Wednesday, 21 May 2014


It was a pleasure to have a second piece recently published by The Nightwatchman, the cricketing quarterly for esoteric and/or longform writing that was recently given The Independent's Book of the Week award.

The Nightwatchman
is a stablemate of its football forerunner, The Blizzard, in which I've had three articles published – a history of Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao's short-lived rivalry in the early 1980s; a short story about a plane full of English football pundits that goes down over the Amazon; and a theoretical piece picking apart the football / chess analogy – and the pair of them are, I suppose, the places most congenial to my quirky, intellectualising, perhaps self-indulgent take on sports writing. 

The first piece was a look at what Jacques Derrida and deconstruction can teach us about Graham Onions' career-best spell of 9-67 for Durham at Trent Bridge in August 2012, while this most recent one was about the five men who formed the most fearsome slip cordon in Test history, each of whom winning over 100 caps: Ian Healy, Mark Taylor, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh.

The original submission was 6000 words, which, on request, was subsequently reduced to 4500. The title it was given was not my original choice (that was 'Cordon Insanitaire'), although it is growing on me. I buttonholed Shane Warne in the Trent Bridge media centre last year and asked him for a quote, but he flatly refused. He was busy sexting Liz, I think, and there was no money in it for him. Still, I got one from Dizzy Gillespie... 

A Cordon of Porcupines at Wisden India

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