In defence of cricket clubs – do they exist to excel at cricket or to run social experiments?

Any opinions that go against current orthodoxy are unwanted and liable to be met with abuse. Nevertheless it is important to consider whether the push for cricket clubs to find players that are not just ‘the best’ but represent certain demographics will have side-effects. We must also consider whether these side-effects are actually what is being sought by those pushing these ideas.

It has been a basic assumption since Gloucestershire played Yorkshire in 1890 that county cricket clubs exist to win cricket matches. It seems the most basic of factual statements that sports teams try above all else to win matches and competitions. It has indeed been the case until recently that selectors in any sport chose their teams based on their players’ ability.

This approach is being rejected at the moment in cricket. Clubs are starting to take diversity into account when choosing teams. The chairman of Middlesex has recently been quoted as saying,

I speak on behalf of the entire Club in saying that our desire is to see a first eleven walking out to play for the Club which is truly reflective of the broadly diverse county that Middlesex is today and that we will do all within our power to make that happen.

This approach means that the focus is no longer just excellence but also diversity. It seems clear that if you have two targets rather than one, it is harder to hit both. People may say that the aim of a cricket club should be to reflect the local demographics, that a focus on diversity is a good and proper aim. If so it must be accepted that seeking excellence is being laid aside, particularly when clubs are called to quickly find new players in demographics that don’t play cricket.

The push for kids who don’t play cricket ignores the fact that most kids prefer football. In an ideal world the names of cricket players would be on everyone’s lips and kids would shout ‘jumpers for wickets’ before having a quick game of cricket between lessons. But in the real world football is what they follow. Everywhere you look, football players are revered and featured in the papers. Kids with no family history of footballing pick it up in the playground. In comparison, even among cricket lovers, there is no doubt that cricket is a niche sport. There is not a weekly Match of the Day showing highlights. Cricket is time-consuming, has complex laws and needs expensive kit that’s heavy to lug around. Players aren’t revered and aren’t all millionaires. All the action takes place in the middle of a field with a small ball that’s frankly hard to see. Kids and adults alike often have to say ‘What happened?’ Umpiring is difficult, too much can depend on a finger raised in mistake. In football a bad decision might put you one-nil down, but there is time to regroup and come back. In cricket if the umpire gives you out erroneously there is no comeback. The afternoon is ruined.

All of which suggests that there are many reasons why a kid who likes football is not going to be seduced by cricket. To succeed you really need a parent who’s obsessed and listens to TMS.

This push to find cricket players amongst non-cricketing demographics ignores the fact that – hard though it is to admit – cricket isn’t more fun than other sports. Of course many of us think that with its five day matches and five match series it is a richer game, but most children who play football aren’t going to suddenly pick up a bat and think ‘at last I have found the sport I was born to play’.

The occasional one may, and clubs should put on coaching and training for all-comers. Cricket can be expensive to play and that can rule out many kids who could be encouraged to play by schemes to help poorer kids of all backgrounds. But though some will like the madness of cricket, many will think it is over-complicated, leads not to riches, adulation and evening games against Barcelona, and prefer one of the many other sports available to them.

Having set up a pathway open to all, clubs should not obsess over the demographics of the kids on their courses or the players in their teams. Teach anyone who comes and take the best onto the next level, regardless of background. To focus on representing the local demographics is to not focus on producing a winning team.

Some may say that the push for diversity is worth it and is a better aim than purely winning. Clubs will come to their own decisions, but it must be recognised that it fundamentally changes the raison d’être of the club.

Clubs have to decide, are they in the business of winning cricket matches or are they running social enterprises. Is getting their hands on the trophy the most important thing, or are the colour of the hands on the trophy most important. Because contrary to the diversity above all else narrative, they cannot focus on both. The reallocation of resources and loss of focus will reduce the level of cricket achieved. A worse team will attract less fans, worse players, will be less successful and will make less money. This push for diversity ASAP, which is couched as the only true desirable outcome could be the catalyst for cricket’s demise.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below?

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Leftists worried they are running out of things to call racist

‘We’ve had a good run, but it’s a struggle to find new things,’ said an anonymous spokesman. ‘I blame Brexit.’

After last week’s unsuccessful claim that pickled onions were racist, leftists have admitted they are getting worried that they are running out of things to call racist. ‘We’re just struggling to find the links anymore,’ Mr C said by video link from his mansion in Cheshire. ‘Socks, pillows, cats, tarmac…we’ve claimed all these things must be cancelled, but people think our reasons are getting tenuous. For example we cancelled socks because slave traders often wore them, but people just don’t care anymore.’

When asked if they had overplayed the racism card, Mr C said only a racist would suggest that, swore about plague island, drank a pint of vegan beer and…cont p.24

Woke Church: How woke activists affect institutions and what this could teach the Church

A look at how woke activists affect institutions in general and how this might affect the Church in particular.

The Church of England has recently published a report called From Lament to Action. This uses language and makes assumptions that reflect current secular ideas. This film is an examination of this report and also a look at how woke activists work outside the church in society. Some people think that the woke approach is a great thing. Others think that it is unbiblical. These two views are at odds with each other, but what is the truth? This film tries to find out.

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Cheese is racist, especially Cheddar. Says man who sells cheese alternative

‘For reasons that I will not go into as they are so traumatic, cheese is racist and may even be homophobic’

In an annoucement that has taken everyone by surprise it was revealed today that cheese is racist. 

I had no idea

On hearing the news in a local sandwich shop Mavis Queenbury said, ‘I’m shocked. I come in here everyday to order a cheese and pickle sandwich. I didn’t realise that that made me a white supremacist who wished death on minorities. I will have to rethink my lunch, maybe I’ll have tuna and mayonnaise on ciabatta instead.’

Stilton just as bad

Harris Daze who first made the connection between cheese and racism has warned people not to think that they can just change their Cheddar to Stilton and everything will be OK. ‘The reasons why cheese is racist are too many and varied for me to go into now. You must educate yourself. I can say that Cheddar is the worst example, but anyone who eats any cheese is basically saying they support genocide.’

Firebombing

‘If anyone knows of any restaurant that has ever served cheese then they should be firebombed to teach them a lesson. I hope this will soon be government policy.

Cheese alternative

Luckily Mr Daze knows of a cheese alternative that will be suitable for those looking for a cheese-substitute. ‘I am importing Chxxse from Namibia, which is a cheese-like product made by black farmers from horse-hair and earth. It is Zero Carbon and only seven times the price of Cheddar. It’s been dyed black to be less offensive. I am offering 5% off all new orders so order today and

Continued on p.67

Have you been affected by any of these issues? Will you give up cheese now it is racist? If so, get in touchcheese is racist

Hurrah! Government minister criticises wokeist identity politics and ends unconscious bias training

In the UK Liz Truss is the Minister for Women and Equalities. Forgive her the absurd job title, she has just made a speech that gives grounds for optimism that the government has realised that all the woke divisive nonsense is a bad thing.

It is great to hear a government minister saying this, although she has of course been attacked for speaking out.

Here are a few of the highlights…

Now is the time to root the equality debate in the real concerns people face, like affording a home, getting to work, going out safely at night, ending discrimination in our offices, factories and shop floors, and improving our schools so every child has a good chance in life.

That is a great start to show where policy should be focused. But she has strong words to say about wokeist identity politics.

Study after study has shown that unconscious bias training does not improve equality, and in fact can backfire by reinforcing stereotypes and exacerbating biases.

That’s why this week we announced we will no longer be using it in government or civil service.

And the humdinger of a paragraph…

Too often, the equality debate has been dominated by a small number of unrepresentative voices, and by those who believe people are defined by their protected characteristic, and not by their individual character.

This school of thought says that if you are not from an ‘oppressed group’ then you are not entitled to an opinion, and that this debate is not for you.

I wholeheartedly reject this approach.

She wholeheartedly rejects this approach. What a great phrase to hear from a government minister.

Just when the entire situation felt lost there is a sign that things can be improved. It’s only little, there is still much to be done. But it is a start. Well done, minister.

The only slight problem is the final line…

Together, we will build back a better society and lead the new fight for fairness.

There’s that unpleasant build back better phrase that pops up all over the world at the moment. What does it mean? Why are politicians across the globe using the same form of language? It’s very odd.

Read the entire speech