Wednesday, 12 February 2014


Way back in the mists of April 2012 I had the idea to ask cricket writers a set of standard questions about their time spent covering the game, upon which they would be invited to riff. Initially, I gathered half a dozen or so together, mainly through buttonholing the less forbidding writers in the press boxes I found myself in, and had fully intended to work my way up to the scarier, fire-breathing beasties. The idea was successfully pitched yet, for one reason or another, never hit the streets. Nor even the virtual streets. Anyway, having asked people to devote some of their time to this, it seems only right they don’t languish on my hardrive. So, here you go… 

Jarrod Kimber is a London-based Australian cricket writer (predominantly for cricinfo) and filmmaker, one half of The Two Chucks, and the brains behind cricketwithballs blog. [Interview: summer 2013] 

Who are your favourite cricket writers, past and present? 
I don’t really read that much cricket writing. I think I went 10 years without reading a cricket book, and that probably includes the few I wrote. Gideon Haigh is great, Aakash Chopra’s diary was great when he wasn’t complaining about shit hotels, and the Old Batsman blog is outstanding writing. I’d probably like Athers if I paid The Times fee. 

How about broadcasters – which trio would you have in the commentary box for your perfect 30 minutes, and why? 
If you teamed up Navjot Sidhu with Dan Norcross and Manny Cohen that’d be pretty fun. Cricket analysis mixed with angry men who have psychological disorders is really what I want. I don’t care about cakes or people who rehash bullshit cricket sayings. I want angry nonsense from intelligent men on the verge of insanity. 

What were your personal cricketing achievements and highlights? 
 Most of my highlights were when violence happened on the field, which was pretty often in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. I saw one guy try to stab someone with a stump, and had to get between two brothers who were punching each other when on opposition sides in a final.  I was pretty shit, but I did hit six sixes in an over once. 

Beyond a Boundary – what other passions do you have in life? 
I like cults, and Robocop 2. 

Fantasy cricket – where’s the venue, who’s playing, and who are you watching it with? 
Victoria versus New South Wales, Boxing Day, in the mid 1930s. Bill O’Reilly and Chuck Fleetwood-Smith playing against each other. I’m watching it on my own at the MCG. 

Favourite ground in England? 
Trent Bridge, or maybe Edgbaston when the crowd turns feral. 

Favourite press box on the county circuit and why? 
Trent Bridge. Best view of the cricket, wifi mostly works, and it’s close to the food. 

Which ground provides the best nourishment? 
Trent Bridge. Nothing fancy, just good proper food. At Lord’s you get guinea fowl, at Trent Bridge you get chicken. I’m a chicken sort of man. 

What’s the best day’s cricket you’ve reported on? 
David Warner on the first day of the 2012 WACA Test: India undone with pace; Warner hitting the ball into the stand and Eddie Cowan hanging on for his life at the other end. 

And which day’s play do you wish you’d been at? 
The last day of each and every shield final that Victoria has won. 

Mirth in the press box – who’s the funniest colleague? 
George Dobell’s impression of a potato is uncanny. Lawrence Booth is the man of at least seven voices. And Andy Jilal does penile origami – with his mind. 

As a journalist, what’s the most tempestuous experience you’ve had – be that with colleagues, players, coaches, board members, spectators, or readers? Have you ever come to blows? 
Trying to get accreditation with the ECB was hard.  They banned me for swearing, being a blogger, not being a member of the Cricket Writing Club and for other reasons they never gave me. I think they thought I was an untrustworthy fucking asshole, and while they may have been right, it took me (and some very level-headed, sweet-talking friends) a couple of years to get me full-time accreditation even while I was working for the world’s most read cricket news source. 

Magic wand time – what changes would you make to English domestic cricket? 
I think there should be more counties, England are clearly missing out on Test legends from Cornwall. 

What about international cricket: what would you change, given half a chance? 
I’d give the ICC testicles. 

Which youngsters do you think will go on to be giants? 
Patrick Cummins could be anything (including a unicorn); everyone else would just be me talking out my ass. 

Who are your favourite current county batter and bowler? 
Keith Barker’s bowling action looks like an American learning to play the game, but I like that. Jason Roy is great to watch because even if you shut your eyes you can hear how hard he hits it, so you can be talking nonsense with your friends, hear the noise, turn around and praise the shot. 

Which coach do you most enjoy chatting to, given the opportunity? 
Spent very little time talking to coaches, but Stuart Law when he coached Sri Lanka was great to chat with. I used the word rumour once, and he said he couldn’t confirm it but that it was probably a “trumour”. 

And which player is a refreshingly platitude-free zone to talk to, on or off the record? 
I’m friends with Eddie Cowan, so I’ll say Alan Richardson. 

Whither broadsheet county reporting? And is Internet journalism sustainable? 
People will always write about cricket because it has great stories. If (when) the apocalypse hits, we’ll chip it back into stone if we have to. 

What is the best piece you’ve written (or your favourite, if modesty prevents a proper answer)? 
My favourite was a piece about how my father worked in the bar at the MCG while Sobers made a double century, probably because it’s his story, not my own bullshit. Although, I did write: “He’s such a pleasure to watch that if there were a mad millionaire who hosted parties that people came to just because there was a lot of booze and freaky shit going on, I’d hire Ian Bell, strip him naked, oil him up and make him practise his cover drive for hours on end in a giant birdcage”. 

Also in this series
David Hopps | Andy Wilson | Vic Marks | Gideon Haigh | George Dobell  

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