In my article on the subject of blogs for this year’s Wisden Almanack, I fly the flag once more for that much-maligned individual: the fan with a laptop. They are fans, not just with laptops, but with cricket in their blood and oftentimes rage in their hearts.
If, like me, you have put up with cricket’s recent avalanche of corporate waffle, platitudinous pablum, overbearing obfuscation and patronising put-downs (“people from outside cricket”, anyone?), pontification on “the spirit of the game” and “team ethic” while the Big Three carve up world cricket (hard-headed corporate pragmatism or power-hungry self-interest with nary a thought for the good of the game? – you decide), then you too may have felt a certain weariness in your soul over much of what has gone on over the last few months.
To those who run the game, it seems that shelling out £100 of your hard-earned for a match-day ticket and £70 for a monthly Sky subscription does not entitle you to an opinion. To those who run the game, it would be better for everyone if the fans just sat down and shut the hell up.
Thankfully, the bloggers who I talk about in my article say screw all that. There is anger. There is quiet consideration. There is dismay, betrayal, and disbelief that it has all come to this. There is writing for the pure love of the game: writing that celebrates its history, frets over its present, and fears for its future.
This year’s keepers of the flame, I salute you:
I described in my article how Giles Clarke got in touch with me to discuss cricket blogging – a definite sense of mistrust permeated his approach, and I sensed a fear of the unknown and a desire for control, not conciliation. Nothing that has happened since – from the ECB’s failure to explain its sacking of Kevin Pietersen to its jockeying for power on the world stage – has persuaded me otherwise.
I’m immensely proud and honoured to have been given the opportunity to write the blogs article for the Wisden Almanack three years running, for being in the company of an august roll-call of some of the greatest names to have written on this wonderful sport we all love. I also feel that, having given my views on why an independent, informed and vocal fan base is important, it’s time for someone else to have a go. From next year I’m letting someone else bang the drum. From that drum, and in the name of every fan with a laptop, let there come one almighty racket.