“Cricket in Cyberspace”, the long awaited published works of the dongles.org web site – in book form, just in time to take a bite of Dongles’ humour at lunch at the cricket or plunge into some cricket history at the beach or dig into some controversy in the garden this summer!
Dongles’ first book and represents a highly entertaining, thought-provoking, often humorous, and frequently irreverent selection of essays from the Dongles blog from 2002 to 2009.
A delightful trip down memory lane for any cricket fan.
About the author
Dongles is a Sydney-born and bred IT professional who has been a serious lover and follower of cricket since the age of eight. He lives in Sydney with his wife Jenny and their three daughters, all of whom love cricket…this is not a coincidence!
Excerpt from the Foreward by Stuart Clark
The first story is about Adam Gilchrist and the day he made an off the cuff comment about Murali being a chucker. I remember that!! I also remember the ACB blowing up delux. I agree with Dongles. Now that I do a bit of work in the media, I hate the clichés, I detest the party line, I want to know what you really think.
For the rest of that afternoon, I just sat down and read the book in between commentary stints. I could not put it down, but I don’t like cricket books. What’s wrong with me?!
For a guy that doesn’t like cricket books, I read the whole book that afternoon and on the train to work the next day. The stories, my recollection of the events that happened and the good times and bad that came with being a professional cricketer. I lived every young cricketer’s dream for about 5 years playing cricket for Australia and 15 years for New South Wales.
Sometimes I forget just how good it was and how good I had it.
Excerpts from “Cricket in Cyberspace”
“Cricket’s first doyen of media, the great Neville Cardus, once said that assessing the career of Trumper on statistics alone, was very much like measuring the worth of a Beethoven symphony by counting the notes on the score. Or something like that. He was no Trumper but I would suggest that those words apply in some way to David Hookes. Hookes’ career was not one of sustained and consistent excellence. Instead it was typified by moments of outrageous brilliance.”
“It is widely acknowledged that cricket today owes a great debt to WSC. The teams of 1974-75 and then 1975-76 were the reason WSC happened. The Australian team at the time were world-beaters. England and the West Indies also had fine teams. The Australians, in particular, not only had the results on the board but were full of charisma. I’ll draw the line at charm but there was personality, fierce competitiveness, larrikinism and irreverence by the bucket load. All of that equated to popularity. And popularity in a less innocent guise is marketability. Enter Mr Packer…”
“Let me have a guess at the details. It was getting quite late after Pup’s 11pm deadline and all concerned parties were over 0.05. Lara is in the car-park, SMSing Pup every two minutes, “wtf r u? Dnt u luv me?” Tension is building. Now imagine that you are on a long trip in a car. Dad (Katich) and mum are in the front seat. The kids are in the back and the youngest (Pup) is saying, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes. I’m with Simon Katich on this one. It’s a shame he was restrained.”
The Author’s Introduction to “Cricket in Cyberspace”
My earliest cricket memory is watching some Ashes action in 1975. I had just turned eight. I must have wandered out of bed and my dear old dad allowed me to stay to see if Ian Chappell could make his 200 at The Oval. He didn’t: he was dismissed for 192.
The next Australian summer, I started my love affair with cricket. It was the 1975-76 series against the West Indies. Thommo and Lillee were at their peak and Australia won the series 5-1. I watched every minute that I was allowed and that was a lifestyle which I maintained for many years.
Some years later, during the 1982-83 Ashes series when I was in senior high school, I was listening to cricket on the radio. Geoff Lawson had emerged as Australia’s spearhead. I still remember one of the commentators praising Lawson’s efforts on the recent tour of Pakistan, where he took nine wickets (at 33.55 apiece). My first reaction was one of total shock: I had no idea that Australia had played a series in Pakistan. How could that have happened? Australia had been playing Test cricket somewhere and I didn’t even know it!
After the initial shock and grief over some missed cricket, I started thinking about those nine wickets. A whole nine wickets in three Tests didn’t seem that flash to me. I still subscribed to my boyhood impression that Lillee and Thommo took five wickets each per innings. Nine wickets was a meagre three wickets per match. And yet the commentator was singing Lawson’s praises! I came to the conclusion that there must be something different about playing cricket in Pakistan. I still didn’t know what it was but it turns out that I was correct.
Having made a few enquiries, I found that I could read in the newspapers about the Australian cricket team’s endeavours abroad, even if it was not broadcast or telecast. From that time on, I followed all of the cricket I could in the newspaper as well as via my traditional media of television and radio. It is worth keeping in mind that all this cricket was limited to Australia’s involvement. Australian media companies very rarely had any interest if Australia was not playing.
I started collecting scorecards. One of the papers would print the full scorecard at the end of each Test match – no matter where it was. Beginning with the 1985 Ashes series, I have pretty much every scorecard until 1999. At the end of each series, the series’ statistics were published. I cut them out and kept those as well.
My, how spoilt we are these days! You can follow all international cricket, in minute detail, until your heart’s content, on the internet: the World Wide Web. One site alone, Cricinfo, can provide all the live coverage, news, statistics and archives that you could ever want. I have no need for hard copies of scorecards now. I may never look at my newspaper scorecards again – I don’t need them – but I will never throw them out. They remind me of an important era in my life. And they remind me of how lucky we are now.
At some point, I decided that I wanted to publish my own cricket writings on the internet. For some time, a friend and I published ‘wannabe journalist’ articles on his website. It was free and, with the internet, anyone can be both journalist and publisher. Most of our content was commentary and I admit that I was trying to be a clone of Peter Roebuck. Thankfully, I tired of that. Not that I didn’t like Roebuck (most of the time) but my efforts were sadly inadequate and unoriginal.
In 2002, I spontaneously sent a quirky email to a few cricket friends. It was just an odd observation about Test cricketers’ serial numbers. After that, I started writing more and more, publishing to an ever-growing email list. Then came the dongles website. Still, I did this more for my own pleasure rather than anything else. However, I did realise that I should stay away from mainstream editorial comment and commentary; as I have already pointed out, you can get as much of that as you like from the internet.
I believe that I started to find myself as a writer. I realised that, at times, I did observe things in a unique way and could present a different perspective. Being self-published on the internet gives one freedom. I’m happy to be irreverent, controversial and politically incorrect. I try to be original, thought-provoking and humorous, wherever possible.
From 2002 onwards, my writings have captured seven years of cricket in cyberspace. Being an Australian, my writing does have a definite focus on Australian cricket. However, one of the things I love about cricket in cyberspace is that you have easy access to all cricket. It is my great pleasure to follow an English summer or a rare Test series between India and Pakistan, so I hope that there is something for everyone. Aside from the cricket itself, much has been captured in major events: scandals, politics, socio-economics, controversies and dramas, both on and off the field. Also included are births, deaths, marriages and retirements. The past seven years have seen Indian Premier League (IPL), match-fixing, terrorism, umpiring referrals, ball tampering, Monkeygate, forfeits, drug scandals, phone sex scandals and the rise and fall of Australian cricket. During that time we have seen the last on the cricket field of McGrath, Lara, Warne, the Waughs and the likes of Bradman, Keith Miller, Hookes, Cronje and Woolmer have departed this lifetime.
During quiet times on the cricket calendar, I produced a number of articles of a more historical, or philosophical, nature. I am a very keen cricket historian and a keen historian, in general. Some of my observations include the changing face of cricket and some reminiscences of bygone, golden eras.
I hope that this book provides a valuable ‘time shot’ of world cricket from 2002 to 2009. I hope that it is easy and interesting to read and that it will raise some talking points. More than anything, I believe that it demonstrates how cricket fans and enthusiasts are served and spoilt by the wonders of technology: the internet. Cricket in Cyberspace is here to stay and gives millions of people instant access to a grand old game.
Illustrations from “Cricket in Cyberspace
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