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I don’t know about you, but for a while now I have felt that there is something missing on Cricinfo. Sure, there’s plenty of informed opinion and pages of piercing analysis. Statistical weightiness? Check. Erudite journalism? Yep. Comprehensive information? You betcha.
That’s all very lovely. But what if you’re in the mood for some uninformed opinion? What if you have a liking for flawed arguments? And, while we’re at it, where are the wildly inaccurate recollections? Where are the vivid hallucinations, the ill-considered rants and the dangerously over-inflated metaphors? Look for these things on Cricinfo for as long as you want; you will not find them. In the march to the sunlit uplands of excellence, vast swathes of unexplored amateurishness have been overlooked.
Well, no more. I have been asked to venture forth into these territories, to pioneer on behalf of the dilettantes, the idlers, the malconents and the misguided; to speak for the silent minority, for those of us who like a little grit in our oysters.
My quest begins with a name: The Long Handle. What do we mean by The Long Handle? What is all about? Why is it here? Where has it come from? When will it stop? All of these questions will be answered over the coming weeks.
For those who can’t wait, all I can do is offer a little taste, a hint of what The Long Handle stands for. It is the look in Harbhajan’s eye just before he swings his handbag. It is the roar of an angry Sidebottom as Monty drops another sitter. It is the moment in a Shane Warne hair advert when you realise they aren’t joking. It is all these things and more. And sometimes less.
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Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73