Hello everyone. I am sorry I’ve not been on here recently, and in many ways I feel a little guilty about it. But I hope those that check in every now and then, and those that are regulars, are coping well as they can with the world we live in, and that you are all safe and well, and so are your family and friends. I know that can’t be the case for everyone, but fingers crossed that it is.
I have a confession to make. You may already know it. I do not miss cricket one bit. Not at all. Cricket isn’t on its own in that. I don’t miss football. I don’t miss baseball. I don’t miss F1, the NBA, the Masters, the Grand National. I will not miss Euro 2020 not being played. I won’t miss the Olympics. I love all those things, I have been a sports nut ever since Mum and Dad taught me to read by using the back pages of the newspapers. I don’t miss them for a variety of reasons. At this moment I don’t care who wins. At this moment I am not bothered by gossip, rumour, or even how bloody awful the ECB is, and given Harrison’s open mouth talk nonsense effort this week, they haven’t changed. I don’t want footballers, cricketers, rugby players, athletes to contract a disease that is communicable by asymptomatic people. To themselves, to their loved ones to those they may meet in the shops at the wrong time and the wrong place. Sport is not important right now. Be wary of those telling you it is.
Let’s take some of the suggestions for cricket. You quarantine a load of players in advance of a game to ensure they don’t have it. You lock them in isolation during a test, or a series, and then, at the end, you probably quarantine them again. Now, where do you sign up for that experience of a lifetime? That’s then got to be played in front of empty stadia – remember how we are always reminded that the county championship is no good because it attracts no-one and has no atmosphere? – and here we are only, only talking about elite level, which as Izzy Westbury suggested in her Twitter thread, quite often means “not women”. Then what will we have. A spectacle played to no-one, so that we at home can content ourselves that we are slowly getting back to normal, and the betting industry can pray on those even more vulnerable than they were before. The cynicism of this is blinding. You think they are doing this for their furloughed staff and low-paid ancillary staff. I’ve got some disinfectant as a cure to sell you if you do.
I think for cricket the break will do me good. The whole sport is a treadmill, and a break for players, even in these horrific circumstances, will mean we will love it more, hopefully, when it comes back. Cricket had become mundane, routine. A meaningless test series, usually, but not always, won by the home team followed another. There’s a T20 tournament for someone with an in-demand skill to tide themselves over in some location in the world if the mood is right. An ODI here, another one there. It was such that running a blog commenting on the game was becoming a massive chore. In its absence I have done other things, found filling my time not difficult at all, looking back at great sport and enjoying it again (I think Sky Sports Cricket should be doing more, much more, of that), and also reading, listening to music, watching TV series, and writing, still. I am doing that on my own blog, and if you haven’t read it yet, I am keeping a diary throughout the lockdown. It can be found here – Seven and Seven Eighths II– and it is my hat size.
The guys are doing superb work on Twitter, so please carry on supporting us. We have never been as presumptuous to say we are the voice of the fans, but we are a voice, well four voices as authors and we cover a lot of bases. I gave up Twitter for lent, and found it thoroughly lovely. In fact, I am not actually sure why I returned.
Mentally, for me, it has been tough, but I know a lot of people are a lot more worse off than me. Cricket has been rendered irrelevant by the vast numbers dying, and the fear and trepidation I feel as one of those with the anaesthetised but Orwellian concept of “an underlying medical condition” as if I am someone who should just accept my fate should it come my way because in some shape or form, I deserve it. I’d rather not, thank you. That means you won’t be seeing me at any event any time soon. You can never eliminate risk, but you can do your part to minimise it. That means steering away from the copious amount of ocean going idiots I come across in the park every day when I’m walking Teddy. Stay safe.
One thing on my list is to collate all my cricket recordings in one place. I have loads. I have the entire 2010-11 Ashes series in its entirety. It doesn’t feel bad watching Cook then. I have so much I can do that I’m not bored, and that’s great. I am lucky that my job can be done from home, so I am ok there too. I worry about others. A great friend of mine lost her mum this week (not sure it was of the virus) but she can’t have a funeral as the family would have liked, and how that impacts mentally I don’t know. In all of this, setting up matches in Abu Dhabi to satisfy TV companies and betting outlets seems irrelevant, and even a little distasteful to me. But that’s me. Others can have their views.
Stay safe and well everyone. Let’s dream of the day we can get back to watching sport in safety and for the right reasons. It’s what, I think, we all love.