Another day, another post pining for the good old days, when cricket was played by white people, with white fans, in a white country. Yes, I am being too harsh on poor old Martin Johnson, who longs for the days before video replay (because getting the call right is such a, you know, problem) and pop music between overs (okay that is something I can get on board with) but his post is just another indication of a very real divide in the game.
Mr. Johnson sees the County game as the “bedrock” of the sport (referring to it as “our” sport, as in “us”, as in “English people”), and while I love the Championship as much as the next fella, the bedrock is shifting east, and people like Mr. Johnson are going to have to get on board, or be pushed aside.
However, he does make some decent points: the fact that a game that requires FOUR entire days to be played would never be concocted in the digital age, and that the county game does have a very real “quality all of its own” – but he comes across as bitter in pointing those positives out.
Now: why can’t both versions of the same sport exist peacefully? Why does one have to push the other out? Is it simply a metaphor for a shift in world power from NATO to BRIC? I am not sure where all this is heading.
Let’s just say this: there is nothing wrong with India making the game their own. Instead, England should be proud to have created something so beloved. And, honestly, as long as people like Mr. Johnson are around to extol its virtues, the county game, as we know it, isn’t going anywhere either.
But when the Martin Johnsons of the world are gone, and they are an endangered species, the game he describes in his article might be gone, too.
Back on the pitch: (It IS kind of annoying how the County Championship is pushed to the back pages of Cricinfo, while the IPL is given front page status no matter what): Chennai is chasing down Pune’s 141, while Kochi v Deccan starts a little later. The IPL is fun for the first week, but then you start to realize what a slog it is. Still a month left before the qualifying playoffs.
And day 2 of the County Championship rolls on, from which our photo of the day emerges. Until tomorrow: