England October 2, 2009

A traitorous confession

 
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Thanks, I’ll pass © Getty Images
 

I don’t like the English cricket team. There, I said it. I feel no attachment whatsoever to this particular collection of blue-clad gym-botherers. It may be traitors’ talk, but I am entirely indifferent to the outcome of Friday’s semi-final. The match itself, I am looking forward to. The result is irrelevant.

So why don’t I care?

First of all, I’m not a natural patriot. The merest sight of a St George Cross and I begin to mumble angrily into my cocoa and feel an urge to whistle the “Marseillaise” or set fire to some Morris dancers’ handkerchiefs.

Ah, you might say, once a traitor, always a traitor. You may be right.

But ‘twas not always thus. Even though I grew up watching an inept bunch of no-hopers struggle desperately every summer, I took it for granted that I wanted England to win, and I took these losers to my heart. If I were asked to name my cricket hero, I would first lecture the interrogator on the inanity of the question, and then mutter something about Mike Atherton.

My levels of Englishness peaked in 2005. Watching reruns of that Ashes series, I realise that at the time I must have been blind to the drunken morons on the terraces, oblivious to the mindless, draining partiality of that summer’s prevailing mood and to the manner in which the subtle complexities of the great game were overwhelmed by a torrent of red-and-white jingoism. Australia were the cruel tormentors, the heartless tyrants, and we were finally overthrowing them. It was a victory for justice and freedom. Cry God for Freddie, England and St George!

But something happened during the post-Ashes hangover. You know what it’s like. A big night out, you wake up feeling depressed and you can’t remember where you left your shoes. Well, for me, it was my patriotism. I know I had it at the Oval. I’m sure it was around during the Trafalgar Square parade. But it had gone. And I haven’t found it yet. This summer, as England were being embarrassed by the Netherlands at Lord’s, I joined the worldwide club of neutrals and cheered the men in orange.

How did this happen? To be honest, I don’t know. There has been any number of disillusionments, disenchantments and irritations in recent years. There was Alastair Cook’s biography, Monty Panesar’s biography, the continued selection of Steve Harmison, the Stanford debacle, the canonisation of Andrew Flintoff, the total lack of anything approaching a global perspective on the part of the English press.

Or perhaps I just became bored of looking at the same old surly, unshaven, unsmiling bunch of really quite ordinary sportsmen. I grew tired of hearing how they were all very, very talented – despite all the evidence to the contrary. I began instead to take an interest in other, frankly more exciting teams. I began to enjoy the game for its own sake, without being tensed up in a clench of patriotic desperation.

And that is what I shall be doing on Friday, with a gin and tonic to hand. You are welcome to join me at Hughes Towers, providing you leave your flags in the foyer and don’t spill your lager on the Axminster.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roger Hebb on October 7, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    I'm an ardent fan of all english sporting teams even though I now live in India,but I must admit I'm losing it with the cricket team.Surely these can't be the best players we have,they don't seem to have any determination and certain not any consistence.They are good on their day but their days are few and far between.Obviously they must be over paid for their "skills" so maybe they should be paid on their results. I suggest some thing like this: Expenses guaranteed,plus 100 pounds a run with extra 25 per run for boundries and sixes,5000 pounds per wicket plus extra for catches,run outs and stumpings this money to go into a kitty and be shared between all the playing squad with the kitty being doubled for a win and halved for a loss.With this I'm sure more determination and consistency will be seen and will show up those who really want to play for England and those who are just happy to collect there wages, win or lose.Controversal I know but something has to be tried.

  • Safiya on October 5, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    I know exactly what it feels like having surpported Pakistan all my life. hearing about how talented they are, but yet you don't get to see that 'talent'.

  • Pratik Rath on October 5, 2009, 10:34 GMT

    well same here its come to point for me where i litterally force myself to watch the ODI game so i can enjoy it again. Loved Indian cricket so much but i feel Test cricket is back live in india coz we play like 3 in a year now so i really enjoy watchin india play test again. Give matches like Pak vs India Test in Chenai!! One good thing about politics here is we can still enjoy india pak test series coz we play once in 5 years now or something.

  • Warwicks fan on October 3, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    I think it's because there is just too much meaningless cricket. What exactly is the Champions Trophy? What are England champions of? Nothing, is the answer. I'll follow the scores of the Tests in South Africa, but I won't care much because it's one lot of South Africans against another, with a few make-weights in the 'England' team.

  • MartinAmber on October 3, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    @Rufus Parsons

    It seems that you are addressing me, at least partly. May I reassure you that I was delighted that England won the Ashes, miserable during the Headingley Test, tense and ultimately triumphal during Lord's and the Oval.

    It's the utter guff that went with it that did my head in. 06/07 being "forgotten"; the Flintoff business; the moronic booing of Ponting; the press turning his fair comment about time-wasting at Cardiff into something nasty; the smug certainty that 2005 was the Greatest Series (never mind Aus v WI 60/61 or 98/99, eh boys?)...

    There were times when it was embarrassing to be a passionate England fan, and it had very little to do with the cricket. I'm afraid that in some ways - the absence of historical perspective and the awful jingoism - it resembled coverage of Premier League football. And that isn't a welcome development, in my book at least.

  • A cricket Fan on October 3, 2009, 12:04 GMT

    Cricket is loosing its shine now a days. Too much of anything is simply boring. With too much goes the interest. The indian team is bloated bunch of individual no good doers. They always fail when it matters. It really does not make any difference whether they win or loose. No thrill anymore. There were days when days used to be bright when India used to win. It does not matter anymore. It is another day in office and win or loose are part & parcel of everday life. No patroitism or love for country shown by the cricketers. ITS BLAND CRICKET WITHOUT ANY SPIRIT.

  • Asif Rathod on October 3, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    All are saying Pakistan is most unpredictable team, and I would say England is most predictable team. They can show some magic in a match or two of the big tournament, but they doesn't have that intensity which get them going for whole tournament. Frankly speaking No team has fear of English Cricket team. Everyone talks abt teams like, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka are big tests, but, no one cares about England. For them, match with England is one of easy encounter. English team has best domestic cricketing infrastructure amongst all other countries, but I seriously feel something is lacking somewhere, probably in selection panel. English team has lots of great talent but somehow they have failed to stamp there authority in world cricket. Who'll believe two of highest ever paid cricketers(KP and freddy in IPL)plays for Engalnd.

  • shortofalength on October 3, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Not sure what it was but I went off the Aust team when they dominated world cricket when other teams were weak. Watching them crush teams full of players who would not have been playing Test cricket 20 years ago and the jingoistic nonsense that went with it made me realise that quality have been given away for quantity...opposing teams were ritually lined up and put to the sword the ACB media machine lauding them as Gods, and sadly the Aust public slavishly falling in line to worship at the altar. I gave up trying to explain to 'fans" that Matty Hayden's average was about double it would have been if he had played in the 80s or that Gillespie would have spent his days bowling 1st change for South Aust rather than terrifying top orders that should never have been in Test cricket. Austs are particularly good at looking at things with blinkers on. The standard of cricket has been declining for 30 years,Aust has started to feel it later than most.

  • Jason on October 3, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    Money and all the evils that it brings with it threatens every sport. eg. excess one days etc. If cricketing administrators dont keep the greedy cricket exploiters at bay they will kill the goose that killed the golden egg. Cricket fans dont care for much of the manufactured hype that surrounds the modern game. We just want to see good talented cricketers give it all for their country in the middle and then shake hands after the game and say "good contest." What is happening in the West Indies is exactly what we DON'T want to happen!

  • angshuman on October 3, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    I agree with Indian-Cricket-Fan. As an Indian cricket fan, I know it doesn't matter a lot to the cricketers to lose - it is just some less money for them. Why should we, the fans cry for them. My phase started after the 1996 World Cup, semi-final, and I never felt the same for the Indian team again - not even after the series wins in Pakistan and England and the 20-20 WC win. But I feel sorry for the young kids.

  • Roger Hebb on October 7, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    I'm an ardent fan of all english sporting teams even though I now live in India,but I must admit I'm losing it with the cricket team.Surely these can't be the best players we have,they don't seem to have any determination and certain not any consistence.They are good on their day but their days are few and far between.Obviously they must be over paid for their "skills" so maybe they should be paid on their results. I suggest some thing like this: Expenses guaranteed,plus 100 pounds a run with extra 25 per run for boundries and sixes,5000 pounds per wicket plus extra for catches,run outs and stumpings this money to go into a kitty and be shared between all the playing squad with the kitty being doubled for a win and halved for a loss.With this I'm sure more determination and consistency will be seen and will show up those who really want to play for England and those who are just happy to collect there wages, win or lose.Controversal I know but something has to be tried.

  • Safiya on October 5, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    I know exactly what it feels like having surpported Pakistan all my life. hearing about how talented they are, but yet you don't get to see that 'talent'.

  • Pratik Rath on October 5, 2009, 10:34 GMT

    well same here its come to point for me where i litterally force myself to watch the ODI game so i can enjoy it again. Loved Indian cricket so much but i feel Test cricket is back live in india coz we play like 3 in a year now so i really enjoy watchin india play test again. Give matches like Pak vs India Test in Chenai!! One good thing about politics here is we can still enjoy india pak test series coz we play once in 5 years now or something.

  • Warwicks fan on October 3, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    I think it's because there is just too much meaningless cricket. What exactly is the Champions Trophy? What are England champions of? Nothing, is the answer. I'll follow the scores of the Tests in South Africa, but I won't care much because it's one lot of South Africans against another, with a few make-weights in the 'England' team.

  • MartinAmber on October 3, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    @Rufus Parsons

    It seems that you are addressing me, at least partly. May I reassure you that I was delighted that England won the Ashes, miserable during the Headingley Test, tense and ultimately triumphal during Lord's and the Oval.

    It's the utter guff that went with it that did my head in. 06/07 being "forgotten"; the Flintoff business; the moronic booing of Ponting; the press turning his fair comment about time-wasting at Cardiff into something nasty; the smug certainty that 2005 was the Greatest Series (never mind Aus v WI 60/61 or 98/99, eh boys?)...

    There were times when it was embarrassing to be a passionate England fan, and it had very little to do with the cricket. I'm afraid that in some ways - the absence of historical perspective and the awful jingoism - it resembled coverage of Premier League football. And that isn't a welcome development, in my book at least.

  • A cricket Fan on October 3, 2009, 12:04 GMT

    Cricket is loosing its shine now a days. Too much of anything is simply boring. With too much goes the interest. The indian team is bloated bunch of individual no good doers. They always fail when it matters. It really does not make any difference whether they win or loose. No thrill anymore. There were days when days used to be bright when India used to win. It does not matter anymore. It is another day in office and win or loose are part & parcel of everday life. No patroitism or love for country shown by the cricketers. ITS BLAND CRICKET WITHOUT ANY SPIRIT.

  • Asif Rathod on October 3, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    All are saying Pakistan is most unpredictable team, and I would say England is most predictable team. They can show some magic in a match or two of the big tournament, but they doesn't have that intensity which get them going for whole tournament. Frankly speaking No team has fear of English Cricket team. Everyone talks abt teams like, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka are big tests, but, no one cares about England. For them, match with England is one of easy encounter. English team has best domestic cricketing infrastructure amongst all other countries, but I seriously feel something is lacking somewhere, probably in selection panel. English team has lots of great talent but somehow they have failed to stamp there authority in world cricket. Who'll believe two of highest ever paid cricketers(KP and freddy in IPL)plays for Engalnd.

  • shortofalength on October 3, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Not sure what it was but I went off the Aust team when they dominated world cricket when other teams were weak. Watching them crush teams full of players who would not have been playing Test cricket 20 years ago and the jingoistic nonsense that went with it made me realise that quality have been given away for quantity...opposing teams were ritually lined up and put to the sword the ACB media machine lauding them as Gods, and sadly the Aust public slavishly falling in line to worship at the altar. I gave up trying to explain to 'fans" that Matty Hayden's average was about double it would have been if he had played in the 80s or that Gillespie would have spent his days bowling 1st change for South Aust rather than terrifying top orders that should never have been in Test cricket. Austs are particularly good at looking at things with blinkers on. The standard of cricket has been declining for 30 years,Aust has started to feel it later than most.

  • Jason on October 3, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    Money and all the evils that it brings with it threatens every sport. eg. excess one days etc. If cricketing administrators dont keep the greedy cricket exploiters at bay they will kill the goose that killed the golden egg. Cricket fans dont care for much of the manufactured hype that surrounds the modern game. We just want to see good talented cricketers give it all for their country in the middle and then shake hands after the game and say "good contest." What is happening in the West Indies is exactly what we DON'T want to happen!

  • angshuman on October 3, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    I agree with Indian-Cricket-Fan. As an Indian cricket fan, I know it doesn't matter a lot to the cricketers to lose - it is just some less money for them. Why should we, the fans cry for them. My phase started after the 1996 World Cup, semi-final, and I never felt the same for the Indian team again - not even after the series wins in Pakistan and England and the 20-20 WC win. But I feel sorry for the young kids.

  • Charu Khopkar on October 3, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    As a die-hard Indian team supporter, the sun will never rise on the day that I will not support the Indian team when it is playing. I couldn't care less about the behaviour of the Indian supporters in the stands, the outrageous emails of Indian bloggers and the manic and biased reporting by the Indian media and various self-appointed experts.

    When I watch the Indian team playing, it's Walter Mitty time for me to join the Team India on the ground and fight the battle vicariously against whoever we're playing against.

  • natural outswing on October 3, 2009, 8:28 GMT

    You're tired of the English team because they play a lot of meaningless cricket. This isn't their fault. It's because cricket takes all day and frames advertising time, so they get them out there as often as possible. Media coaching doesn't help (the right areas...SHUT UP!) because it commoditised them all the more. The press culture is just part of the cleb culture we have to put up with: if it weren't Fred it'd be someone else. They're not ordinary though - get in the nets and face a bowling machine at 85+ and that illusion will leave you. All we can do is craft our own schedule by not watching a lot of the dross.

  • faisal on October 3, 2009, 4:51 GMT

    The majestic brilliance of Mark waugh made me a fan of the game as well as of Aussies though I am a Bangladeshi. The likes of ponting,gillesipe only add much frnzy in my repository. A few years back I can't even watched the big matches as I was busy praying my salat for the sake of their winning. I still have that but something is missing apart from the fact that this australia team is no longer "the best". Ponting is still there, and I will be having strings of sleepless night during a test, envisaging a triplle from him at next morning(though he has nothing to prove left). I think a true fan feels a void in his heart for sometimes, australia is not my nation but the affection I convey in my hearts for their cricket team is true and true is the fact that there is nothing wrong to feel a bit vaxation to whom you admire deeply for a while.

  • Rufus Parsons on October 3, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    I find this lack of caring all very sad to be honest. I am a man who cares when england lose and celebrate when england win. I agree that the adulation lauded on Freddie over the summe bordered on ridiculous but those who question the personalities in cricket must look no further than KP. The man is a legend, he says he won't go freelance and take the big paychecks, he values every england cap and has proved he will stand up to selecters, you cannot say he doesn't compare to the likes of beefy, ellison, stherton,etc. as a character.

    The fact you had a bet on australia should not affect your aspirations for england to win, yes we've been let down in the past by england but that is part and parcel of the game. If you can't hack it then go and support Manchester United like the rest of the glory boys...

  • Candice on October 3, 2009, 0:30 GMT

    ^To Paul: Put yourself in my position as a West Indian, wouldn't you be discouraged from supporting your home team in a situation like ours? How can I feel patriotic about a team like that?! Ryan Lalsingh and I are in the same boat. Plus, some of us have standards; I refuse to support a team "no matter how bad they are".

  • wim on October 2, 2009, 18:38 GMT

    i'm dutch and will be moving to england soon, for the cricket only. for the sheer amount of it, over there. best game ever, cricket. especially as long as your own team cannot play properly, that is. no nationalistic diversions to disturb the heavenly game. o, how lucky we are, we dutch....

  • David on October 2, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    I really feel Hadlee should have mentioned!

  • ChrisC on October 2, 2009, 18:30 GMT

    Please, please, please, if only for the sake of partiality, can we find a pro-England, even a partriotic writer on English cricket for Cricinfo!? Preferably English but perhaps not essential. Is it too much to ask to lose just one of the deracinated bourgeois from the staff?

  • MartinAmber on October 2, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    Very good stuff, Mr. Hughes.

    I couldn't agree more about "...the canonisation of Andrew Flintoff [and] the total lack of anything approaching a global persepctive on the part of the English press."

    These two things combined were the bane of an otherwise enjoyable summer. As a result, this passionate England fan reached the state you describe, i.e. not caring quite so much who won.

    I guess the £10 bet I had in June (at 10-1) on Michael Clarke being top run scorer also had something to do with the fact that I spent part of that so-called glorious Sunday in a foul mood.

    Anotehr example: I enjoyed Clarke's 136 at Lord's more than any other innings of the summer, but the adulation of Flintoff in the press coverage after Lord's made me want to puke. I wonder if any of the writers had even heard of Richard Ellison, or many other England bowlers who have performed greater Ashes feats than Fred's.

    Oh, and I too laughed heartily when we lost to the Dutch.

  • Eric on October 2, 2009, 17:17 GMT

    As an American (are we not the “Ultimate Cricket-Outsiders?), I developed a fondness for the game while living in the Caribbean during the hay-days of Brian Lara and West Indian Cricket (my how times have changed!). Now, it’s always nice when the “Home Team” wins, but my passion has always been for the GAME rather than any nationalistic pride. As I see it, “Let the best team win”, and as long as excellent Cricket is being played, I shall always be enthralled! By the way, I am a traditionalist, there is nothing better than Test Cricket, which should ALWAYS be conducted in a gentlemanly manner and yes, play must ALWAYS stop at 4:00 for Tea. All of which is why I fear Cricket will NEVER catch on big here in America. Perhaps the T20’s are a good start, and even I would relish the opportunity to see a good Slog-Fest in person, should the opportunity arise! Great article, and in general, thanks Cricinfo!!

  • mark on October 2, 2009, 17:09 GMT

    football, cricket even athletics have all lost the common touch. ordinary people can't relate to sportsmen or to a lesser extent sportswomen because of the money involved nowerdays. it's such a shame, it's tiddlywinks for me!

  • Indian-Cricket-Fan on October 2, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    Excellent view. I think every sports lover has this phase. My perspective on Indian Team has changed completely.I dont waste my time in front of TV anymore, I just peek now and then unlike others invoving Aussies and SA. Its because, I know that we might win the match today and some guy will shine, the same guy will suck the next series and I know he does't care as he already got his lucrative deals. Every bowler enters at 140 kmph and he slides to 130's in a blink. Same with batsmen. The number of mathces are so many now that a win or a loss does not even matter now as there is always the next series. For me individual series do not matter any more, only the rankings and that is why Australians and the Proteas are the real winners in Cricket for their dedication of staying on Top.

  • Mick on October 2, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    Interesting? Very! Since moving to Ireland, their well managed and consistently developing team have my whole hearted support. Perhaps we all have a need to support under-dogs. I'm with Ben, I was horrified at the behaviour of English (so-called)'fans' at Trent Bridge when they played SA (T20). How dare they 'boo' such a fine team onto the pitch? Why on earth weren't the stewards down on them like a ton of bricks? To me this is 'footballism'. It needs stopped and stopped urgently. Contrast the atmosphere between India and Ireland. No lack of passion or competition between the fans around the ground, God did we try and compete with those Indians... but there was also great friendship, banter (even some flirting I noticed) between opposing fans. That's the true festival spirit of the T20. I don't care how old fashioned this soundsd, but THAT is what cricket is about! I urge all true cricket fans... keep the louts out.

  • Gavin on October 2, 2009, 16:57 GMT

    Well said Andrew, and I agree with Ben too. Supporting a team is about identifying with players and other supporters - I find it hard to identify with South Africans and Irish playing for England and, much as I love beer, the Barmy Army are a nightmare! Also, Fletcher's barking selections for the last Ashes debacle down under did a lot to alienate me.... Anyway, the good news is there's lots of good cricket being played and it's great to watch players like Dilshan, Afridi, Swann, Ponting, Vettori, Strauss, Dravid, etc, etc - or it would be if there were any cricket on UK TV any more - but that's another story!

  • kabo4 on October 2, 2009, 16:56 GMT

    The only teams I enjoy watching are the Pakistan team (Lots of flair) and the Sri Lankans. They always play exciting games regardless of who the opposition is.

  • Chris Mitchell on October 2, 2009, 16:55 GMT

    What you are suffering from is a common case of 'We hate our country-itis'. It is often seen around these Emerald Isle parts (but very seldom on Antipodean shores) and should be nothing to be concerned about. What I would prescribe would be more viewing of mediocre performances with the occasional smattering of world class bowling and batting followed by pretensions of reaching Number One test status. Make sure you take the entire course and you should return to normal soon.

  • Andrew on October 2, 2009, 16:54 GMT

    Cricketers are criticised for being characterless and dull, yet the moment they say something remotely interesting the papers are all over them. You can't have it both ways.

  • Stogy on October 2, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    I solved this years ago - I am Australian, but I go for whoever I think is best for the game overall. My top teams include Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, the Netherlands... love the Irish, and would willingly follow the Afghanis over a cliff if that's what they wanted to do.

    Just going for the same team all the time is unbelievably dull - although I have to confess a weakness for watching the Aussies thrash England.

  • David Roberts on October 2, 2009, 16:30 GMT

    A big part of my support of the English team died when test match cricket was lost to terrestrial tv. Absolutely shameful, and cricket can longer be marketed as a sport for the people, when most of the people get nothing but crumbs to feed on.

  • mark on October 2, 2009, 16:28 GMT

    lived in wales for 5 years when the welsh where in their pomp at rugby... found myself hated and gobbed on (tho i was only 13) i will never lose my patriotism, I want England to win against everyone - every country today has lost the spirit of fairness and proper behaviour, it is win at all costs (that's proffessionalism isn't it?) sledge bad mouth your opponent... these are not heros for my son, nor for me... but england to win yeah...

  • Robert McTernan on October 2, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    Once an Englishman always an Englishman. I followed them to Australia and suffered the 5.0 whitewash. But we have now won the Ashes back and I will again travel to Oz in the hope and expectation of a win or at a minimum a drawn series. In the meantime lets defend today's score of 257 and get into the ICC Champions final.

  • Zaman on October 2, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    I feel the same about the team I play for "G T Sports Club" in the Brampton-Etobicoke Cricket League just outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • Errol on October 2, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    I know exactly how you feel... South African supporter here, go through the same experience day in and day out.

  • David on October 2, 2009, 16:24 GMT

    A very poignant comment - I hadn't managed to put my finger on what was wrong until now. There's something rather unappealing about the English team at the moment. 2005 there was a real feeling of joie de vivre about them. But nowthey seem like a surly, uninteresting bunch and I think that started with Petersen and has got worse under Strauss who I like as a batsman but as a captain he seems kind of petulant. And he chews his nails! Love watching teams with genuinely enthusiastic, loud fans not necesarily fuelled by lager.

  • Rich on October 2, 2009, 16:04 GMT

    Andrew I'm struggling to see the purpose of the article. You are in the privileged position of having a forum in which to discuss topics about which you are passionate and have an opinion, yet you've used it to say you're indifferent. Rather like phoning in to a survey to give the 'I don't know' option. If you don't feel any affinity towards the England cricket team, fine - no-one's forcing you, and as a nation we're renowned for being bad at patriotism. But what are you actually trying to say? How do you want people to respond? I'm an England sports fan, not because they're the best or I think our country's better than everyone else's, but purely and simply because it's where I come from. Are we unable to lend support to our national teams because we feel embarrassed? When eleven Englishmen take the field against eleven South Africans, and the South African fans are cheering the men in green, should we not offer our support to our players as well?

  • mudassar rana on October 2, 2009, 15:44 GMT

    Nationalism is the worst kind of racism because it creates rifts between people. We are realising that there is a common humanity between us all and no one person or team has a divine right to be victorious. The media's of both england and india have a lot to answer for. their blatant jingoism is not easy to stomach for any reasonable human being. star news in india is so stupid its unbelievable! the press in england after the ashes victory showed similar traits they seem to forget all the previous hammerings very conveniently. As a pakistan supporter we have to a certain extent been blessed as the poorer relation to our neighbours in that rampant capitalism hasnt destroyed our cricket. Sport has most feeling when played naturally and this is one thing pakistan have and maybe this unpredictability is something the west indian team has also despite standfords best efforts the windies are not for turning.

  • Al Mercer on October 2, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    I think everyone looks back at childhood cricket and assumes the game was somehow better or more pure.

    As someone who watched the '81 Ashes as a kid and followed Somerset in the Garner-Botham-Richards era I have a few great memories.

    BUT! Was Botham that nice a guy? Or Sir Viv? Or Lillee or Border? The players then were as nasty as the current crop. And they drank booze and smoked weed.

    Plus I can remember plenty of cider drinking and rowdiness at the matches - pitch invasions, players having a go at spectators (Sir Viv included) and police on patrol at matches.

    It's no different now. We're just older and grumpier.

    Tip for the writing, gambling, poet - Mr Hughes - just start spread betting and buy England player performances. You'll lose all your money; but at least regain some modicum of patriotism...albeit artificial :)

  • Chris on October 2, 2009, 15:35 GMT

    As a long suffering South African fan I still love test series,but I agree that I dont often get as fired up about it as there is far too much cricket played at the moment and political correctness is ruining the character of the game.

    Andre Nel, Gibbs, Symcox were characters. Previous aussie teams were full of characters, guys like David Boon, Shane Warne, Merv Hughes and those guys who could cop abuse and dish it out as well. Guys like Ian Botham and Flintoff.

    I think players are too afraid of censure to be honest or be less than 100% professional, they're like automatons, and it can make the game boring. I seriously dont even know why they bother with post match interviews these days.

    My favourites to watch these days are the Sri Lankans and Pakistanis, they still seem to have that raw edge and unpredictability which makes the game great.

  • kazi on October 2, 2009, 15:34 GMT

    i am a bangladeshi. bangladesh being stil an underdog u dont really expect them to win a tournament. when i started understanding and watching cricket in 1994, the only international tournament bangladesh played was asia cup so i had been supporting australia for worldcups. this is not lack of patritism but just that bangladesh wasnt in the scene to be supported. AUstralia have been my choice since i started cricket and still is. though im sorry to say that aussie cricket doesnt attrack me anymore to the couch. since gilchrist hayden warne and mcgrath hung their boots....its been pretty ordinary and boaring stuff from aussie...though they seem to be picking it up a little now. all in all...cricket is a global sport and i dont think its wrong if u feel like suporting another team other than ur birth country. we can use other countires product then why cant we suport a better team than our own team

  • Michael on October 2, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Maybe it's just middle age ,Andrew, and its accompanying sense of perspective. At Headingley this year we certainly were a bit concerned about England's largely feeble efforts with bat and ball but the predominant feeling was a sense of thorough enjoyment of an excellent few days' cricket and great admiration of Australia's solid contribution. Didn't stop us muttering "Roooobish!!!!" whenever England failed to bowl a length or wafted hopelessly outside off.

  • CJH on October 2, 2009, 15:31 GMT

    I left NZ to live in the UK and was not an Aussie supporter by any stretch of the imagination. After watching the 2005 Ashes celebrations and reading the papers around the time of the 2-1 win, I began to hope that England would lose all their games so I could avoid that cringeworthy display of overzealous celebrations. 2-0 was not worth what looked like post WW2 victory parades and Queens honours.

    When the English team seemed to cameo in almost all TV shows after that event it showed that they were just unable to deal with what other teams have been doing for years - winning. This resurfaced when the English team (apart from 2 players) stayed up late on tour in India so they could appear "live" at a sports awards event in the UK - the day before a one dayer. The only 2 players to score double digits were the ones who had slept!

    That unprofessional approach would NEVER had been allowed in Aussie cricket - and so I was so glad the Aussies creamed them 5-0 to teach them a lesson...

  • Javed Iqbal on October 2, 2009, 15:31 GMT

    Thanks to the Media who made Ashes Win look even bigger and attracted more english cricket fans. I even know people who dont know anything about cricket but still proudly say ' Ashes is ours'. Please don't ruin the hard work done by ECB and Media to make cricket bigger then ever in England which fills up the grounds atleast. I wonder if you are feeling like this how would the British forces be feeling figting Afghans. Dont think 'whats the point' but just 'make a point and let it be'.

  • Peter on October 2, 2009, 15:29 GMT

    I know how you feel, man. As a West Indian supporter I've gone from intense pride (pre-1996) to equally intense anger and fraustration (1996-2000)to...Eh!

    I really couldn't have cared less about the third-stringers sent to the Champions Trophy, because really, the "Senior" team are quite capable of the same results. Poor adminstration and lack of commitment from players will kill the joy everytime.

    This is so NOT a Page 2 article. Cuts to the bone of a seeping indifference to the game globally.

  • Auggie on October 2, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    Very true,very funny, very telling. Agree with everything but Mike Atherton? Holy cow! How could you? I mean Mike Atherton?

  • Daniel Kelly on October 2, 2009, 15:23 GMT

    The reason I have become disillusioned is the Barmy Army. The fact that this rowdy mob have come to be seen as the typical England supporters means that I have no wish to be associated with them. It used to be that cricket was played and watched by gentlemen, but now the players and the crowd are identical to the overhyped prima donnas and neaderthals found on and around football pitches. I've heard numerous stories of people, especially those trying to introduce their children to the game, being put off by the behaviour of these so called "supporters". This was emphasised by the lack of respect shown towards the Australian team, Ponting in particular, this summer.

    Get over yourself! The Barmy Army are the best thing to happen in English Cricket for years.

  • Malcolm on October 2, 2009, 15:11 GMT

    I was raised in Yorkshire in the era of Hutton, Trueman, Close, Illingworth, Wardle along with others such as Statham, Laker etc. I have been in Canada for over 40 years and am starved of cricket so I still retain my support - perhaps because there is no way I could ever be jaded. I am more "involved" than ever as I now have a great nephew playing for England. I agree with many here who suggest that it is not really a case of patriotism lost rather a surfeit of "cricket."

  • Philip Gnana on October 2, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    It looks like the feelings and patriotism that one has had for their Country seems to be on the vane. Sri Lanka my first team and England my second. I now seem to be supporting a particular player/s in this case Dilshan & Mathews..and then Freddy & KP. Strange how things pan out and may be the inconsistencies have a part to play in turning us off. SL team sems to be performing like the stock markets and England bumbing along the bottom a little up and there comes the dip now. Philip Gnana, New Malden, Surrey

  • Dona on October 2, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    Don't think english cricketers think very differently from Andrew Hughes. They have become pretty much indifferent to defeats. Not many players loose a 5 test series 5-0 and allow their wives to sit on Alan Sanford's lap and then blame sanford for that.

  • Babar Zia on October 2, 2009, 14:51 GMT

    every team has a different character and they way they approcah the game, and these subtle unique traits translate to the individual players. I still can't forget the steely blank resolve on Steve Waugh's face when he stood time and time again on a burning deck and saved the day. That was the mongrel aussie mentality that every team hated and wished they had. Now looking at this Austrailian bunch (all good enough cricketers)but the team has no semblance of the Austrailian effect. Lee and ponting are the last of the real austrailian cricketers, just notice their expressions when things are tight. This is just one example of one team but cricketers are now assembly line clones more than hand tooled exotic creatures and this has made them and cricket a lot less intriguing and enjoyable. Thank goodness that even now for every Pakistan game no one knows if we will be dazzled with brilliance or total chaos.

  • L4zybugg3r on October 2, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    I realised before it happened that the Aus would not be winning nearly as many matches after several key retirements but I just don't enjoy watching them play anymore. eg I was really looking forward to watching the recently completed ashes but a couple of games into the series and I pretty much stopped watching. Despite the closeness of the series I was not gripped like in the past. The last India vs Aus test series in India I was also looking forward to but the matches were incredibly boring. Both teams didn't really seem to be fighting "tooth and nail" to win so I figure if the players don't care that much there's not a lot of hope for me caring about watching it. Recently I've been more inclined to watch Pakistan play especially since Afridi seemed to learn shot selection in the recent T20 world cup. There's always something interesting happening with the Pakistan cricket team. On the whole though I would I say that I'm now primarily a supporter of cricket rather than a team.

  • CC on October 2, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    Completely agree with the sentiments - and as a London Kiwi who follows England/NZ equally except in rugby - I can say I feel the same antipathy towards players on both rugby and cricket and in England and NZ. Why? Money. The so-called root of all evil, has just sullied both of these wonderful sports. Endeavours that rely as much on courage and heart and teamwork as they do on skill are just incongruous with cash. Cash does not inspire bravery, that comes from the heart. The whole thing was summed up with the frankly, sordid shots of Mrs Prior sitting on Stanford's lap whilst her husband played cricket (and watched the aforementioed off-field antics on the big screen) to win some of the fraudster's pocket money (which wasn't even his anyway). That one event is ALL that is wrong with modern sport.

  • Abhinav on October 2, 2009, 13:07 GMT

    I was born and brought up in India, but I always supported the England team as a kid - I even modelled my batting on Alec Stewart! But after coming here to live, I've been completely turned off by the press and the English supporters. Nothing exists beyond the Ashes. They even called the tour of India - almost two years back - good practice for the Ashes! I really like some of the English players; Anderson, Broad and Strauss in particular. But purely because of the press and parts of the public, I can't help hoping the opposing team wins when England are playing. Never thought the day would come when I'd be supporting the Aussies!

  • Owais on October 2, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    I just realized that I should be more thankful for the kind of team we have (Pakistan). They may be the most inconsistent, but in a way its nice. I wouldn't want them to become like an England, Australia or South Africa. I would rather have them lurking at number 3/4 in the rankings but with the existing flare that brings out the ability to defalte any opposition on their day with some enterprising cricket. at least it keeps them from being the favorites and over-hyped by the media. lets keep it this way.

  • Somuil on October 2, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    So true..andy now the game is all about big bucks. I live in states but still follow every match India plays, though knowingly MSD & co. are more patriot to their IPL franchises' rather than country.I still cant recall when was the last time I saw Indian team fanatic about the game as it was the case when Morree and Prabhakar use to play with their heart out.

  • Rajeev Venkat on October 2, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    Really what a wonderfully expressed thought! I wish I had such clarity of thought too but on reading the Blog I felt as if I was muttering those words. Completely disconnecetd, being a 'Passionate' Indian but yet feeling the same.

    I feel the Sports administrators have completely ruined the charm of the game, particularly the 50-50 ODI. It really has started getting on the nerve. The over-hyped India-Pak also has no thrill believe me. There was a time when I would cry for days on India losing despite being a much weaker team those days. Not anymore! Maybe I have grown or rather the Game has become Smaller, since there is a motive in it now. The innocence of the game has been lost... Long back!

  • Ben on October 2, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    The reason I have become disillusioned is the Barmy Army. The fact that this rowdy mob have come to be seen as the typical England supporters means that I have no wish to be associated with them. It used to be that cricket was played and watched by gentlemen, but now the players and the crowd are identical to the overhyped prima donnas and neaderthals found on and around football pitches. I've heard numerous stories of people, especially those trying to introduce their children to the game, being put off by the behaviour of these so called "supporters". This was emphasised by the lack of respect shown towards the Australian team, Ponting in particular, this summer. What's worse is that their drunken antics have made it nigh on impossible for respectable people to be able to take and enjoy a nice bottle of wine to test grounds! It's time that any poor behaviour instigates a long ban for the offender.

  • nick.t. on October 2, 2009, 12:21 GMT

    Part of the problem I have is the excessive amount of cricket. When I was a boy, in Botham's glory days, cricket was relatively rare, and so watching it felt like a treat. Now, there's so much pointless cricket, often between injury-hit or exhausted teams, that it feels like being forced to exist on a diet of chocolate and Coke. I still enjoy Test cricket, but find Twenty20 pretty futile, and most ODIs seem like a waste of time. It's time that cricket remembered that less is more. Don't get me wrong, I still feel devotion to England - but, with the exception of the Ashes, it's harder to care as pointless series follows pointless series.

  • Gerald on October 2, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    This is why most people do not like the English. No perspective. Whenever they win it is as if this is the way it should always have been and some how they had been cheated from their rightful place in the first place. Smugness would ensue as they get to say "I told you so" even though last week they weren't particularly interested. The cycle would begin again. It is a shame. Same thing happens in rugby. Southern Hemisphere nations beat Northern Hemisphere nations 75% of the time per official stats. Yet any European commentator will claim they have the best local competitions, best players etc etc. It is really tiresome.

  • Leo on October 2, 2009, 12:04 GMT

    The true characters and personalities of the players have been groomed out over the last generation. They are briefed on what they can say and how they should say it. The David Boon and Merv Hughes type characters would be be not be picked in todays age of cricket. They are not athletes and are genuine blokes, you dont see too many personalities in world cricket anymore. World cricket is the more boring for it! Bring back the real people and watch the interest in world cricket grow.

  • ledootch on October 2, 2009, 12:00 GMT

    maybe it's all about the death of 50ovr cricket? i shudder at the lack of interest in semis - 3 of the 4 most uninteresting teams in world odi's squaring off against each other - eng, pak, kiwis. (windies the missing 4th) yet i'd pay good money to see any of them play 20/20 or tests.

    or maybe it's just that modern top level cricket encourages god-fearing proteinshake yawners like clarke, collingwood and de villiers, while the gibbs's and the symmos get cast aside. criminal. Has cricket forgotten that it's primary function and purpose to public is entertainment?

  • Dogva on October 2, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Can certainly see some of what is trying to be said here. However i always want the england team to win although shocking results such as Holland made a slight chuckle considering how over inflated views on the side are. It is those that annoy me the most and those calling for Flintoff to be knighted most look at themselves, probably the same people who think Broad a world beater.

  • Fishwyck on October 2, 2009, 11:48 GMT

    Pup will become the pinup 'boy' of the aussie team and about the most wimpish example of a future test captain one could ever imagine. When he deposes Punter hair product and designer clothes will form part of the kit of every member of his squad and one can imagine the alluring fragrances batsmen will wear to attract the 'loose' delivery from hard toiling opposition bowlers. I think this will be a very sweet and charming period in international cricket and it will be a wonderful example of manliness for our young aspiring players to emulate. Oh, I am sooo excited darlings...!

  • Simon on October 2, 2009, 11:48 GMT

    Ahh, I don't know, I don't seem to have any problem following and supporting England, wanting them to win, and avoiding the jingoism, as you put it. Don't get me wrong, of course I recognise the phenomenon you're describing, and I have as little time for it as most right thinking folk. Doesn't mean I can't cheer for England though.

    I'm a cricket fan first, and an England fan second. For me the subtleties and complexities of the 2005 Ashes were not overwhelmed by the, er, 'patriotism' on display that summer. Perhaps it's because I stay away from the mainstream media.

    I *am* still indubitably an England fan though!

  • philip Kaye on October 2, 2009, 11:37 GMT

    The English team has so many foreigners playing for it as a badge of convenience that I think it must be difficult to support it in a patriotic sense. If Pieterson, Trott, Morgan were cricket fans rather than professional players, I know who they would be supporting and it would not be England.

  • Tom on October 2, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    As an Australia this year I have gotten enthrawled in cricket more than any other.

    In the past I didnt need to watch the game, you knew the aussies would win. I didnt care about individual performances, you could rely on these boys day in, day out.

    Now its interesting.

  • Bernie on October 2, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    Yeah, I can agree - the jingoism kills it for me. I mean, I'm glad if England win, but we're not changing the face of cricket or curing cancer when we do. We can always take comfort in the fact that England look great in the nets, come what may.

    Hope the two semis and the final are worth it. Maybe Graeme Swann will get six wickets in six balls and Ferrari will sponsor him with a pink muscle-car, at last!

  • sam on October 2, 2009, 11:32 GMT

    with england more than other teams, you get the impression of a lack of effort and genuine care.. i guess thats why there is a feeling of isolation from the fans side. with india and pakistan, if you don't perform we in the subcontinent resort to stoning players/burning effigies/destroying them in the press only to come back and love them the next day -> is that real patriotism? questionable.

  • Robyn on October 2, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    A very good article, and one with which I would wholeheartedly agree. Although I'm an English fan, I now get more pleasure out of how the game is played and don't care so much for the individual result. That said I'm quite partial to a South African win.

    Quite simply though there's just far too much unstructured cricket being played an international levrel nowadays. The fans need a break too !

  • Ryan Lalsingh on October 2, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    I definitely know the feeling. My patriotism was sky high when we won the 2004 Champions Trophy and Lara scored 400. Then came the WICB/WIPA saga.

    My patriotism boomeranged to me a few months ago when we beat England at home.

    But like yours Andrew, it seems to have deserted me...again.

    Need I memtion that I am West Indian?

  • Not that Rob on October 2, 2009, 11:14 GMT

    You've hit the nail on the head for me there rusty. Political correctness has all but killed my serious love for the game - though not my enthusiasm for great performances - though cricket is not the only victim of that particular blight. What happened to hating/loving players on the field based on their proficiency of sledging? When did that become a bad thing, really? Mental toughness is meant to be a part of the game, but you can't say anything to anyone without some lawyer-lover whining about 'fairness', 'sportsmanship' or 'spirit' of the game. PFT! What is the game without hero's and villains?!? Also, not to be too tough on them all, but the rush of recent subcontinental winging on forums and on the field has been deafening - and i for one have had enough and don't need to hear it anymore. Bring back Roy! And do the same with Lote (if people know what i'm talking about)!

  • Mikey on October 2, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    Are you Rob Key's unfit younger brother?

  • Saz on October 2, 2009, 10:55 GMT

    Agree completely. Despite being a naturalised New Zealander (who cheered on England in 2006) this year they were all a little too "boy band" for their own good. Whether it was the inanely prozac grinning at Cardiff, or the naff bowling in sunglasses, or even the bats sponsored by the Daily Mail, I don't know, but it just didn't feel right. Sorry guys - whisper it - this year I started neutral but was behind Aussie by the end of the second over at Cardiff.

  • 0mar Hussain on October 2, 2009, 10:28 GMT

    Very canny Andrew!Deep down the cruelness apart we know the fire still burns as it never extinguish with a true brit!i have read several columns by writers from different countries but i don't know why you British write so well on cricket!Tell me has anyone ever written better on this noble game than your guru Cardus.I am a Pakistani who read the great man back in the sixties.He was British to the core but he had a massive heart for the good cricketrs no matter who they were.Times i have ignored my team but when they won the 20/20 world cup this year you wouldn't have found a more happier old man on earth!Think about that and the fact that my favourite cricketer is Fred Trueman....!

  • Candice on October 2, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    Felt the same way here about the Windies and now even worse with the crop they have masquerading as an international XI. The pain of losing, the regional politics within the game and the mismanagement caused me to seek happiness in following the Aussies for a number of years. Don't get me wrong, I'll always love my home team, but will only support them wholeheartedly when they get their acts together.

  • Ali on October 2, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    Andrew man i have been missing your posts :( i almost went through every single coloum other than LONG HANDLE which i was not expecting to be yours. Thank Goodness that now i have found your posts again. you the best thing about your posts is your extremely liveliness and your sincerity + your sense of humour. May you write many more .... keep up the good work.. you are the man ..

  • Corky on October 2, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    I wonder why all these uninterested cricket watchers bother with their blogs?

    A truly bored spectator would be reading a book.

  • Rohan on October 2, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    Just be glad you aren't a West Indies supporter.

  • Graeme on October 2, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    I'm SA all the way, but I really do wish the media and the fans in my country were a little more encouraging of cricketers with character. When Steyn said 'when SA plays to their best they are unbeatable' he was jumped all over for being arrogant. Since then you can hear him censoring himself in his second language. Also contributing is that there is too much cricket, there is always a next time to win something important.

  • sheila on October 2, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    I feel just the same and care far more about my county team than England. Perhaps it is because one never sees the 'elite' cricketers on the county circuit where other players seem just as good as the much lauded England team members.

  • Ed on October 2, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    There's just too much cricket, it never stops! How many international matches of all formats have England played this year? 20? 30? It has to stop somewhere. At the moment there is no sense of anticipation before a series, no time for relaxation afterwards and the players are losing interest as well. Bring back team blazers for all appearances, ban baseball hats and most of the sponsors, bring in the brylcream. Come back Ted Dexter....or the spirit of Ted Dexter anyway.

  • Eugene on October 2, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    I am still a huge supporter of the Proteas, despite their seeming inability to collect silverware, but the ironic thing is, the one thing I support more than the Proteas is a team with heart and determination.

    I have always enjoyed West Indian cricket, they may not be the best or the fastest but they just have a certain aura to them. I find the same to be true withe Sri Lanka.

    Cricket is a sport where even if your country's arch-nemesis thrashes you, you can sit back and say - in most cases - wow they deserved that match.

  • Brett Rowland on October 2, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    Interesting article and interesting comments. I feel exactly the same way about the Australian cricket team, with the exception of Johnson. I enjoy watching some of the Lankans, Indians and Pakistanis a lot more, especially the spinners. Having grown up seeing Lloyd, Richards, Roberts, Holding etc etc, I wish the West Indians would lift their game again. I admire the way Vettori plays the game and some of the South Africans are good to watch.

    Maybe it is a stage you get to in life, maybe it is just that there are so many meaningless games now or, in the case of Australia, may be that there are just no players that capture the imagination, no Ian Chappell, Dennis Lillee, Border, Steve Waugh, Warne, etc.

    Anyway, good blog and good to see that there are other people out there who appreciate players no matter where they come from.

  • Michael on October 2, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    I have to agree here too, as a South African.. I don't have that passion for my team anymore, unlike I do for the rugby team.

    It is not because we always lose in the big tournaments.. perhaps it is because there are no longer any real characters or "geniuses" in my team. Everything is too clinical, boring and passionless.

    Watching Mendis the other day, however against South Africa, was mesmerizing, and the Pakistan tail-end bowling is beautiful to watch. You can see that they learn their art through hard dedication to bowling balls, more balls and even more balls.. It is very clear in this era, egos are over inflated and players have far higher opinions of themselves, than us supporters do of them.

    Countries that are going through difficulties, like Pakistan, their players appreciate every opportunity they get to play against other teams - other players' need to look and learn from them instead of trying to sign up some hair contract.

    Kallis, smile, sing our anthem or go

  • Paul on October 2, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    I can understand people not supporting their national team, but only through disinterest. Nothing to do with patriotism. Using the excuse that they are no good anymore just means that you never cared about them as a team anyway, just wanted to support a winning team. A bit like all the Man Utd 'fans' that I know who have never been closer than 100 miles of Old Trafford.

    Anyway, I have never felt the same problem, I have always supported England teams, (or UK when it comes to Olympics or Rugby), as they are the teams that I want to win, no matter how bad they are. That doesn't mean that I cannot appreciate good cricketers in other teams, they just make me resentful. But I'll still be willing England to win.

    I cannot really see the point of watching any sport if you don't care about the result. No matter what the match I always end up supporting someone for the duration of the match. The game would be less interesting otherwise.

  • cynic on October 2, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    The same goes for the Sri Lanka team too. I have become so unpatriotic that I cheer when Sanath Jayasuriya gets out hoping that he will be dropped from the next match. On average Jayasuriya gets out during the first two overs putting immense pressure on the other batsman coming in. He gets out only at matches. Why can't he get out of the team?

  • Sami on October 2, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    I'm a Bangladeshi, but I am a huge fan of the English cricket team. I support them every time they play- even against Bangladesh. England are a great team to watch. It's sad to see the death of British patriotism after WWII. You guys should be proud of your country. It's the greatest nation of them all.

  • Richard on October 2, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    I agree to the malaise sweeping world cricket at the moment. Are we cricketed out? Are the cricketeers? One begets the other... Also i believe that cricketeers are becoming less adventurous, batting in particular - weeding out the exciting shots such as hitting over the infield in preference to the percentage shot. The mantra in bowling is now line and length, rather than pace and intimidation. All this leads to a snorefest, especially in the middle overs of a one-dayer. Remember the days of 120 runs after 15 overs due to Sanath, Sachin and Gilly? Those were the days!

  • Greg on October 2, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    One of the great benefits of being a cricket loving Scotsman is that I can love the game without getting too bogged down in partisanship. Down with premature ghost-written autobiographies, risible Hugo Boss adverts and the bipolar mood swings of the English press (England the best! England the worst! within the space of two games) and here's to excellence, wherever in the world it comes from.

  • Wombat on October 2, 2009, 8:45 GMT

    The world has changed around us, gentlemen! Gone are the days when an international cricketing game was a novelty. We are force-fed these things incessantly.

    On top of all that, we know that it's all about the money. One country's employees facing another country's workmen.

    I gotta stop this.

    Nice blog by the way.

  • Kiwi_Fan on October 2, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    I support New Zealand, and I can't wait for the day when victory is so taken for granted that I cease to care. We have so little, and every win is special.

  • Mr Wicket on October 2, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Congratulations, Andrew. It’s called maturity, the realisation that the opposition aren’t all dastardly, underhand low-lifes. Also, that Test matches linger in the memory to a far greater extent than ODIs and T20s, and always will. The 2005 Ashes series was great not because of the outcome (i.e. ‘my side won’, which it did) but because of the quality and intensity of the cricket. Same outcome in 2009, but nothing like the quality.

  • George Cheriyan on October 2, 2009, 8:21 GMT

    Fortunately for me, I have never felt sentimental affiliation to any team, having been born in Malawi, educated and brought up in India (in a boarding school for 12 years)and subsequently lived and worked in Malawi and the UK, I could have supported any one of 3 teams! Having nurtured a love of cricket from the age of 8, I didn't know much about nationalities but rather admired players for their on-field prowess (Miller,O'neill, Harvey, Reid, Fazal Mahmood, Umrigar, Hutton, Compton, Laker, Worral, Weekes, Walcott, Mathias, Sobers,Graveney, Ramadhin, Pataudi, Pollock, Proctor, Grout, Mackay, Benaud and so on).

  • Rohit on October 2, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    Yep, same thing here for the Indian team. Ironically it started right when they started winning and moving up the rankings. I find that I care a hell of a lot more for the South African team.

  • Daniel Graham on October 2, 2009, 7:32 GMT

    I think that Andrew and a few others here are not lamenting a lack of patriotism, rather a flat period in world cricket. There are few characters left - at least, not of the order I grew up with. No more Lillee, Chappell or Marsh. No more Lloyd, Garner or Holding. Dreary indeed. As an Aussie kid I admired Micheal Holding just as much as Terry Alderman. No lack of patriotism mind you. Just seriously fine cricketers no matter the nationality.

  • Dicko on October 2, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    So true. The only joy I got out of England's win in the ashes was stirring mates a work. 2005 was better but I think I too got caught up in the jingoism of it all. As a lifelong supporter of the Poms I look back to 1981 for true pleasure in an England win.

    Too much meaningless cricke and cricketers who have forgotten the spirit of the game. I speak of England and Australia here

  • Bob Fortune on October 2, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    A thrilling series. 2005,--- the game the winner, England`s players ,however, over inflated by the press etc.Proof the following tests in Australia. How`s that! Rob

  • Danish on October 2, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    I'm dissapointed most of the time in them too, but I don't know why my patriotism never goes away. May it will someday after a lot of let-downs.

    Just a question. Would you keep doing this even if somehow, i repeat SOMEHOW, England do win the Champion's Trophy?

  • Fouad Khan on October 2, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    I know exactly how you feel... Pakistan supporter here, went through a similar experience in the late nineties and early aughts.

  • rusty on October 2, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    I've recently suffered the same creeping ennui about the Australian team. I can't remember when it first set in - maybe after the revenge thrashing of you in 2006? - but by the time the selectors were showing Roy the door, I realized that I'd ceased to really care about the fortunes of the team. It's not because they are no longer winning. It's because they are so dull. Even Ponting has mellowed into political-correctness. Mitchell Johnson's spells apart, I fail to be rivetted to the couch anymore. No doubt by the time Puppydog takes over, the process will be complete.

    Anyway, it's likely to be rained off tonight.

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  • rusty on October 2, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    I've recently suffered the same creeping ennui about the Australian team. I can't remember when it first set in - maybe after the revenge thrashing of you in 2006? - but by the time the selectors were showing Roy the door, I realized that I'd ceased to really care about the fortunes of the team. It's not because they are no longer winning. It's because they are so dull. Even Ponting has mellowed into political-correctness. Mitchell Johnson's spells apart, I fail to be rivetted to the couch anymore. No doubt by the time Puppydog takes over, the process will be complete.

    Anyway, it's likely to be rained off tonight.

  • Fouad Khan on October 2, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    I know exactly how you feel... Pakistan supporter here, went through a similar experience in the late nineties and early aughts.

  • Danish on October 2, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    I'm dissapointed most of the time in them too, but I don't know why my patriotism never goes away. May it will someday after a lot of let-downs.

    Just a question. Would you keep doing this even if somehow, i repeat SOMEHOW, England do win the Champion's Trophy?

  • Bob Fortune on October 2, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    A thrilling series. 2005,--- the game the winner, England`s players ,however, over inflated by the press etc.Proof the following tests in Australia. How`s that! Rob

  • Dicko on October 2, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    So true. The only joy I got out of England's win in the ashes was stirring mates a work. 2005 was better but I think I too got caught up in the jingoism of it all. As a lifelong supporter of the Poms I look back to 1981 for true pleasure in an England win.

    Too much meaningless cricke and cricketers who have forgotten the spirit of the game. I speak of England and Australia here

  • Daniel Graham on October 2, 2009, 7:32 GMT

    I think that Andrew and a few others here are not lamenting a lack of patriotism, rather a flat period in world cricket. There are few characters left - at least, not of the order I grew up with. No more Lillee, Chappell or Marsh. No more Lloyd, Garner or Holding. Dreary indeed. As an Aussie kid I admired Micheal Holding just as much as Terry Alderman. No lack of patriotism mind you. Just seriously fine cricketers no matter the nationality.

  • Rohit on October 2, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    Yep, same thing here for the Indian team. Ironically it started right when they started winning and moving up the rankings. I find that I care a hell of a lot more for the South African team.

  • George Cheriyan on October 2, 2009, 8:21 GMT

    Fortunately for me, I have never felt sentimental affiliation to any team, having been born in Malawi, educated and brought up in India (in a boarding school for 12 years)and subsequently lived and worked in Malawi and the UK, I could have supported any one of 3 teams! Having nurtured a love of cricket from the age of 8, I didn't know much about nationalities but rather admired players for their on-field prowess (Miller,O'neill, Harvey, Reid, Fazal Mahmood, Umrigar, Hutton, Compton, Laker, Worral, Weekes, Walcott, Mathias, Sobers,Graveney, Ramadhin, Pataudi, Pollock, Proctor, Grout, Mackay, Benaud and so on).

  • Mr Wicket on October 2, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Congratulations, Andrew. It’s called maturity, the realisation that the opposition aren’t all dastardly, underhand low-lifes. Also, that Test matches linger in the memory to a far greater extent than ODIs and T20s, and always will. The 2005 Ashes series was great not because of the outcome (i.e. ‘my side won’, which it did) but because of the quality and intensity of the cricket. Same outcome in 2009, but nothing like the quality.

  • Kiwi_Fan on October 2, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    I support New Zealand, and I can't wait for the day when victory is so taken for granted that I cease to care. We have so little, and every win is special.