Posted by: nestaquin | August 11, 2010

The Surprising Benefits of Reflection & Introspection

The course of true love never did run smooth – William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1.1.134)

About two-thirds through the last IPL I was set upon by a strange dereliction that caused a still unexplainable absquatulation from all matters cricket. Frustratingly, this mysterious ailment has yet to pass, but with Toots toiling away from both ends a tormenting sense of guilt, duty or loyalty – perhaps the entire carping trio – has me sitting reluctantly at keyboard, wondering whether public self-reflection, or more accurately, sordid self-indulgence could lead to a cathartic catholicon.

Ninety minutes and a best left unpublished Kerouacian stream of consciousness whinge later and it is with some regret to inform that no amount of self-analysis will remedy what ails my cricketing soul. Flowing descriptive investigation of emotion and reason has only caused poor punctuation, increased confusion and profound frustration at the frivolous and feral post-T20 cricketing landscape.

It has been said that a relationship that has gone through the full course of development always ends with indifference and so it is with my lifelong infatuation with televised international cricket. Even so, my fascination with the ancient game endures.

A seat in the Southern Stand at Bellerive is reserved for the approaching season and enthusiasm is high in regards to my mentoring and coaching role with the local youth. After introspection I’ve discovered that interest in cricketing technique, tactic, anecdote, folklore, history and literature has not abated so even though I’ve had a gutful of the rapacious soap opera that is modern professional cricket the sweet reverberation of willow on leather will undoubtedly continue to captivate imagination and stretch sinew for some time yet.

I feel better now

Thanks for reading

Stay Human

Image Courtesy of Rae Karma Quinlan

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Responses

  1. Nesta – simply splendid to hear from you, even if you’re in less than mid-season form.

    I can empathise completely in what you say about cricket because I feel the same about the ludicrously puffed up hype-machine that is football in England. Unbelievably, the England national team play tonight and the Premier League starts on Saturday – ho hum… I’m glad that you’re seeking compensation in the game at local level – translated to football for me, I’m going to be following Everton’s young players and old stalwarts who could be earning more elsewhere but have stayed loyal (Tim Cahill is one).

    I write under glowering Scandanavian skies in the garden where there is a little pocket of wifi as we can’t get our own working at the moment. I’ve seen a lot of cricket this summer, and I’m impressed with much of the England team’s work, though I wish the opposition were stiffer, or, rather, at their best more frequently. I miss cricket here, but I’ll play a little backyard stuff with the kids, so it’s hardly a washout!

    Now to hitch a ride on someone else’s wifi and post.

    Regards to you and yours and FANTASTIC PHOTO!

    • Cheers Toots,

      The image is from my 16 year old daughter’s upcoming debut exhibition at the Salamanca Gallery. The whole collection should be available for preview online soon. When that happens I’ll create a link to the image so you can enjoy 10 minutes seeing Pirates Bay through her eyes.

  2. What a wonderfully written piece.

    And I’d like to echo Toots’ comments about football, I feel much the same way. There’s far too much coverage of what happens outside the white lines, and far too little worth reading about what happens inside them. Football seems to exist to drive media rather than in and of itself.

    • Thanks Perc,

      Much of what passes for cricket journalism at the moment is little more than celebrity gossip and rumour too.

  3. Good to hear from you Nesta. l can strongly empathise Nesta with your conclusions and need for self-indulgent reflection – l can’t put my finger on it – the onset of 20/20 ( l simply don’t like it or 50 overs cricket very much), IPL, the decline of Aus or perhaps nothing to do with the sport itself but l have temporarily misplaced my own deep connection to the wonderful game.

    In lieu of the ability to follow cricket at a local level (living in the middle of the NT desert) l resort to the wonderful local footy (and long distance following of my beloved Geelong). Purer sport you never will find than AFL in remote indigenous communities in Central Australia. And seeing our Warlpiri Warrior Liam Jurrah stride the national stage embodying all of that…l figure that remaining in touch with what l love about the other Australian game will see me returned to cricket soon enough. That or an Ashes….

    • Greetings Jap,

      Liam’s red and the blue look set for a great era. They smashed my mob at the MCG a few weeks back and if your man Jurrah had kicked straight last weekend he could have finished with twice as many majors.

  4. Great post; like Toots, I indulge in a few mild off-breaks bowled in the back garden with the kids. I still love Tests on the TV, though this summer’s games have tested even that by being so one-sided for so much of the time. I suspect my avid viewing of shorter games will be restricted to when Ireland are playing, but I do hope to get to watch Phoenix a few times, despite the 250 mile drive there and back. And then, the Ashes. Roll on.

    • Welcome to the world of having a champion cricket team Goldy. Australians had to put up with a decade or more of whipping opponents and we grew so tired of it that we helped England and India lift their games through coaching, strategy and youth Academies.

      Seemed a good idea at the time but I think in the context of recent performance some may have a few regrets about sharing.

  5. Thanks Nesta for that quick trip you made me take to OED. I’ve been living in the U.S. for the last 12 years and the Lord knows how much I miss live cricket. So, enjoy it while it lasts, even if its some less meaningful England bashing of Bangladesh or yet another T20 whoring. My memories of some of the great matches such as Ashes 2005, Kolkata 2001 etc are filled with buffering icons and grainy streams. For that I am thankful but look with envy when people get to go to the Lord’s or Bellerieve Oval and can enjoy a great afternoon in the sun and the Cricket.

    • Cricket in Tasmania is so entrenched that I cannot perceive a period in my lifetime where I couldn’t attend a match every weekend in summer. I have been offered opportunities in the USA, Asia and continental Europe but refused all because I couldn’t bear to settle down in a place without access to cricket.

      Many moons ago before the wonder of satellite TV arrived I used P2P programs like TVU and Sopcast to watch international cricket and often found reliable streams.

  6. I like the way this blog side steps the hype and overload while giving a sensible perspective to what the best (or at least better) players are doing in this game. As always, thank you to all the commenters as well.

    As I see it, test cricket is really just there to support the truest form of the game: played by kids using a tennis ball, a stick for a bat and stumps painted onto a fence. And a small black and white dog patrolling covers to mid off.

    • In my backyard our ginger feline Sid patrols the covers from the lower branches of a juvenile gum tree and very few balls make it to the garden wall boundary before being pounced on!

  7. Nesta, stick with it. We are heading for a classic Ashes series and this site is the place to discuss it properly.
    I think Test Cricket would benefit from two divisions. Less matches but every series would be at least four matches in Division One. Might put this together properly and see if you will stick it on here.

    • G’Day Bush,

      If you have something to express 99.94 will publish it for further analysis and discussion. Our email is in the right column below the live scores. Just send anything you’d like published to that address. I’m certain a topic like the one you suggest will make for an interesting forum.

  8. Cricket to me is steadily whittling down to an annual 4-5 day pilgrimage to the SCG every year, some TV watching during the summer, and that’s about it. The SCG test is wrapped up in a lot of nostalgia, friends, memories, sentiment. I do miss the seasonal nature of the game and the anticipation that used to entail. It’s now mostly one long season with wee breaks. I don’t want to be a youngish old fart when it comes old cricket but maybe I should just embrace it!

    • I’d say that sounds a perfectly healthy way to enjoy cricket Pete except I’d add listening to the ABC coverage in the car and beginning most conversations during the summer with, “Do you know the score?”

      • Ahh yes ABC radio of course. Sometimes I even prefer to listening to cricket than watching it on the TV. Only soemtimes.

  9. I had wondered where you had disappeared to! Although I didn’t mind Toots being fantastic all by himself :).

    Waiting to read more from both of you!

  10. Still a very shaky connection here, but lovely to read the comments here, We’re very fortunate to have such readers at 99.94.

  11. It’s so sad to see so many dedicated followers of the game burnt out by the current malaise. Personally, cricket feels like I’m playing an endless computer game with only 9 levels, 4 of them ridiculously easy, the other 5 so familiar as to draw no excitement. And all of them merely opponents, not obstacles on a path to achieving something… anything.

    Toot’s football ennui notwithstanding, there was a wonderful post written on World Cup immortality a month ago, that encapsulates, to me, everything wrong with international cricket. If world cup football is fascinating because even the most dour game is embedded in a compelling narrative, cricket is boring because even the most epic match is ultimately a circus act, with the same death-defying stunts scheduled for tomorrow night.

    The Ashes has its own narrative context that it draws upon, but the other contests get harder and harder to take an interest in.

    • Wonderful link Russ, for the writing and ideas contained therein but also for the irony of the title in relation to cricket administrators insatiable quest for revenue through the medium of television.

    • Helluva link Russ!

  12. Good to see you back, Nesta !

    I commented on the facebook page, but very happy to read all the comments here.

    I really wish the ICC (and BCCI) works on a regular Test schedule between the major nations.We in India don’t have the luxury of knowing that there would always be a Kolkata/Chennai/Bangalore test every season at a particular time of the year.

    • Thanks Kumar,

      What has surprised me about all the thoughtful comments is that I’m not alone in feeling disconnected from international cricket. It would appear that the administrators of the game at the higher levels are prepared to disenfranchise their loyal supporters to attract a new audience. Cricket Australia’s latest decision to have split innings fixtures is just another example of this.

      Split innings 40 over matches won’t work because it is better to be 60/1 after the first half than 120/6. The change would have been far more attractive if they created a two innings match with 20 overs and 10 wickets per innings.

      As someone who attends most matches Tasmania play, both in the Shield and the 50 over cup there is a distinct possibility that the flaws of split innings cricket will see my family of six going to the beach instead.

      We’ll give it a go because we love going to Bellerive but reports from a few players I’ve spoken to who played in the trials last week in Darwin is that they think the format stinks. They are more than a little miffed that the administrators have implemented the format at First Class level especially when their opinions were sought after and then ignored.

      • Having the Aussies play Pakistan in England was just too much. Very strange little tour that and I am fed up to the gills with cricket at present. I tried keeping track of Middlesex in the County cricket but gave up rapidly. The onslaught of t20, which is feeling more like putt-putt in terms of the boundary sizes if you know what I mean, did for me.

        I’m not sure if disconnected is the right word though.

        Doesn’t surprise me to hear that CA is ignoring the ‘products’ in their quest for more cash.

  13. I too am extremely frustrated with the state of commercial cricket. I find it nothing but frustrating and dissatisfying. I dislike the fact that life is so easy for the batsman. I dislike the fact that administrators are desperate to make it more exciting. I dislike 20/20 cricket. I dislike the fact Test cricket is organised around going 5 days so TV companies and sponsors and treasurers can maximise their revenues. The commercial game is not pleasing anymore. I agree completely that the only satisfaction to be gained from the game is to be involved at the grassroots level.
    This business of split-innings one-dayers is a joke. It is all too depressing to even talk about.


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