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Anthony Condon

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Joined November 2014

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Writing a PhD on Cricket and the National Identity.

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“Hands up anyone who likes the spectacle of seeing various replays for up to five minutes of a line ball decision?”

*Hand up*

My favourite thing about the pace of cricket is that it gives you time to analyse and dissect whilst the game is going. A 5 minute DRS replay has on many occasions been the most interesting occurrence on day 3 of a test. It draws out the drama, gives you something to talk about, and most importantly (even if it is flawed) it means you don’t sit there for the next few hours with the bitter pill that a day’s play has been ruined (or damaged at least) by a howler of a call.

I definitely think there is a place where *every* wicket gets reviewed (we already do the no ball call), hence removing the need to give the batting team any reviews, removing that call from the batsman’s hands. But I much prefer that we can go to the third umpire to judge if a catch has bottomed rather than relying on the dubious honesty of a first slipper.

Why we need a new umpiring slogan

Fair criticism, thanks for your input 🙂

How to be a man: Lessons from Brendon McCullum

Isn’t that true of everyone? Rolf Harris was a beloved family entertainer. Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. My local parish priest was a trusted and respected member of the community.

I totally agree that people shouldn’t be put on pedestals. We’re Australians; we have a thing with tall poppies: we cut them down. But that doesn’t mean you can’t point out someone’s words and actions and say “yes, this is something to be lauded, something to aspire to”. There’s a crisis of masculinity in the Western world at the moment. Masculinity is being redefined. And it’s the responsibility of all men to say “this is what we should be doing as men, this is what we should be valuing”. That’s all I’m trying to do here, not to say that McCullum is something better than anyone else.

How to be a man: Lessons from Brendon McCullum

Professionalism was never quite as big here as it was in the UK. Australian cricketers had second jobs up until the 70s and 80s. However, in England it’s always been the case (for at least 200 years) that there are players who make a living travelling around, making nice with the local media (or more commonly, the local landed aristocracy) and who relied on a good show in this match to get a pay cheque for the next.

There definitely is something in the intensity of modern life, but that’s something we all experience in every aspect of our lives.

How to be a man: Lessons from Brendon McCullum

If you can’t look beyond someone’s nationality to praise their exemplary qualities as a human being then you’re a racist wanker. So yes, I imagine I will piss off some Aussies.

How to be a man: Lessons from Brendon McCullum

I can show you a letter to the editor from the mid 1970s and another from the late 1940s that say almost the exact same things you’re saying here. Nothing is new in test cricket.

What are the root causes of Test cricket's decline?

1. Test cricket isn’t dying. Attendances and ratings prove this.
2. There is no historical difference between home ground advantage or the gap between the top and the bottom. It’s the way it’s always been. You learn on the grounds you grow up on, and so are better in your home country. The best test team in the world has always been a lot better than the worst. The big historical difference is the number of teams with test status, but if you look at the games Australia played against Ceylon in the 30s you’ll see a much bigger gap than what we just saw against the West Indies.

What are the root causes of Test cricket's decline?

I saw your article after I’d finished this; thought the eds would have given it a few days rest before putting it up, but oh well! I’m also working on a commercialisation paper, looking at the role World Series Cricket played in bringing neo-liberalism to Australia, but that’s probably a year off.

I do have to say, however, that the idea that there was a time of purity in cricket is largely a myth (like how every old man remembers his childhood as the “golden era of cricket”). The first Ashes tours were all entirely based on the profit motive; a group would get together, chip in to pay for the tour, then take a share in the profits. Amateur greats like W.G. Grace were rightfully known as “Shamateurs” (his “expenses” payment for his last tour to Oz was about $300 000 in today’s money), and Don Bradman was a bigger product pimp than Ricky Ponting. One of the elements I’m exploring at the moment is the way the players of the 70s were essentially caricatures, the “Celebrity Larakin”, playing a role to sell (amongst other things) aluminium bats.

Cricket was invented as a way for rich blokes to gamble, not much has changed other than the way we remember the past. I think McCullum actually shows that this is true. The purity comes from the leadership within a group; what they value, not from how much money one is making.

How to be a man: Lessons from Brendon McCullum

I admit I got in a bit late (I’d written this before I saw the other article), but what is it about him that has you so defensive?

How to be a man: Lessons from Brendon McCullum

The leg bye is the *fielding* failing.

Eliminating cricket's greatest blight

That’s really interesting. You’re saying you like the format, and love the domestic comp. but have no interest in the national team. I’m interested that you suggest that’s a common opinion. Care to give any further insight into why you feel that way?

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

From a domestic perspective, I imagine we’d see more teams and playing each other more times; maybe not every night, but just over the weekend. It could go as long as a football season, weather dependent. Perhaps you’d have a domestic season and an international season?

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

I was having this very conversation with Jonathon Woods outside the White Line Wireless comm box before the WWT20 final. Why aren’t we considering totally different teams? I think it’s pretty clear Steve Smith shouldn’t be in the World Cup team, he doesn’t have the form in T20 to justify his place. Jonathon was saying cricket is the only sport where the same players play the different variations in the one season.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

Well, that can be said for all forms of the game. 1/270 at the end of day 1 of a test, who cares if you lose a wicket then. 1/90 in the 10th of a T20 game and it’s a game changer.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

I’m not going to jump to match fixing allegations when it can quite easily be explained by the WIndies doing as little work as possible. It’s been the story of their world cup, do the bare minimum to get the result you need. Batting, fielding, overall tournament. No wasted energy on the field for the Mad Rooters, need to save some for the discotheque.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

Ah the good old days when if you could get the ball lodged in a tree high enough you could run 282 off one ball 😛

Take me back to the good old days when cricket was played for the purposes of bloated aristocrats to gamble on 😛

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

I think the fact that the BBL is the ninth most attended league in the world suggests we do care, we care a lot.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

If you’re not noticing that dot balls are worth more than boundaries then I think you’ve not quite understood the game yet; same with if you’re one of those who think it’s a batsman’s game, not a bowlers (surprised to still hear that said actually). Give it a go, it is a different sport and if you can get your head around it there’s a lot to appreciate in it.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

I don’t see why there’s any conflict with T20 and test cricket being played at the same time. If it’s T20 internationals then we’ve been having ODIs in between tests in a series for decades, and I would think T20 would make even less impact. If it’s BBL then they’re not played at the same time so there’s no viewer conflict, and, for the time being (and I think the foreseeable future) players choose playing in a test over a BBL match. So unless CA start mismanaging the test side the way the West Indies have that shouldn’t be a problem.

There is the argument that you need to get into long form form, but again I think that can be managed.

I’m also going to go out on a limb and argue that having a league that allows there to be a few hundred people in the country making a living from cricket, playing in front of millions of fans, is going to do more for the long term skill set and sustainability of the game than having a set of semi-professionals playing four day matches in front of three unemployed dudes and a flock of seagulls.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

I like to think of T20 and Test Cricket as different games with much in common, kinda like touring cars and rally. Cross overs happen, but most drivers specialise, and they look different, attract different types of viewers, but lots of people appreciate and love both.

I also think the every night for two months format of the BBL is super important to the success. I only nominally follow the hurricanes, so I’m not really invested in watching any team, I just enjoy watching the cricket. That means I get to watch every ball bowled in the entire tournament.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

Well, creating multi-poles. It would be hard for one format to polarise the game, as there’s only one pole…

Unless you’re talking about skill levels, then well, Afghanistan beat one of the finalists in the World Cup. Think that says it all really.

Twenty20: It's just not cricket

Thanks 🙂

The first Aussie sporting tour, the original Aussie sporting legends

You could smoke on the ground as well, he missed his time.

The first Aussie sporting tour, the original Aussie sporting legends

Literal goat tracks.

The first Aussie sporting tour, the original Aussie sporting legends

I’ve got a few in the works. I’m doing my PhD in cricket and national identity, so there will be a book out in a few years as well.

The first Aussie sporting tour, the original Aussie sporting legends