Wednesday, 19 August 2015


My latest blog for ESPNcricinfo's Cordon was prompted by what would have been, given different genetics, the hair-raising experience of playing against recent Pakistani fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti. (And if it was hair-raising for me, with reasonable experience of playing against quick bowlers, what would it have been like for the clutch of under-15s in the side?)

The editor in India gave it the somewhat workaday and slightly misleading heading: Do Professionals Raise the Standard of Club Cricket?, failing to indicate that I was talking solely about the lower echelons of the recreational game. Still, it has been fairly well received. The following week a member of our opposition, Bagnall, poked his head round our dressing room door before the game to tell me he'd enjoyed it (thereby precluding himself from being sledged by yours truly), as did a couple of his colleagues after the game.

The comments below the line – often a hotbed of rancour from the growing legions of bedroom-dwelling firebrands known as "keyboard warriors" – were generally supportive, although there was one bright spark – going by the name Ali Shah, not especially rare in certain parts of the world, though hopefully not the Ali Shah who plays in my team – who spent several seconds of his life typing out the following: "Mmm ... two points of note in this piece: first, what exactly has 9/11 got to do with cricket? Secondly is the author using Bilawal Bhatti to inflate his ego because he got a fifty in that game? A sad non-article."

Given that I failed to mention my score in the game, I can only commend Ali Shah on his sleuthing. Bravo. 


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