10 Years After

12 days ago this blog had its ten year anniversary.

10 years.

And I missed it.

I knew it was coming, and I had planned to post that day, but it slipped my mind and now it’s 12 days later. That about sums up how much effort I have put into this site over the last few months: vague plans followed by zero action.

10 years. 700 posts. Tens of thousands of page views (most of them on my post about how to cancel Willow TV. Thanks, Google.) Four mentions in Wisden (thanks, Brian). A mention in the Times of India. A retweet from Harsha Bhogle. Two dead dogs. A divorce. And here we are.

I started the blog on a spring morning right after the 2011 World Cup from my desk at work. It was a sunny, green morning. I had a window that looked into the backyards of suburban homes. Ducks would rest under the pine trees in the shade. An old retiree pulled weeds and mowed his lawn. The job I had at the time was terrible, but I miss it, I miss those mornings, those times, writing here. You can miss anything is something I say all the time. And it might be the only real truth that truly exists when it comes to being human.

In 2011 I had been a cricket fan for four years. It was only six years removed from the 2005 Ashes. Now it is ten years ago. A hair shy of a quarter of my life gone in the snap of fingers. Bam. Just like that.

Thanks, everyone, for reading. This is still a place that I am quite proud of.

*

To say that the game of cricket has changed over the last 10 years would be both an understatement and an overstatement. In 2011 the structures for what the game is now were firmly in place. The Twenty20 was king. The IPL was bullying the fixture calendar. If this blog had started just two or three years earlier, then the emergence of those two things would be the story here. But that’s not the case. Instead the last 10 years is really just the slow march of time, with the T20 and the IPL steamrolling everything in their paths. So what have I been writing about these last years?

There’s what happened in America, with the death of USACA and the growth of the game and the competitiveness of the international team. There’s the new Test Championship. And the last Champions Trophy. There’s Ireland and Afghanistan gaining Test status. There’s India, Australia and England muscling their way into almost total control of the global game. There was and is corruption at every single level of the game.

Sachin hit his 100th 100.

Sachin retired.

Test cricket had its 1000th match.

Ben Stokes happened. Virat Kohli took over the world. There was ball tampering and spot fixing. There was the year that saw two Ashes tournaments. Australia won a World Cup. England won a World Cup. Test cricket died, was resurrected, and died again, several times over. I saw kids playing cricket on a baseball field near my old house. A pandemic shut down the game completely at every level including even street cricket. The women’s game grew in leaps and bounds.

And gosh it feels like so much more must have happened. But right now it’s a blur. All that cricket, all those years, and now it’s like it never even happened.

Except it did. All that cricket. All that marvelous cricket.

And that is the real story of the last 10 years. Not the corruption or slow strangling of the first class game. Or The Hundred or World Cups decided on silly tiebreakers. But the game itself. And the people who played it. Men, women, children and everyone in between. From stadiums to beaches to alleyways to the park near my old house. People got up in the morning, walked outside, and played cricket. And some of us were lucky enough to get to watch the best of these cricketers perform, whether leaned up against a tree in a park, or sat in the luxury box of a stadium, or on our phones in bed in the morning before even first light.

There was just so much cricket that happened. Countless — truly countless — deliveries and overs and wickets and runs. The game has its problems, but the game is soldiering on, and these last 10 years of the game has proven that over and over and over again. People keep playing cricket, and people keep watching cricket. That’s the story here. The game continues to be declared dead, extinct, obsolete, but then it just keeps getting up off the mat. The last 10 years have seen the world change in ways we never could have expected. And sport has changed so drastically it’s almost unrecognizable. And cricket has morphed into the game it was primed to be in 2011. But through it all, through everything, the game just keeps going.

That’s the story of the last decade. It’s an optimistic tone that I didn’t expect to be able to muster when I started this post. But here we are. And here we will continue to be. Cricket marches on, and we are lucky enough to be here watching as it does.

Oh, cricket is dead? Try again, pal.

Is it sick? Sure. But everything feels sick now. The world and the sports played in it are going through massive sea changes, but it’s nothing we can’t handle, and it’s nothing cricket can’t handle. A Super League is going to destroy soccer? Wimps. Cricket has had a Super League for 150 years and is doing just fine, thanks.

10 years later. And cricket is still on in the background as I type this. And it’s great. I love it. I still love it. Every ball.

And that right there, now that I think of it, is the story of the last 10 years, and of this blog. The one constant theme that runs through every word typed. It’s about a love affair for a game. As I scroll through posts from the last decade that’s so evident it’s like I am hitting readers over the head with it. The game thrilled me in 2011, and continues to thrill me every single day.

I love cricket. And I hope to be saying that in another 10 years. Right here. God willing.

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