fuckwittery decisions implemented by halfwits have virtully killed the sport as I knew it. As these so called custodians flail arround like drowning sailors the sport turns more and more into a giant white elephant with no soul.

    Gimmicks, ever more gimmicks, and desperate quick fixes are wheeled out like a failing circus act. If 39 and his chums turn out to be geniusus (which I very much doubt) and franchise cricket takes off it will be only a Pyrrhic victory. Because as it grows and succeeds, it will inevitably destroy test match cricket even more. The idea that this Frankenstein monster will save the longer form of the game is madness. Who will want to play test cricket anymore? And who will have the technique to do so? With every new move they shoot another one of their toes clean off their feet.

    I intend to to enjoy this summers test series against SA, and then watch the Ashes on BT in the winter. (More for nostalgia) than any anticipation of a great series of great test quality. And then I’m done. If Murdoch wins the right to take full control of Sky I will dump Sky and move on. So long test cricket it was nice to have known yer! I want no part of the city based hoopla that will be coming in 2020.

    On a personal note I hope you can find something to get your interest and enthusiam to write about. Iam afraid if it’s American sport I won’t be following you. (Just not interested) Perhaps football? Then again, that’s another sport that has eaten itself. But you should continue to write because if you have a passion for something you are good at getting your teth into it. Far better than what passes for cricket writing (but is nothing but corporate product placement) in the MSM.

    Anyway, I will be about for a little longer, through the summer and winter I hope, and then that is it for me. Just got to work out what to spend my £700 odd quid I m going to save dumping Sky!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. pktroll (@pktroll) Apr 28, 2017 / 11:13 am

    I love sport and I love cricket, but in recent times I have become increasingly disillusioned with the elite level professional sports and cricket is not going to be an exception to this. I am too involved in either playing and help organising teams play football and cricket as I hate the idea of being a slob.

    I may have mentioned previously that I have found it difficult to keep my enthusiasm with international cricket in the last few months with the amount that is played and the absolutely bonkers schedule England have going forward. perhaps it may lose me more as a fan of the international game. Yet I will be involved with my little club and I can’t see that changing. Yours outside cricket…………


    • Grenville Apr 28, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      I think that, like it or not, this is the direction we will have to go in. Big sport, and in this case big cricket, has been taken from us and turned into a spectacle, a sort of West End show. If you want to pay the money, then you will be rewarded with astonishing sporting performance. What it won’t have is any meaning. It won’t be part of your life.

      Interestingly, although I think that the ECB is to blame, I am enough of a Marxist think that it is a cultural inevitability. (That doesn’t absolve the ECB of culpability). My memories of growing up in a (displaced) east end Jewish community and my reading of post-war literature, suggests that once upon a time sport and games were an integral part of communal life. It’s what you did if you were a man (I appreciate this is a misogynist state of affairs). Playing sport was much more important than watching it, though of course you did that too. (There is a wonderful scene in Alexander Baron’s “Rosie Hogarth” where he describes all of male London heading to their various recreations on a Saturday morning). I guess, importantly, the big clubs were part of the community, not because they sent the players out as ambassadors into schools or because their players were recruited from the local youth, but because sport and sports clubs had an integral role in the life of the community. They meant something. Thatcher and her neo-liberal chums ripped communities apart. Now individualism is king. It is not surprisingly yuppie sports are things like squash and cycling. They are things you do by yourself or with friends (not as part of a community).

      In that context, there is no way for county cricket clubs or Premier league football clubs to be anything other than a spectacle. There is no way for them to have a public meaning. All relations have been reduced to private relations and private relations, inasmuch as possible, have become monetised.

      In this context PK’s comment that we have to return to our local cricket club is apt. It is important to bear in mind, however, that, if I’m right, there is a danger that such return just becomes one more private relation. That is, one more way to spend your money and your leisure time. Now that we have lost a public space, a space of meaning, it is very hard to bring it back. I don’t really have a recipe for success here. It can’t be done in the field of cricket alone. I think that it is a good site of resistance. Communal sport is hard to privatise (as the leg glance’s paen to his mentors illustrated so eloquently). Communal sport is something that we do, not something that I do and you happen to do too. But, unless we also change all of our relations, we better get used to the franchising of every part of our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 28, 2017 / 10:11 pm

        I agree with a lot of this. It certainly seems it can’t be stopped.

        Where I disagree is that if you pay the money you will get great performance. The Premiership seems to get worse with every season. Ending with Englands finest over paid players getting beaten by Iceland. England’s best teams have performed badly in this years champions league. Top flight football seems to ape banking. The more you give them, the worse they perform.

        For all the wealth in the IPL a lot of the games are very ordinary. Perhaps sport was really meant for playing, as you say, and not for watching.


      • Grenville Apr 29, 2017 / 7:16 am

        You could well be right, Mark. Big cricket isn’t, I think, as good as it was. Football, which I don’t really follow, seems astonishing to me when I see it now. I think that this is a result of the massive investment in the game and the need to be thrilling. It would be good if cricket, with its narrative nuance, was resistant to being a spectacle. I suspect it will just morph into twenty twenty.


      • d'Arthez Apr 29, 2017 / 8:40 am

        Beautiful comment Grenville.


      • Grenville Apr 30, 2017 / 10:20 am

        Thank you, D’Arthez


  5. thebogfather Apr 28, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Is the truth for real
    Our game now framed to appeal
    Only to the monied in ignorance arse-kissed
    #FTECB and #FTICC for ever that they exist
    So we obsessives remain
    True lovers of the long-term game
    Played in whites not pyjamas
    Flayed maximums are no karma
    Nor will T20 last into the next decade
    So ECB city-link will shrink and fade
    As no one will in future, care or pay
    A global clusterfuck in disarray
    Outside here we be in name
    Saying, goodbye to our game…


    • thebogfather Apr 28, 2017 / 5:13 pm

      …This is not the ‘Outside’ end, there are many within to decry, my friends… and they will continue to decree, a feed, for you and we


  6. SimonH Apr 28, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    How did #39 manage to gerrymander this particular result? Was the poll conducted by the same people who found Premiership football the 6th most popular sport in the UK?

    Liked by 2 people

    • "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 28, 2017 / 4:37 pm

      Complete bollocks..what was the question and how was it worded?? Without the demographic detail it’s worthless.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 28, 2017 / 5:24 pm

      As Stalin said…… its not who votes, but who counts the votes.

      More interestingly……. why is 39 so obsessed with the success of franchise cricket? Has he got his own money invested in this project? Or what about his boss who owns the The Cricketer magazine? Or is he just doing what he has always done, namely being a PR for the ECB?

      What ever it is, it stinks to high heaven. He seems to have an agenda that goes way beyond just an honest opinion. But then he is the 39th most influential person in English cricket!! After all, he told us so!


    • d'Arthez Apr 29, 2017 / 8:44 am

      Keyword is respondents. In all likelihood, the disenfranchised did not have a vote. That is a bit like Kenyan MPs voting in parliament to increase their salaries, and claiming that everyone agreed …

      Also notice the wording: it is a negative formulation; the intent was to suggest that 72% was for, but the data does not back that up. In short, if there is a majority of respondents for, it is not by a massive margin (in all likelihood something along the lines of 40% for, 32% undecided / not sure / don’t care).


    • SimonH Apr 29, 2017 / 10:13 am

      There’s a lengthy and interesting thread developed to this one.

      Two members of the fourth estate have formed a tag-team to take on outsiders. Funny how that seems to happen….


  7. SimonH Apr 29, 2017 / 9:15 am


    What a lovely line this is:

    “And he has not forgotten how a single blunder – by Adil Rashid at Johannesburg, where he put down South Africa’s Chris Morris – cost England a famous series win last year”.

    Rashid is not a good fielder – but a game of cricket is made up of a thousand moving parts and one isn’t lost by a “single blunder”. The lack of collective responsibility is nauseating and it’s become a regular feature of this England set-up (and of course it always seems to be the same guy hung out to dry).

    Rashid scored 39 and took 2 wickets in that game. Perhaps England would have won if Roy, Morgan, Stokes and Buttler hadn’t all been out for single figure scores. Perhaps England would have won if Broad hadn’t bowled like a drain. Perhaps….. perhaps….


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