A bit about Michael

G’day,

I’m very glad to bring to the table my perspective and thoughts on world cricket. In short, I am an Australian living abroad in the USA, approaching 30, attached to a Yankee wife who knows more about cricket than an American should be allowed and have two ‘half-n-half’ children who at times confuse baseball and cricket but wield the willow nonetheless.

I’m a passionate, energetic, one-foot-forward instead of back kind of bloke. Until recently I played cricket for a team which was a 5 hour drive away. If I cannot convince you of my cricket madness through that stat alone nothing will.

Cheers and thanks for having me.

Cricketing lookalikes

Patrick is doing grand things with his blog. He’s proving that a broadsheet correspondent can react and adapt to the slightly more relaxed format, all the while maintaining his own style across both. Other papers and large media establishments have adopted blogs with worrying bandwagonnery, forgetting that it remains an editorial tool; the best blogs are well written, be that by a fan or an editor. The emphasis really must remain on quality content, not just the fanfare of joining in the party (and putting up your hand). I am as guilty as most of writing bullshit, as the rest of this post perfectly demonstrates – but at least I’m a consistent waffler!

If you haven’t read his blog yet, do.

He asked me for some lookalikes (see his post) and the only one I could come up with, off the top of my cranium, was Ned Flanders and John Buchanan. I’m surprised the Barmy Army haven’t cottoned onto it yet; perhaps they will this winter with cries of “Okily-dokily-doo”. In fact, as depressingly cheery Ned is, I’d rather him at a press conference than most coaches.

“Hididdily-ho, paradise dwellers”
“Hello, John. Happy with today’s performance, or do you feel you’re perhaps a hundred runs short?”
“Hot diggity! Indeedily-doodily-do!”
“Yyyyep, moving on…”

Incidentally, “Ned’s three Cs” are: Clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin “church”. Loser.

So – your lookalikes, please.

Incidentally I’ve never really bought the Simpsons thing. I think it’s a bit like Marmite, but not nearly as tasty. I was further put off when I heard Richard, of Richard and Judy “fame”, said it was the best thing since sliced bread; he really is a twit. And continuing this tremendously pointless ramble, I saw him not long ago in a dingy pub in London. He double-parked his Jag outside, rushed in with a face like thunder and stormed to the gents. No sooner had I alerted the entire establishment of a TV personality in our midst – and Richard Madely – than he sprinted out again and flew off in his car.

Here endeth the waffle.

Warne’s blog: is it him?

As Alan Sugar says, “I like winners, but I’m no gambler”. Warne is a winner and a gambler though, and his new blog is worth a read. I’m not yet convinced it’s him – how would he have the time to do it? – but judging from the style of the writing, it could well be. His latest entry is pretty interesting.

While answering these questions, I was involved in a game of poker with the journalists and one man from The Star fired a million questions at me and still won the first pot taking two thirds of my chips. There was not even a smirk as he raked in an arm full of chips from a four man pot. Dean Wilson is his name and one that I shall I remember as a bit of a poker player.

It wasn’t all bad though with the journos. One poker magazine, Total Gambler, was so short stacked that I went all-in blind and he called. He was confident – I hadn’t even seen my cards and I was a big underdog when I turned over a 6 of clubs and the big slick (ace king). At least I had flush chances and hoped for a straight but it looked liked Adios time until the flop (2,5,7) gave me an open-ended straight draw. He was still ahead and the flush was gone but I now had nines, fours, eights and sixes on my side and the turn came with a beautiful nine giving me a straight. Steve McDowell of Total Gambler is a reasonable player but he called me a Lucky ******* as the river came with nothing, winning me the hand.

The Times cricket blog

Jess mentioned The Times have a cricket blog, which is a very significant turn of events. I’m not sure any other daily is blogging about cricket. I wonder how it will turn out? The Corridor suddenly has competition; best keep on my toes!

Patrick, if you’re reading, I’d be very interested to talk.

This week last year

Now that I’ve been mumbling here for some time, I thought it’d be interesting to see what I said a year ago. On the right left, if you scroll down, you’ll see a “This week last year” heading with a list of what I scribbled, well…you get the idea. Quite interesting (for me), and shows how far my self-subbing has come on. I like to think I wasn’t too shoddy back then, before joining Cricinfo – and I’m by nowhere near where I ought to be yet! – but it’s fascinating reading things and thinking “ARGHH no. No no no. That’s poor English, Will”.

Hmm…I wonder if people who read Cricinfo are aware how seriously we take our writing. Are you aware? Well you should be! We are fallible, of course, but we take it very seriously and it was the outstanding aspect of my first week there, last July, just how very important an erroneous comma is; the Cricinfo House Style (more on that another time) and so on. It’s all thoroughly exciting for us, and for those who enjoy words, wreading and riting and things. Lukily, my sppeling haz immprooved to.

Anyway, I’d forgotten what I used to call Glenn McGrath. Remember the kerfuffle about Lord’s tickets on eBay? And what about Kevin Pietersen missing out to Ian Bell?! It was all getting very Ashesy too.

Why do you read this blog?

All sorts of blogging-related things and projects happening at the moment, which leads me to ask an annoyingly ambiguous question: why do you read this blog? Don’t worry, I’m not seeking praise or anything like that. I’m just trying to make head and tail of my readership, and of those who read blogs.

  • Are you aware that this is a blog, or did you just think it’s a website?
  • Are you a blogger?
  • Did you come here because you knew about blogs, and wanted to find a cricket one?
  • What makes a blog better, worse or different than – for example – just a fan’s cricket site?
  • What other blogs do you read?
  • Do you tend to read “personal” blogs (detailing people’s lives) or blogs focussed on a particular subject?

So, if you can answer things like those, that’d be great. It’s totally open-ended, so chat away. I think blogs have a slight identity crisis, and I’m trying to explain this to someone. On the one hand, essentially they offer nothing more than any other format. But on the other, the “instant” publishing means it’s as easy to blog as it is to email (which leads to its own problems, mainly a stream of incomprehensible waffle as Corridor readers are only too well aware).

Dogs blogging

The recent BBC/Reuters-led discussion was quite interesting. In some ways it was quite damaging to citizen journalism and blogging but, indirectly, it merely emphasised the importance of the new medium. They’re two of the largest and most influential news organisations in the world, and spent rather a long time discussing how they were best able to adapt to the “change” in media reporting. I predicted this (in private; I’m not boasting) shortly before I started blogging, but it took 6 months longer than I anticipated. We’re seeing the first wave of a bridge between established media organisations and bloggers – and I think it’s healthy to see.

In fact, I don’t necessarily do think it’s healthy or unhealthy. But I know it’s here to stay, and any news organisation who doesn’t react to blogs; to Web 2.0; to syndication; to citizen journalism and all that jazz, will perish. Which, on a slightly different topic, is why I’m concerned/fascinated by the future of print media. There have been recent revelations in the decrease of print advertising revenues; where to next for them?

And here endeth the stream of nonsense. Thoughts welcome; I know it’s not strictly cricket related but, nevertheless, you read the blog so you owe me your opinions on the format!o

Hiatus for a bit

Bit tied up at the moment and a lot of stuff going on which needs sorting out. Little time for blogging, therefore – sorry. Will try to get back to things on or around the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Will

Busy business

Bit busy at the moment, no time to blog. Just got back from Lord’s covering my first live game. It was fucking good fun and a great thing to have done. I’m knackered. I’m sure Scott will keep you amused. Normal service resuming shortly.

Blogs and their role

Right, I need to think about this more but I just want to pen it down before I forget.

Just watched an interview/documentary with Salam Pax who you might know of. Pax is a pseudonymous blogger from Iraq who, since the invasion in 2003, has become notorious with the media. He’s an intelligent, thoughtful person and his blog(s) demonstrated the before-and-after affects of the Saddam regime. It also showed how one man could affect traditional news media. His situation was, and still is, more dramatic and stark than 90% of bloggers so the fact he stood out from the pack isn’t surprising. He was the only Iraqi blogging about the war: what better, what purer insight into life in Iraq during a war than from an Iraqi himself? It was a taste of freedom for him, and for us provided a taste of the regime which had ruled and ruined his life for so long. Not even the BBC could have provided that.
I just find it really interesting. Blogs are evolving so quickly (they’ve certainly changed and matured beyond measure in my short time fiddling around with them). Channels, sets or groups of blog-types are forming. Initially, most people simply used the format to write about their mundane lives. “I went shopping. Shopping sux lol” is about as interesting as they got.
Specific blogs about specific subjects are appearing everywhere. Shiny Media, who sort of employ me indirectly for The Googly, have launched loads of blogs recently: ones about rugby, weddings, technology for girls and others. It is this focus and subject-specific nature which will drive blogs onwards, and I’m not just saying that because I only blog about cricket!

In the dot-com explosion, one of the key phrases which was born – and one of the few which still apply – is “content is king”. This applies to blogs more than any other immediate news form or publication – and yet, suddenly, it the time-sensitive nature of blogs which has caused them to explode. “When was that posted? 2 minutes ago? Christ, that means Salam is actually there“. “Last posted 5 days ago. Shame. Looks like this blog is dead.” The immediacy of the format is quenching people’s thirst for news and comment, and the media have caught on. Just look at the Guardian’s Comment Is Free…
I need to explore this, if only for myself, so expect more ramblings in a few weeks time. I’m urgently seeking sponsorship for this season, as I’m struggling to afford to keep the site running, so need to explain why I’m so passionate about a free/open news medium such as blogs. On that note…

The Googly

Some months ago, I was approached by a freelance writer and editor of an old cricket fanzine, The Googly, to see if I’d like to start a new blog. Naturally I agreed, being the blogging whore and cricket fanatic that I am, and we’re quite close to launching. So it seems only fair that I pass on the news here to the faithful CoU readers. We’re being published by Shiny Media, who produce and advertise many blogging gems and it’s an exciting time to be part of the blogosphere.

Justin, with whom I’ve be working with and for, is equally excited about the prospects; we have a number of professional writers, all mad-keen cricket fans, from a variety of backgrounds who will be posting their thoughts on the game. From comedy writers to financial experts, it ought to be great fun – and we hope to have some big names in the coming months, too, as well as prizes and competitions. We launch on March 1 in time for England’s first Test against India.

Nothing will change here, of course. But I hope you’ll pop over to The Googly to have a read of my, and other people’s musings. Rock on.