Hello everyone. I haven’t even told the fab three that I’m doing this, so please forgive me.
I’ve been in a bad place for a month. It’s getting better, but there are bad days still. People are going through much worse than I am, but it pays to remember that we are all individuals and cope with things differently. Look after yourselves, and, wait for this coming from me, don’t get too angry with life. Mental wellbeing is a crucial thing, and frankly, I’ve not been looking after myself. For a lot of late June and early July, it was a dark place to be in, and nothing was worth it. I certainly had no time for the West Indies series.
That said, I am sort of coming around to cricket being played in this time, having first been violently opposed to it. I’m still the good boy who when working from home does not have the TV on, so I don’t get to watch much other than at weekends (and then I am out and about), the last series was interesting probably only because West Indies took a 1-0 lead. The real tensions around the last two, certainly as the games wore on, were weather induced and England got their bowling on track.
Pakistan are going to pose a significant test, certainly on paper they look as though they will be up for this, but it is going to take runs from the batsmen to do so, and yet again, there’s not a massive track record in England. I actually just remembered they played a couple of tests here two years ago, but then I should have, because it brought a fan favourite of mine from a NorthWest regional paper out to have a pop and tell us he was the font of all knowledge! But I must be kind. Let it never be said I don’t hold a grudge.
The guys kept the site going through my issues, for which I am grateful, but I am sincere in saying that I think my voice, and my views, are only really for the rear view mirror now. A different kind of influence is out there now, and it isn’t my belligerence and anger any more, even if it was only limited in its impact at the time. Am I happy about that? No. There’s too much wanting to get along with people who don’t share our interests at all, as if that works. Cricket boards are going to be financially stressed and playing domestic first class cricket just isn’t going to work any more. We will be seeing multitudinous T20 competitions (and less) to make up for the gaps. India, Australia and our Bastard Hundred will hog the lions share of the proper money. Test cricket will fade. I hope I am wrong. If it does, I’ll be long gone.
Some observations from the early coverage:
- Bumble needs to be put out to pasture. Some of his sessions are embarrassing. The Tea break where he was eating sandwiches and drinking tea while Athers gave serious analysis seemed to this grump as an eff you to cricket fans. We aren’t here to be his audience for a comedy routine.
- BBC highlights. Oh my god. The advantage of an hour to have your highlights is to show more than Sky’s hour show that has two advert breaks. Instead we start with up to 8 minutes of chat before you see a ball bowled, a review at lunch in a highlights show, and about 10 minutes of chat it seems at the end. Now, this might be masterful given the commentary line-up can consist of Send You To Sleep BBC Idol Cook, Tuffers, who, frankly, is stealing a living, and Vaughan. Now you all know how much I love dear Shiny, but he’s not the worst here. He’s not good, he’s still rent a view, but he’s got more to him than some. Yes, Carlos Brathwaite was surprisingly decent, and Isa Guha has to be eyeing some wider sports roles to take this job, but whoever put that highlights show together, start again. More cricket, a lot less bunny. Does anyone tune in to highlights programmes to watch the presenters babble on?
- Fake crowd noise doesn’t bother me at all.
- Rob Key is the most frustrating commentator out there. I’m not humourless, honestly I am not, but when he’s actually commentating he’s not bad. He’s got the hyperbole thing, but he also seems to spark off others in the team. You get that he’s a good colleague. Turn the blokey, chirpy stuff down a notch, Rob. You are good enough, you don’t need to be a comedian. More like Athers, less like Bumble.
- Cricket twitter is busted beyond redemption. I just don’t understand what’s going on out there. I really don’t. I wouldn’t read another blog on cricket these days. What I think we have that others don’t, and it is certainly my ethos, is that I never wanted to be loved by the cricket establishment, I never wanted to tone down views because it might get me more clicks or “respect”, and while I had some decent drinks with some journos at times, I never felt they thought I wanted to be them, whereas too many out there do. I also never faked my anger. I still won’t. I’m not that angry any more, believe it or not, because there’s too much to be angry about, there’s not enough time. There are too many out there looking for praise, looking to be loved, and not enough out there willing to provoke or provide alternatives. Too many who write for their audience, and not for themselves. As I said, I’m yesterday’s man, my stuff was for a time, and for a purpose. It might be that style comes en vogue in the future. I doubt it. But today’s stuff tires me out. Are you cricket fans, or do you just want to be noticed?
- I don’t get the love for Barney Ronay. I just don’t. But it might be he’s just doing football at the moment. I’m confused. I have been for six weeks.
OK. Three test series v Pakistan. Enjoy it those who love it. I hope you get out of it what you want. Thanks so much to West Indies and Pakistan for playing in it, and for the England players who are taking a lot on, regardless of how much they get paid, to do this. I respect them enormously for doing so, thus I can’t get rattled too much about Buttler being picked regardless, Stokes worship, who bats three, why Jimmy is playing, why Broad isn’t. It doesn’t really matter. For those who miss cricket, and want it, this is great and who am I to say it shouldn’t happen.
My Irish friend has just whatsapped to claim they are now World Champions. I won’t bite.
I hope the next few days are entertaining, the weather looks great down here, so hope it is up North, and I can leave you again in the capable hands of Sean, Danny and Chris who have not missed my output one bit. In fact, I feel quite cheeky writing this!
All the best.
And I forgot. The Test starts today, comments below.
Don’t expect too much from Pakistan – they are still figuring out their middle order. At least they have the bowling to take advantage of weather conditions (if such circumstances arise). In a way this series will feel like a home series to them – simply because in their adopted home, there are hardly audiences to begin with.
Still should be much more interesting than the West Indies series (rest assured, the West Indies will be happily ignored in all their financial distress by the ECB).England can hardly afford a slip up if they are serious about winning the Test Championship, also with a series in India down the line, from which they probably won’t get too many points.That is assuming that the ICC simply don’t rig the rules in favour of making more money.
Ireland are not World Champions, but it is still a big win for them. They need to finish 8th or higher in the new ODI Super League in order to automatically qualify for the 2023 World Cup. If they can win 1 in 3 games, that would possibly be enough to do it. They’re currently ranked 11th of the 12 full ICC members (Zimbabwe being last), so they’re fighting an uphill battle and need every win they can get.
Just schedule the home series in the rainy season. Ireland might then qualify on washouts.
Peter….. “Cricket boards are going to be financially stressed and playing domestic first class cricket just isn’t going to work any more. We will be seeing multitudinous T20 competitions (and less) to make up for the gaps. India, Australia and our Bastard Hundred will hog the lions share of the proper money. Test cricket will fade. I hope I am wrong. If it does, I’ll be long gone.”
Couldn’t agree more boss, and sorry to hear about your problems. Hope the doom and gloom can lift a bit for you.
I have already “gone” I’m afraid. I have popped in here now and again and read a few posts, but not commented. Cant be arsed. It’s all been said before. I feel it’s the end of an era which in many ways started with the whole KP/Cook/ECB business. This site fought a good fight against a dishonest and greedy governing body, and well done to one and all. But cricket and sport in general is going in a direction I have little interest in. Perhaps it’s what happens when you get older? I find it funny that I ever really cared about cricket now. It seems so distant and out of touch with my life. I haven’t watched any of the football on BT either. Sport is ALL about cash now, and the media coverage has hyped it to a point where it can almost never live up to the bullshit.
I didn’t watch any of the BBC highlights of the WI series, but not at all surprised to hear the programme was shite. TV broadcasters prefer to pontificate rather than show action. Look at Match of the day. That is what sports broadcasters have become. Over paid pontificators, who think they are more important than the game. it’s over for me guys.
I cancelled Sky last year and haven’t missed it a single day. With the Covid 19 in the last few months what was the point in subscribing as there has been little live sport anyway? I’m glad I got out when I did. I’m about to Renew my Broadband contract and will kiss goodbye to BT sport as well. I just don’t watch it.
I’m sure some will say good riddance to old fogeys, and that I’m stuck in the past. I understand that, but I see little hope for the versions of cricket I loved. I can’t see any of the Test records being broken now in the future. Four day test cricket will end any hope of that. How long would you need to play to get 800 test wickets or score 10,000 runs? Forty years?
I also feel that the governing bodies are taking the piss out of us now. Poor series with badly prepared teams, and short tours with little preparation. Outside of the big three many top players have given up test cricket to play other forms. And for this second rate product they charge a fortune for the privilege. I shouldn’t laugh in these pandemic times, but empty cricket and sports grounds seems an appropriate metaphor for the greedy, grasping executives who run sport. A lot of people in a lot of professions are going to lose their jobs in the coming year. Sport ain’t that important. Not at current prices.
If cricket can only sustain itself financially with 20/20 or one hundred ball jamborees then so be it, but it has no interest for me. And the governing body should acknowledge its really a new sport. I don’t want to hear Bumble sing Sweet Caroline for the 900th time. One of the attractions of watching sport for me was to ignore, and forget the real world for a few hours, and just enjoy some players doing the best they could. I want to be entertained by talented athletes and not told what to think. Now sport seems to think real life needs to be rammed down my throat ever five minutes, and I need a multi millionaire 19 year old telling me how to live my life, No thanks.
Anyway, a bit of a ramble. Good luck to those that keep watching and enjoying it. I will pop in here occasionally and see what is being said. Old fashioned Test Cricket will always have a special place in my heart, and I really don’t feel I have left cricket, more that cricket left me.
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This may be the best year of test cricket to come. All series from here on in will be between a home side and an underprepared away side struggling against many odds, but at least this year we don’t have a beer-swilled crowd further swaying things towards the home favourites. OK, that’s the nature of a crowd, I suppose, but , in terms of a level playing field, this is as good as it will get.
England fans (as opposed to cricket fans like some of us are) won’t complain.
I still like your stuff Peter. A lot. Less fussed on the rest. Hope all well.