But any test match I have been to has bored me rigid. But then my credentials to offer an opinion are not the best. After all, I’m the fella who was the only person in the bar at Headingley when Ian Botham and co achieved the seemingly impossible by beating Australia at Headingley in 1981. Even the barman went outside to take a look!
In January 1980 I moved to Leeds from London to work as a sports researcher for Yorkshire Television. This would see me work with and, in some instances, becomes friends with legendary cricketers from Yorkshire. And yet, when filming or not, going to watch cricket at Headingley left me cold. In every sense of the word.
I would go on to become great friends with Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper David ‘Bluey’ Bairstow but not once did he try to convert me to the sport. My dealings with Fred Trueman were always good. Well, other than when he gave me the keys to his large BMW and ask me to park it as he was late for studio. He told my friend and colleague Richard Whiteley what he had done. When Richard told Fred I had yet to pass my driving test, Fred ran faster than he had done for many years.
I was reminded of the cricketing people I had dealt with this week. Kevin Pietersen got an extraordinary amount of publicity for his autobiography. Credit to his publishers. They did sterling work. I know only too well how much hard work is required to promote a book.
I sit on the fence when it comes to Pietersen. I have the fence to myself. It seems you either love or loathe the man. There is no doubting that he is a fine cricketer and that England would have been much poorer had he never taken to the crease for the country.
There can also be little dispute that he is sure of himself. I expect he has long thought he is a much better cricketer than those England players he shared a dressing room with. And he’s probably right.
Remind you of anyone?
One of the most persistently obnoxious people I dealt with during twelve years at YTV was Geoffrey Boycott. Of course, you could not say that in Yorkshire. You’d be lynched. It would be like producing the show that accused one time Leeds United and England manager of Don Revie of running out on England for a wad of Arab sponsored cash. I wonder who might have worked on that progamme!
Pietersen comes over as a friendlier sort of guy than Boycott. But then many people have fallen for the supposed wit and charm of Boycott, especially since his battle with cancer and because of his input to cricket coverage on BBC radio. I shall always remember Boycott as an arrogant, charmless, rude, and a bullying misogynist.
I loathe bullies. I have no time for men who yell at or hit women. I’ve come across several sportsmen who see themselves as “Men’s men.” I don’t see Pietersen as one of those types.
Kevin Pietersen said he was bullied by some on the England training camp and yet he doesn’t strike me as someone who would allow himself to be bullied. Perhaps I am wrong on that one. He says he was reduced to tears when he discovered some of those he played with had set up a parody Twutter account in his name. Their actions sound pathetic. Childish. But surely not something to reduce a grown man to tears.
I am amazed at the quantity of coverage this Kevin Pietersen story received during the past week. Of course, an autobiography provides easy and ready copy for newspapers and offers up many minutes of airtime on TV and radio.
Whoever is in the right, whoever did wrong, we should remember it’s only a sport. Nobody died.
It’s just not cricket. It’s only cricket. Get over it everyone.