This month four years ago, I started Ducking Beamers: A Cricket Blog. The inspiration for the name came from a moment during India’s 2007 tour of England, when S. Sreesanth (accidentally) bowled a beamer near Kevin Pietersen, who fell to the ground and stared incredulously. I liked the complexity of the event: if Sreesanth had bounced the ball so that it crossed Pietersen’s head — and even hit it — he would have been congratulated by his teammates. The violence of the ball, in other words, would have been deemed ‘acceptable.’ But because he simply hurled the ball at the batsman, he had to apologize.
At any rate, four years ago I was a fresh college graduate interested chiefly in the post-colonial issues posed by the game (CLR James’ book still lay, unread, on my bookshelf). So, I began with a post on Norman Tesbitt, a racist British minister who suggested all immigrants needed to root for the English cricket team as a loyalty test. Then, in early 2008, the Harbhajan-Symonds mess occurred, giving me more opportunity to explore the game’s racial undertones. (It’s embarrassing to read now where I stood on that conflict; I really should have sided more explicitly with Symonds.)
Over time, though, I have become interested in two topics: a) How do cricket fans experience the game now? That is, what has changed about the medium — from radio, to television, to the Internet — and how does this change affect how we ‘see’ the game? And b) Cricket’s troubled relationship with modernity. I have come to look at Test cricket as a crucial and necessary anti-modern space; a tribute to an earlier rhythm of life that did not emphasize human agency or ability, but rather the power of nature and fate. That seems more abstract than I wish, but browse through a sample of my favorite posts below to get a firmer idea of what I’m about.
Before that, I want to say thank you to my fellow bloggers for making this a rewarding endeavor. Despite my best attempts, my blog receives little more than 3,000 visitors each month (IPL and World Cup seasons aside). But I’ll trade any flood of visitors for an insightful comment from Homer, Kartikeya, Devanshu, Samir, or the many other bloggers smarter than I. As they say here in the U.S.: Four more years!
A SAMPLING OF MY WORK:
My first post: “I Can’t Get No Assimilation”
CRICKET AS ANTI-MODERN: