After every cricket match, I follow a ritual. I faithfully log onto at least three cricket websites, to read about the same match, three different times. I go through the match bulletin, the post match analysis, and the players’ comments. After reading through the clichéd statements from the losing skipper (We were not good enough), winning skipper (It was a team effort), and the man of the match (It was all about putting the ball in the right areas/I just played my natural game), I switch to the blogs.
I go through some of my favorite blogs, which are more free-wheeling, less politically correct and contain brutal assessments. Once in a while, I post comments on certain posts, and generally there is good discussion, unlike most of the cricket forums out there.
More recently, I stumbled onto Test Match Sofa, via cricketwithballs, via Cricinfo – thereby resulting in almost 50% decline in productivity at work and home. Their commentary is way better than listening to the likes of Shastri and co. Interactive, witty, and at the same time, possessing a good mix of critical observers of the game. During matches, I mute the TV commentary and listen to them instead, making for an enhanced enjoyment of the game.
There are some writers and bloggers, for whom, I make it a point, to follow their twitter feed and/or read their writings. This post is about them.
When it comes to articles concerning Indian cricket, look no further than Harsha Bhogle. He possesses a wonderful vocabulary, and loves to play with words. His passion for the game shines through his writings. He is proof, that you need not be a great player, to be a great observer of the game. Honorable mentions include Dileep Premachandran and Sanjay Manjrekar.
For English cricket, there is a horde of writers out there, most of whom are very good; but I am partial to Nasser Hussain, Michael Atherton, Rob Steen, Andrew Miller and bloggers like Lizzy, Daniel Norcross, and Gary Naylor. They all have a good eye for the game, make their points in straightforward manner, and make for enjoyable reading.
From the rest of the world, there is Peter Roebuck (whom I don’t always agree with, but respect his knowledge of the game, and mastery of the language), Osman Samiuddin (heartfelt commentary about the state of Pakistan cricket), Tony Cozier (the Richie Benaud of West Indian cricket) and for a more humorous take on the game – Alan Tyers, Jarrod Kimber, and Andrew Zaltzman.
Then ofcourse the blogs – Paddle Sweep, boredcricketcrazyindians, billy the worm, ducking beamers, the reverse sweep, thoughts from the dustbin and so on. I stumbled onto these blogs only in the last year or so, and now it has become a necessity for me to read them, to have the complete cricket experience. They are written by people, who might not be professional cricketers, or paid journalists – but who love the game and like nothing more than to share their opinions with the rest of the world. Hilarious, irreverent, sarcastic – they are a much needed balance to the rather serious and mundane world of cricket journalism.
So there it is. A collection of my favorites, and I am sure you will have yours. For those who are similar to me, you know the cricket is not done, when the game gets over. That’s when the next phase begins – reading about it.