Stand For Cricket

On Thursday the 20th August, the first day of the final Ashes Test, I’ll be outside the Oval at 10am, with other cricket fans.  We’ll be standing for a three minute silence to protest the Big 3’s silencing of the rest of the cricket world.  We’ll be standing to #changecricket. Here is why I’ll be standing.

When I was 27 I was parking cars for a living.

Then, cricket.

Three years on I’d written for Wisden, published two books, and played cricket on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s.

A few years on from that I’ve travelled around the world with cricket.  I’ve commentated the close of a Test match in South Africa.  Seen India v Pakistan on three continents.  Saw perhaps the most agile streaker ever in New Zealand.  Got smashed in the nets of Arun Lal’s cricket academy (after bowling one dream leggie).  Chatted to a Jamaican Taxi driver on Garner vs Holding. Seen Chris Gayle range hitting a cricket ball onto a Sri Lankan street.  And commentated a cricket game at the G.

Now the only two websites I have ever used as homepages in my life, cricinfo and imdb, both have my name on them.

Cricket gave me all that.  But, that’s just a job.  Cricket had always given me things.

It kept me out of trouble as a teenager.  The one time I was caught shoplifting was on the eve of a game. And just the fear that I may not play the next day was enough for me fly straight a for a while.  When I was at my lowest points, when I was told that someone who did not finish highschool would never amount to anything, and I faced a life of random jobs and constant disappointments, it was cricket that helped me not drive into the parked semi trailer on my night shifts back home.

Playing cricket, watching cricket, talking absolute shit about cricket.

This blog started in a pizza place called Pepperonis near Flinders St station in Melbourne.  It was the best place for me and my mates to meet before heading to the G for the footy, and often where we would head straight after the cricket as well.  Me and my mate Sime liked the pizza, but perhaps the best part was the fact that no matter what Joel (Big Daddy) ordered, they got wrong, or just plain forgot.  Cricket just gave us something never ending to talk about, argue about.  In a Chicago hostel on our way to the 2003 World Cup we argued about Adam Gilchrist and what they next five years of his career would produce, until someone slammed the wall telling us it was 3am.

Before that it was cricket in the backyard, the front yard, the street, the park, a school, the nets, on a concrete, matting, synthetic and then finally actual turf.

In the backyard my dad always triggered everyone, as only old bowlers can. My uncle Gary was always on the look out for a creative way to use his knowledge of the laws of cricket to make an extra single.  My uncle Ross batted like a 12 year old boy his whole life, which always amused us.  My uncle Terry had this slow and jerky style of bowling that never looked like it would go straight, but the only loose ball he bowled would be so far down legside you couldn’t score off it. My cousins were all bowlers, a couple of legspinners and a few fast medium bowlers. Our games usually had quick turnovers as no one was a really great bat.  My cousin Megan would get a second chance, and would often use that to hit the ball over the fence.  My mum played everything across the line, she had a killer cross court forehand in tennis, and that was her only shot in cricket as well.

We still play today, my mum still has surprising good reflexes at short cover.

I played at school, not often in PE, or for the school, but at morning break and lunch.  Then after school.  Behind the kindergarten in Greenbrook that I once attended there were concrete pitches, so you had to pocket every spare cricket ball you could.  I remember Kevin’s inswingers, Jase’s offcutters, Justin’s bouncers and a young kid called Jacob (before he went on to play for Richmond) who could come over when he heard the ball slam into his families fence.

It was always there for me.  On the radio, on the TV, in a conversation, out on the ground, wherever I needed it.  My last proper conversation with my grandpa was about cricket.  When my wife had a miscarriage, I threw myself into cricket.  It didn’t matter how bad my life was, there was always cricket.  There was always Dean Jones, Martin Crowe, Mushtaq Ahmed, Wasim Akram, Craig Howard, Ian Harvey, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Stephen Fleming, Virender Sehwag, Bryce McGain,,my father, Westy, the Gibbs brothers, Dom, Adrian, Neil, Eddo and Housey.

There was always cricket.

When my dad and I didn’t get each other, we got cricket.  We could talk cricket.  We could watch cricket.  We always had that.

My wife and her father had a complicated relationship as well.  But they had cricket.  They had Sachin.  And my wife held on to that after her father passed away.

Our kids only exist because of cricket, without it, a hemisphere and a world apart, we would never have met. I still remember when my oldest son hit his first ball, that pure look of joy on his face as the ball hit the bat.  Surprise and pure happiness.  On my best days with cricket, I still get that.

And that’s why I will be standing for cricket, because cricket has always stood for me.  And, while your history might be different, I bet it has always stood for you.

It’s been used by sexists, racists, colonists, by Lord’s, by rulers, by dictators.  They have used and abused it.  Used it to segregate, used it to teach the natives how to be like them, used it to break down men and ignore women.  But cricket isn’t the men that run it.  Cricket isn’t racist.  Cricket is wonderful. Beautiful.  Perfect even when it isn’t. It’s us who are flawed.  It’s us who have allowed it to be used this way.

That’s why I am standing for cricket.  Maybe we should have always been standing for cricket.  Maybe we shouldn’t have waited for three men to use money and ego to bully the 102 official cricket nations and steal the game for their own self serving reasons . Maybe as cricket fans we should have always stood for cricket. But let us stand now.

If you can’t get to the Oval, stand for three minutes wherever you are.  This is our sport.  We can give it three minutes after a lifetime of what it has given us.

Stand for cricket.

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17 thoughts on “Stand For Cricket

  1. Mark says:

    Nice work Jarrod, will be there in spirit from Canberra. When do we get to see the film in Aus please? Cheers Mark

  2. Homer says:

    You talk of three men who use money and ego to bully the rest, but that is not the case, is it?
    The three men represent their respective cricket boards. The men will fade away, but the constant that will remain is the three boards. Three dominant boards that will rule the roost.
    But then again, the history of organized international cricket has always been about three boards.
    The governing body that is now so loathed now was formed by three cricket boards. Three cricket boards that did their utmost to restrict entry to other nations, kept power limited to themselves through veto, and ran international cricket like their fiefdom.
    Until the rest of the world said “no, thank you”. Alternate power blocs were formed, existing power structures were eroded till such a time that the governing body was reduced to a place for bartering and horse trading and exchanging favors that made the body nigh ungovernable.
    Then, three boards decided to restructure the body, limit the entry of other nations, keep power limited to themselves, and run international cricket as their personal fiefdom.
    History has a magnificent way of running in circles, which is why it tends to repeat itself, as tragedy, farce and high comedy. And as evidenced in history, power structures are transient, absolute power fleeting.
    I believe Cricket, and cricket administration, has a remarkable ability to self correct, sometimes for the worse, but generally for the better.
    I also believe the sport transcends power structures. And while we are captivated in the moment, sport is more than few moments. It is the only continuum that exists. People will come and go, and tomorrow there will be other power struggles that will draw our attention. But the game, the one that carried you and me and many others through our dark times and gave us some of our most cherished memories, will go on, stronger.
    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    • Jrod says:

      Homer, most of this is details that we can argue over for days. I’d prefer to spend my time Holding these three men these three boards to account. Maybe cricket will right itself eventually, but let’s start that now, ourselves. For the first time we can have a real voice, I intend on using it.

      • Homer says:

        Jarrod,

        All I am saying is that there is a natural order of things and a natural course to events. And in this day and age, public protests achieve very little, maybe some short term concessions that really don’t mean anything other than crumbs to placate the baying mob. But there is also an equal and opposite backlash, a tightening of the belt, if you will, and that might lead to unintended consequences that may be detrimental to the cause you espouse.

        I am counting on the inherent contradictions within the ICC, and within the Big 3, for a reform in the structure and the governance,.Also, with the fading away of the dramatis personnae, there is every opportunity for the system to change itself – newer people, new ideas, new ways of implementing things.

        That being said, I wish you all the very best in your endeavor. I also hope that your protest is the outlier, the exception to the rule.

        Cheers,

  3. Michael Halliday says:

    There will be 100% support in Ireland. Cricket is the only international sport which is reducing the number of participants in its world cup. While other sports expand, cricket contracts. There is only one reason for this, as far as I can see. Greed. The spurious argument used is the need to avoid “uncompetitive” matches. On that basis England should refuse to play test matches against Australia following Trent Bridge. Do the “Big Three” not realise that finding home sponsorship for cricket in countries where it is not a major sport is made far more problematic if there is not a world stage on which to play?

  4. Varunan says:

    Plain. Not plane. Threw. Nor through. holding. Not Holding. given. Not give.

    • Jrod says:

      Varunan, No problem you correcting my literal errors in an unedited blog, but Holding should be capitalised, as it’s a name. Bloke who used to play for the West Indies. Pretty handy, they reckon.

      • varunan says:

        In this, sir, I am sure you didn’t mean the Whispering Death “…Holding these three men these three boards to account.” Or did you? I have always been an admirer of your prose and have no doubt you were something good that has happened to ‘cricklit’ and have rarely seen such copy editing errors in what you write. Even on this site. If it was lack of time, I can understand… :)))

      • Jrod says:

        yeah, am pretty ok with that error. That is because usually what you read goes through sub editors, this was written and posted. but thanks.

  5. The stewards at the Oval are not cricket people either and I bet my bottom dollar that you will be harassed and threatened with expulsion from the ground by the nearest hired hand for the whole 3 minutes. Good luck, there are so many members of the cricket family right behind you!

  6. Unfortunately, won’t be able to make it as will have to be at work that day. There in spirit. #changecricket

  7. ironduke99 says:

    Agreed. Cricket is lovely and it needs to be spread.

  8. ironduke99 says:

    As a inner city South London English Kid in the 1970’s I was taught to play Cricket by a teacher from Barbados, who could not believe that English boys did not know the game. We had an Ashfelt playground. The Wickets on springs, the bats, the balls were all down to that man from Barbados. I caught him out once and nearly broke a couple of fingers. He taught me half my real heritage.

  9. […] If you’re at the Kia Oval on Thursday be sure to Get hold of there a little early and join those at the Hobbs Gate at 10am where Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins, the men behind the great Death of a Gentlemen film and modification Cricket, have actually organised a three-minute protest: three minutes of silence to reflect on the method in which the boards of Australia, England and India have actually silenced the rest of Globe cricket. If you’re not at there, stand in silence somewhere else and then join the call for improved governance in the game at Change Cricket. If you want more reason watch Death of a Gentleman and/or read Jarrod’s moving piece on the modification Cricket movement here. […]

  10. Steve says:

    there in spirit and standing in Budapest… a cricket fan helplessly in love since the day Beefy bashed the Aussies at Headingley

  11. aliamj says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of Caribbean Muslimah and commented:
    Stand for cricket…on Thursday wherever you are in the world @ 10am stand up in silent protest for the game we all love.

  12. Guinness Rider says:

    New fans in Montreal with you in spirit.

    In an associate nation we’ve practically zero chance. My 9-year old daughter wants to play for Australia one day, such is the negative state of domestic cricket here.

    I’ve started my part by coaching volunteer for beginner kids and just made a 5-minute profile of a local cricket personality; but when I see the trailer for your film or your interviews I can only wonder at the mountains that will have to be moved for a place like Canada to even begin fighting (admittedly there is equal blame for our national admins).

    Let us know when we might catch the film out here…til then and and Thursday morning…

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