There’s a cult that’s taken hold in cricket. It has the potential to ruin it for everyone if left unchallenged.
Think Branch Davidians. Think breast feeding Nazis. Think Trekkies. Think Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth.
Yes. The biggest issue facing cricket today are ‘Associate Cricket Hipsters.’
Now, before all the raging leftie cricket fans climb out of their collective funky Facebook Groups and come at me with chants of “Dennis is a cricket bigot”, let’s look at some facts.
Firstly, take some time to smell the roses and differentiate between ‘associate cricket’ and ‘associate cricket hipsters.’
Associate cricket nations are those ones we rarely hear about. They include Ireland, Afghanistan and Suriname. They randomly appear at World Cups of the T20 and ODI variety. They bring with them new exotic names and players. There is no doubt that they add to the spectacle. Everyone loves a underdog.
Now, I have nothing against these lesser sporting nations. In fact, one could surmise I am a casual supporter of their cause.
Your honour, may I present to you the following articles I have written in recent times to support my case:
This last one was labelled the most important article written so far in the World Cup by a respected Cricinfo and Wisden India journalist.
On top of that, my website is currently hosting five other articles written during the World Cup by others about the associate cause.
I have produced two podcasts on the proposed Canadian Premier T20 League and then there was this piece on French cricket. The comments section alludes to the cult that I am growing increasingly concerned about.
As an aside, should the word ‘associate’ be capitalised? Are they a proper noun yet?
Anyhow, my point is that I am not anti associate. In fact, if anything, Dennis Does Cricket has added to the collective noise more than most. In retrospect, I almost fell for the alluring trappings of wanting to be one of the cool kids.
Recently, given the ICC’s stated objective to reduce the World Cup in 2019 down to only 10 teams, the associate cause has gained some new members. I call these people the ‘associate cricket hipsters’.
Unless your name is Russell Degnan, Andrew Nixon, Tim Whigmore, Peter Della Penna or Jamie Harrison, then you are highly susceptible to jumping on a bandwagon you know little about. These guys listed above are like Jesus’ 12 disciples. They were preaching about the associates even before recorded history.
Peter Miller also gets a leave pass due to his contributions to this excellent book. However, let’s be honest. He hasn’t spent his life in the trenches like the other blokes. He sits alone as a legitimate neuvo hipster.
But, I am far from a cricket hipster and so are you.
Clearly there is a cause that needed to be taken up. Cricket will be better with a more inclusive system for lesser cricket nations. But, it has been done to death now.
I’m happy to take my share of the blame for the wave of articles that bear my moniker. However, like you, if I stare into the mirror of truth, I’m not losing too much sleep over associate cricket.
I got excited about it for a day or two. But if Australia don’t play Ireland in the next 5 years, it won’t change my cricketing experience one iota.
I care about The Ashes. I care about Pakistan v India. I now like the Big Bash. I enjoy the World Cup Finals. The Champions Trophy is the best tournament on the ICC calendar.
Afghanistan versus Israel, although interesting for geopolitical reasons, is not really something I’m going to watch on Pay TV.
So please, wannabe hipsters, tone down your associate rhetoric. We get it.
Another article about why the ICC is shortsighted? I’ve already read it.
Associate podcasts? I’m over them.
Name dropping Hamid Hassan, Shapoor and some guy called Karate? You knew nothing of them 6 weeks ago. Stop pretending that you did.
Khurrum Khan facts? There aren’t any. Stop making them up.
You don’t even know what Brendan Taylor looks like. He’s not even an associate.
Leave the hipster space to those that will live and breathe the cause long after the UAE have headed home after the World Cup. They have been, and will continue to do a great job.
Instead, turn your energies back to AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Trent Boult, Kumar Sangakkara and whoever the English reckon is their next white knight.
Currently, I think it’s James Taylor. Or is it Moeen? One can never be sure.
Associate cricket hipster you are not.
Start acting appropriately.