An Open Letter to Paul Downton, MD of England & Wales Cricket Board
It is not the humiliating 0-5, 1-4 and 0-3 annihilation Down Under that concerns me, rather your way of dealing with it. Some advice from the way we handle things at Kensington Cricket Club should put you back on the right path.
Firstly, can we have less of this “we were completely outplayed in every department” stuff. It won’t get you anywhere. If Kensington loses it has little or nothing to do with the opposition – it is for extraneous reasons – because Ledger’s car wouldn’t start or San sent out the wrong directions. Also, please stop crediting opposing players. “He bowled magnificently” should become “How was I supposed to get in line when I left my arm guard in the car?” If we face a Mitchell Johnson type routing, someone will say in the bar afterwards: “He shouldn’t really have been playing.” Quite.
As for leaving tours early, this is simply unacceptable. Your premier spinner walks away from the game complaining his shoulder hurts and he can’t get enough revs on the ball. Well, diddums. Imagine what would have been lost to flight and guile if Mitra, Blumberg or Bali had taken this attitude. In our coda, severe physical disintegration has never been an excuse for retirements. At Kensington we are more sympathetic to mental problems – we have every psychological and emotional condition known to man amongst our number. Yet, your most dependable batsman had to return to his family to recover; they should have been at the game, on the tour. How would we have built Kensington without outfields littered with our offspring, the great Pickles, Kelehers, Behars of the future? What better way to prepare for a knock than by carting your own 4 year old back over his head in the nets?
As for prima donnas, you get it all wrong. We’ve had our own. We even had one who went to play regularly for one of our opponents – worse surely than selling your soul to the IPL. What did we do? We showed him more love. Ask KP where he wants to bat, let him field at slip and give him a few more overs. Just show your strength by making him do a long stint of umpiring and collect the tea money.
A few other points. Select bowlers not on height but on drinking ability. If a bowler gets the yips, don’t send him home, let him play as a batsman for a while. Don’t obsess about youth. Oh, I could go on. Most importantly, structurally and strategically learn from our ways. If KCC faces a crisis we deal with it via the following procedure. 1. The committee meets. 2. The committee asks itself searching and exhaustive questions pertaining to structure and competence. 3. The committee re-elects itself. All this upheaval will get you nowhere.
Our door is open. If you can’t handle Trottie, Swanny, Finny, Matty, Monty, KP and the others, we can. We’ll soon have them revelling in the joy and beauty of cricket again. After all, it’s only a game.
Mark Jefferson – Secretary, Kensington Cricket Club
“What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?” – C L R James