How To Save Cricket – Our Interview With Jarrod Kimber

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You’ve seen him on Cricinfo’s Polite Enquiries. You’re about to see him in Death of a Gentleman. Now you can hear Jarrod Kimber’s passionate and pertinent views on the future of cricket here on The Full Toss. The only drawback: you’ll have to suffer my vapid tones at the same time. Sorry about that.

I’ve published this audio file in a separate thread because we ended up talking about so much more than Jarrod and Sam’s film. You can read our review here. The interview was supposed to last fifteen minutes, but we actually spent nearly an hour chewing the fat about the ICC, the ECB, the mainstream cricket media, and the disconnect between England players and supporters.

We also talked about the challenges and importance of cricket blogging – not to mention social media as a whole. And of course, Jarrod spoke at length about how ordinary cricket supporters can help make cricket’s governing body more transparent and accountable.

Because you all lead busy lives, and I doubt everyone will have time to listen to an interview that ended up being more like a podcast, I’ve added signposts for the audio feed below. Just fast forward to the bits you’re interested in.

Alternatively, if it’s late at night, and your other half and / or the kids are tucked up in bed, crack open a beer, put on those slippers, light a fat cuban, and settle in for the long haul. Enjoy.

0 mins – Death of a Gentleman and the future of cricket

7.00 Reviving test cricket

8.20 Giles Clarke and N. Srinivasan

16.35 The Woolfe Report

19.22 What cricket fans can do to #changecricket

21.35 The mainstream media and holding authorities to account

23.42 The power of cricket bloggers

29.35 Cricket With Balls

35.50 Being ‘inside cricket’

39.00 Advice for the ECB

42.05 Reconnecting the players with the public

43.40 Growing the game

47.20 Hopes for the future

 

James Morgan

@DoctorCopy

17 comments

  • My question is can you actually spread test cricket without affecting quality?

    right now i would compare icc structure to F1 certainly nowhere robust as them but if that efficiency can be achieved the quality grade of test cricket can be maintained.

    Apart from say ireland who else is would take up test cricket ? my guess every new member will start with a slew of t20s if you are going to introduce cricket with the short form version in these countries can you roll these fans or cricketers back to long forms.

    What do people want by making cricket go global do they mean t20 cricket ? if so would it be a good idea to do so ?

    what im more appalled is drop in standard of quality in the test cricket rather than the need to spread it. That is concentrating internally to produce quality adaptable players rather than make 1000s of substandard ones. Truth is there is not much of a spectacle in test cricket nowadays, can we remember the last hard fought test match, not middle weights fooling around and getting to alternate positions of win and loose but two true heavy weights that can put on a bare knuckle show. only SA can partially lay claim to that, this is because most are t20ised already now opening t20 in more nations would just dilute this quality even more than ever.

    • I don’t think the idea is to spread test cricket right away. I agree that it’s important to uphold standards. But this should be the long term goal.

      Spread T20, pump in money, see associate and affiliate nations develop, and then promote them to ODI and eventually test status when they’re up to it.

      The point Jarrod makes is really about funding. They’re contracting, rather than growing, the sport by restricting funds. These nations are never going to be credible test nations if their funding and opportunities to play in global tournaments are curtailed. Meanwhile the rich keep getting richer.

      • Ya there is hope for that i guess, lots of credit to Kimber and his colleague Sam for bravely doing this in an era were media is governed with an iron fist! Great may the two be the first of few! Also thanks to james and full toss for putting it out here, really doesn’t seem to have much of a mainstream attention

        • It’s important to note that these guys have put their careers on the line. Writing about this subject, and promoting the film, doesn’t cost us bloggers anything.

    • Gonthaar – I think you’re slightly missing the point here. Matches should have Test status, not teams. If that were the case, I don’t think there would be a sudden rush of associate nations arranging Tests. The point is that it isn’t for an exclusive club of ten nations to decide that for them. If they want and are able to go that way and can attract sponsors and media interest then why should they be stopped?

      No other sport (unless you can name any) acts in this way. Does football say you aren’t ever going to win the World Cup – so you can only play for 45 minutes? Does golf say you aren’t as good as players used to be – so you can only play nine holes?

      May I just add my thanks to James for conducting and posting this interview and to Jarrod for all his good work in making the film and in his writing generally. There is some outstanding journalism around the cricket world at the moment – I only wish more of it was from English sources.

  • Those 50 minutes listening to Jarrod Kimber provided a wonderful antidote to the money-grubbing cyncism and self-serving politicking of the so-called Big Three. I have yet to see Death of a Gentleman, but by all accounts it shines a light into the murky corners, the dim-lit corridors and the fog-wrapped counting towers where a few disingenuous dementors distribute amongst themselves the riches they have appropriated from the sport while they suck all joy from the game.

    Kimber’s passion and can-do attitude has certainly inspired me to make more of an effort to get my finger out and write some more!

    • Your writing will always have a home here. Now get cracking and give us guys a break from the hard slog 😉

  • After “Deer Me” last week, it’s quite reassuring to hear that there are people out there who value the contributions made by blogs like The Full Toss. Jarrod said pretty much the same to me about Being Outside Cricket as he did on this piece – that I care too much about journalists who no-one cares about – but I sort of disagree with him on this. The media, and by extension that means certain journalists, aren’t just doing this because they have to for their jobs. They do what they do because they believe it. They do have more market penetration than we do, despite Jarrod’s assertion about posts going viral, and it becomes received wisdom.

    The hierarchy at the ECB believe an Ashes win will have us all piping down, and not worrying our pretty little heads about administration, selection, management and the way the game is run here. It’s evident. It will then be what I am seeing now. You are either WITH England or you are AGAINST England. It’s not like that. It should never be like that. Too easily this is put down to the KP Issue. I’m sick and effing tired of that being thrown at me, especially, by moronic tweeters who should know better. I’m a fan, of course I am, but I’ve been saying it from the start. From 18 months ago TODAY when KP was sacked – he was the symptom, not the illness. Watching the ECB over the last 18 months is to watch an organisation pray its public is gullible enough to just accept that they know best, despite, in their first missive after that, labelling malcontents “outside cricket”. Watching the ECB twist and turn, make crass error after stupid mistake, has been a curious kind of sport. Remember the World Cup we cleared the decks for? They certainly hope we don’t.

    This was an interesting 50 minutes, and it must boil certain malcontents’ piss to hear this blog talked about by such a respected writer on the game in such glowing terms. I know he’s not the only one who thinks like this too. You may not like what Maxie and James write, but it gets attention.

    Well done, James (and Maxie). Top stuff.

    • Thanks mate. I think most people who read this blog on a regular basis know that we care deeply about the team, and we serve a valuable purpose. At least I hope so!

      The thing that annoyed me about the deer thing, and I do understand where critics are coming from, is the people who try to undermine the whole blog (and its raison d’etre) on the basis of one article. Regular readers know we cover a lot of ground, are often up against the clock, and we do our very best. We also publish contrasting views.

      We try to cover important issues about things that don’t get a lot of press. Maxie’s article about cricket in Afghanistan being a fine example. We also believe in holding authority to account, and if that means rattling a few cages now and again then so be it. We don’t claim to be 100% right about everything, but our intentions are sincere.

      As we said in our original mission statement 6 years ago, we sense there’s a hole in the market, that the mainstream press cannot (or will not) fill, and we’re trying our best (with insufficient time and resources) to fill that need.

    • Great interview — well done James & TFT.

      I must express a different opinion to Jarrod about Dmitri focusing “too much” on journalists that “no one cares about”. That’s one thing I appreciate greatly about that blog (and any other blogger who does it as sensibly and honestly). I stopped reading the Guardian altogether because I was placed on permanent moderation for criticising the England captain — occasionally, in terms that were fair and in no way even close to contravening their comment policy.

      Cricket journalism at least in the UK papers I’ve seen is in large part clearly skewed according to a line dictated by the ECB. KP made that accusation in his book, and the circumstantial evidence for is blatantly and predictably on display every single day. Look at the widespread defense of Cook as ODI captain last year. And also notice how it forced those journalists defending him to write utterly stupid rubbish.

      If professional journalists write like complete ignoramuses in order to doggedly defend an obvious blunder, and while doing so attack fans and players on social media, and vet comments on their articles according to personal tastes, they deserved to be pilloried for it.

      This is poisoning the public discourse about cricket. I find it infuriating. I’d love to see professional journalists ridiculing their colleagues for the professing stupid opinions, but as they let the vast bulk of it pass, then a blog is the perfect medium to take up the issue. Blogs are supposed to be personal and passion-driven. It is professional journalism that is supposed to be more objective.

      • Agreed. I find it odd how JK highlights the fact that the Guardian sat on the ICC story, and then says journalists aren’t important. Regular readers know the Guardian’s attitude towards the ICC reforms was entirely of a piece with their coverage of the ECB over the last few years, and expressed their frustration in robust terms. It’s because, exactly like dvyk, they got sick of being moderated or patronised or insulted for their trouble (and no I’m not overstating that – see the Bull ICC article, or anything by MS during the three major KP flashpoints), that they migrated to blogs. But as LCL says, these writers still have way more penetration than blogs, or even Twitter, do.

        • While it’s true that certain journalists have ‘dropped the ball’ as Jarrod says, I honestly think most of them do care passionately about the sport and would criticise the ECB more IF they could get away with it. But they can’t because they need that access to players etc. Sometimes I think we should try to appreciate that a bit more and build bridges – not with the stubborn, antagonistic writers who patronise and really do write guff, but with the good guys who have tried to engage us.

          My eyes were opened a few months ago when the likeable journalist who covers my rugby team (Worcester Warriors) effectively had to leave his job because the coach didn’t like him. He asked awkward questions in press conferences when the team was losing, wrote a few critical things, and the coach Dean Ryan (who is s good guy but can be s bit aggressive and scary sometimes) had a big go at him for not supporting the team enough. After the coach became uncooperative, it made it hard for him to do his job. He wasn’t getting his questions answered, found it difficult to gather the info he needed, and eventually he moved on rather quietly. The coach (and possibly the club to) were of the opinion that local journos should be helping the team to improve, give them time etc, and preaching patience. A lot of fans agreed with them too. But obviously not the journo in question or the other half of fans. Basically I think Jarrod is right when he says it’s hard to criticise an industry from within – which is why blogs need to step up. That’s our role.

          I agree it’s incredibly annoying when certain journos spout pro-establishment nonsense, and it really is just propaganda, but I don’t believe they’re all like that for a second. Perhaps we should focus on getting the better guys on side. They’ll be prepared to retweet articles they didn’t quite feel comfortable writing themselves. That helps us to get our message across.

  • An answer to James (put here because the thread is getting very squashed)…

    You wrote that journalists
    “would criticise the ECB more IF they could get away with it. But they can’t because they need that access to players etc.”

    I appreciate the point you make, and no doubt they do need to be careful about how they approach certain issues. But what we see is journalists falling over themselves to lick the boots of certain players and demolish the reputations of others in a most vicious and personal manner; and half a dozen journalists all using the same line of argument with the same catch-phrases on the same day. That is not the behaviour of someone trying to keep their job, but that of someone trying to feather their own nest while sh*tting in other people’s nests.

    I have no patience for this destructive nonsense. Sports should not be turned into business or politics where players’ reputations (i.e. sponsorship value) have to be protected by lies and absurdities if they perform badly, *or* be demolished if they perform well but look out the window while the coach is talking.

    Journalists should be protecting their professional standards. They wouldn’t be in so much danger of needing to avoid asking hard questions if more journalists were asking them. At the moment the only people prepared to take on that role are blogs like this one and Dmitri’s. And even you guys get constantly criticised for being critical!

    • Hi DVYK. Yes I agree with you that some went completely over the top in the KP saga, but they’re not all the same. If one is being harsh, one could say they became ECB mouthpieces that failed to do their jobs properly. However, if one is being generous, one could argue that KP was always a divisive figure (a marmite type character) who always had an uneasy relationship with certain sections of the media. It’s possible that certain journos really did personally dislike him – and therefore their criticism wasn’t simply a result of ECB pressure, but because of personal opinions they genuinely held. I’m just trying to see both sides here. I don’t disagree with the thrust of your point.

By James Morgan

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