Posted by: nestaquin | May 13, 2009

Alive & Kicking

Yes. I am still alive albeit cricket is not a focus at the present. If truth be told I’ve watched only half a match since the Durban Test and glanced at a cricketing article or three and surprisingly, I am unaffected.

The reason I have had little time for the procrastinating pleasure of willow and leather is because I am currently engaged writing a volume regarding kid’s football and every waking hour, and quite a high proportion of my slumbering shift, has my mind juggling and weaving it’s content to completion.

In my prolonged absence the remarkably insightful and increasingly confident Toots has tended the 99.94 pitch and I’d like to snatch this opportunity and publicly express my gratitude for his articulate horticultural efforts.

With the Ashes approaching English quills have taken to spinning like the unfortunate miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin and while amusing it is a quality that deserves a begrudging respect. After all, it takes considerable gumption, excellent argumentative technique and a short memory to completely disregard form, fact, culture and history.

Thankfully, our man in Britain is more measured in his critique than many of his compatriots and for that he has my appreciation. There is already enough jingoistic muck in the current sporting media, both professional and amateur, to keep every idiot warm and ignorant in the comforting doona of nationalistic vanity.

I suspect there will be little detached commentary among supporting combatants in June and July so during the Northern summer Toots and I will, above the line at least, furl the pennons from the pole and attempt to discuss and report the cricket as objectively as possible from our distinctly unique points of view. It’s a tough brief in an emotional contest between kindred nations, with disappointment and triumph constant companions, but like all great quests the lessons learned on the journey will be more fulfilling than the actual destination.

Obviously, our readers that join us in the comments, be they travelling trainspotting enthusiasts, feline fancying romantics, barefoot deputy baristas, whatever your flavour, status, fortune or opinion you are most welcome to express anything you like no matter how bellicose or chauvinistic as long as it is not personal or too general and relates to the grand old game of cricket.

I’m hoping to be back on board in time for the World T20 but I cannot guarantee it at this stage. Until next our paths cross and connect on this seemingly infinite web I leave you in the safe hands of Toots and his spooks as England attempt to consolidate their embarrassingly easy victory at Lord’s and regain the Wisden Trophy.

On that note and remembering the last series in the Caribbean, wouldn’t it be a natural justice if England played nine batsmen and produced a featherbed for the final Test.

Stay Human



  1. I’m not sure featherbeds exist in Durham in mid-May – not sure about whether England have nine batsmen either!

    It’s a pleasure to throw a few words together here at 99.94 and a particular pleasure to read the comments below the line. It’s been an honour to tend the wicket here.

    Re The Ashes, I am confident – of a close series – and look forward to the banter and insight here at 99.94. We can’t expect a repeat of the quality of the cricket in 2005, but we can’t expect a steamrolling as in 2006-7 either. A few fifth day wins for fewer than 100 runs or five wickets will make for a good series.

    Good luck with the book Nesta!

  2. Fairly recent new reader here who’d just like to say hello and thank you both for your efforts. I’ve nothing really more to say than that just thought I’d be more than a unique IP on your page views.

    Oh, except for saying that Chris Gayle seems to be committing Captaincy Suicide by Interview. Remarkable quotes on the eve of a test match from a man who is obviously not happy with his lot in life. Was he hoiked back from the IPL ahead of his projected time causing him loss of money? That’s the prime motivation I could see for this outburst.


  3. Perchino – Glad to have you along and thanks for the kind words. I hope you’ll drop by again. I might have a few words of my own re Crystal in the Second Test Report Card.

    PS I know the journo who did the interview, and I am stonecold certain that she won’t have misquoted him.

  4. Oh no, not you too. I thought at least an Australian blog would be free of the domination of “football”, but even you are being distracted by it!
    Toots is doing a great job of tending the grass, can’t ask for a better caretaker.
    Not sure about Eng regaining the Wisden Trophy. Eng may well do so, but it doesn’t seem right. Especially since WI don’t even seem to care. Still, the world rolls on, and passiona nd talent will prevail.
    Percinho: Its funny isn’t it, they way cricket puts the spotlight on people. Part of me says Gayle he ought to do his duty, and the other half says he’s just a bloke like you and me, and has the right to make his choices and say what he thinks and good luck to him.

  5. fred – Thanks!

    Dead right about the Trophy. Strauss should give it back.

  6. fred: I know what you mean about Gayle, my thoughts flip flop at times as well. Having thought more I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about that give cause to his feelings, so there probably is more to it than money.

    I think the main criticism I have is about his timing and the lack of leadership that it shows. To come out with such comments on the eve of a test match is, in The Percinho Book of Captaincy (more of a pamphlet really), unforgivable. I can’t see how this could have had any kind of positive effect on the team and that’s unacceptable. Head down, get through the tour, then quit as skipper and from test cricket if he likes, but don’t mutter about resigning the day before a test.


  7. I began a comment here, then realised it was too long (and somewhat wasteful when my own blog lies fallow) to post in this little box. So I posted it here instead.

    The gist, in any other country of decent standard, Gayle wouldn’t be playing test cricket, let alone captaining. He doesn’t have the drive to be a professional cricketer, and his comments should be seen in that light.

    Furthermore, the West Indies cannot sustain a modern professional structure that can compare to Australia, England, India, or South Africa, so their cricket suffers by comparison. I don’t the think the IPL is the death knell for test cricket some commentators imply, but I do think the we’ve reached the limits of what the national competition structure can provide. The base of teams and talent it provides for is too narrow and constricted by nationality. Compared against other sports, the current Eng-WI series is fairly typical of the types of mismatches that occur at a national level.

  8. Russ – Glad to have you along at 99.94.

    I grew up viewing the Windies as a kind of Uber-Team sweeping all before them with a conveyor belt of fast men and hard hitting bats. Those teams (and their second XI was probably the second best team in the world then too) were the product of a similar system, one that keeps cricketers hungry and doesn’t, as county cricket can do, keeps them flabby.

    I’m off to visit your blog now.

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