Alan Lee

So very sad to read of the passsing of Cricket journalist Alan Lee. He once came to talk at our school and one bright spark asked him (in 1990) why it was that Footballers could command such high salaries but Cricketers pay lagged so far behind.

The photograph in the Times, showed the late Christopher Martin-Jenkins, John Woodcock, Athers, and Alan Lee. Athers commented John Woodcock could very well outlive them all. To die at 54 is too young. I enjoyed reading his work.

First game of cricket. AUS/ENG v. INDIA

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The sun shone as Australians, Englishmen and Indians slowly wound there way to an Athletics track at Sichuan University last Sunday morning. Andrew White (Arthouse, Chengdu) co-ordinated the fixture. Aus/Eng won the toss and elected to bat in the 15 overs per side slogathon. Yours truly was given the honorable opportunity of opening the batting and the picture below tells the tale. First ball. The only scoring I did for the rest of our innings was with a pen and paper.

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Yelps form the Indians. Disbelief amongst the quietened Caucasians. Thankfully Garry and Mike steered the ship, with Andrew spanking 74 in double quick time.

We posted 140. 9 an over. Decent.

Not decent enough. The Indians proceeded to blast our bowling onto the Football field, where a Chinese football match was being played.

“What kind of sport is that?”

“Dunno – I think it’s from Bangladesh.”

They have a point.

India won the match by 8 wickets in the end, which was probably a fair reflection. Still, it was great to smell the linseed oil once more.

To the next match…………….

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Every now and then a Cricket film comes around.

DeathofaGent

I watched this last week with my Dad. It was a very British thing to do before coming back to China until Christmas. It was truly bizarre to be sitting in a Soho cinema, mid Summer, mid afternoon, and overhearing conversations about the MCC from the seats infront. Britain truly is a very special place. We’d both heard about the film via trusty TMS, and so found some time to go.

It was good to see some Cricket Twitterati names in the credits. And why would there not be? The age of 20/20 is well and truly upon us, and the question on everybody’s lips is, “Can Test matches survive?” The filmmakers, one Brit, Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber, an Aussie, interviewed just about everyone surrounding the IPL and focused on how Indian Businessmen are ‘Doing-a-Packer’.

Does it matter? Things change right? The paying public decide, no? If players want to play IPL cricket, who are we to preach. Someone has to put food on the table surely? Before we get on our high horses, lets look at the options for Chris Gayle. I think if I had his talent, there is no place I’d rather be.

It is about mentalities and how they are changing. Even our own Geoffrey Boycott has been known to favour the idea of four day tests. It is difficult to appreciate just how empty test arenas can be during an Ashes summer, but cricketing teams need to be viable and accountable. Times have changed.

Having said all this, I do still firmly believe there is a place for Test match cricket. It is a testament to how wonderful the game is that there can be so many formats, all of which can interest. But essentially there are just two men in the heat of battle, with a fair few onlookers, ready to pile in at any moment. All formats can thrive and survive.

My last word goes to the Chinese. Currently there is pitiful little invested in the sport within the country. According to the film, $20-30,000 a year. Should the sport become an Olympic Sport, the Government would plough in $20-30 million a year. And there you have it. Thoughts on Cricket becoming an Olympic Sport – now that is another story altogether!

During the footage in the film, I just loved the Chinese Umpire extending his arm to give a player OUT. Just wonderful. I think he even ‘Atten-shunned’ his heels as he raised his arm.

See the film It is good. Whether you care to get involved with #changecricket is another matter. But, it was a four year labour of love, and is definitely worth a look.