25 February 2013

Embarking on a new innings

We've been given a serious work over in the 1st Test of the Border-Gavaskar series.

MS Dhoni played an outstanding knock and their spinners have the edge to attack, attack, attack. The performance shouldn't reflect too negatively against us, rather India have played an excellent game of counter-attacking cricket in their home conditions.

Most of our players have not experienced the brutality of Test cricket in India. Now they have and it's just another line in the history books that Test cricket in India is bloody difficult. Just a pity they're on the verge to go up 1-0, but there are still three Tests to go and we saw Michael Clarke score his 23rd Test century, James Pattinson claim a 5fer on a spinners deck and Moises Henriques really impress with the bat on debut.

Day 5 will be about survival between Henriques and Nathan Lyon. Can they do something magical and push that lead into that tricky zone of "low scoring chases are often the most exciting"?

With the tough cricket that lies ahead for The Baggy Greens, I feel the timing is right to share a bit of my journey as the site may slow down for a few weeks. 

On 01 March 2013 I will set foot on Australian soil for the first time in my life.
That moment will serve as something that has been a big breath of life into what The Baggy Green Blog has been about, well for me personally at least. I am heading over to start a new chapter in my life over in Adelaide, South Australia and am eagerly awaiting the journey to begin.

The opportunity to not only go to a different country, but mostly to a country that has inspired me so much through it's great people and values - and given it's provided my family and mates a good life and culture to embrace - makes it exciting to finally have the chance to adapt and embrace it all.
Cricket has played a significant role in that ethos and my life long desire to live in Australia, not massive but definitely significant.  Its only taken me 9 years to get to this point.

Despite the epic cricket that will be going on, given the magnitude of the move and all I will be focused on, my writing may not be as regular as it has been in the past.
This has happened in any case, as you can see from starting the site in 2007/08, when I was a student to the last four years of my life post-studies, the articles became mostly feature article orientated than the day-in, day-out writing I used to do.

I guess I am writing this article as it is a fresh page and I'm acknowledging this site has played a special part in my life. I've never felt the need to share my personal life for that matter, but sport is an emotional thing and you have to have some personal connection to an interest that keeps you tuning in every day or week to connect with other fanatics.

The reason I think I started the site was simply because I could write about Australian Cricket through Blogger with a good interface. I noticed Social Networking was on the rise, which meant I could connect with Australian supporters around the world whilst writing about a game and team that inspired me. I also messed my back up really badly in 2008 which affected my ability to play the game quite severely, so my writing and viewing expanded.

I also started writing during the controversial Border-Gavaskar series of 2007/08 where our team came under heavy criticism. I wanted to defend the side but found myself more connected to the positivity of the game, the challenges and writing in an analytical manner about all on-going matters both on and off the field.

I'm also grateful for the people I have met through the Baggy Green Blog.

I met one of my best mates, Matt McCracken, in a beer line at a Twenty20 game between Australia and England when I was starting up the site. We had a beer, chatted about cricket and Matt, having moved to South Africa from Australia, found a local personality to talk to about his cricket team. He's had quite a big role in the discussions behind the scenes, which I often write about.

I've made many other good mates, many of whom I have yet to meet in person. I have been fortunate though to have shared a beer with some both at and away from the cricket, or enjoyed an afternoon walk-about in London, England, notably with Kirby at Thoughts From The Dustbin.

It's been epic to support this team and I think the day it came together with what Australian Cricket meant to me - which words can't really describe - was when I was at a training session after the boys got rolled for 47 runs against The Proteas. Even after that it was still normal to go and support the boys more than ever.

My fellow die-hard Baggy Green fanatic Dan Stapleton flew out from Sydney to join me for that Test and, courtesy of Stapo and Justin Langer, the two of us got to sit in at the training session and chat to a few of the players. Seeing the boys get out there after a humiliating loss and truly grafting hard in order to condition their mindset for the second and last Test of the series (which we won) was inspiring to watch.

I will always remember one thing, Ricky Ponting...first in the nets, last out of the nets.

From Supporters Graphics to feature articles it's always been good to read any feedback or positive fan mail from supporters like you.

I don't have the greatest sense of humor in writing, I do write A LOT in some articles and get deep into analysis which may result in a "bookmark, read later" attitude from readers, I have not had a story of blogger turned media frenzy writer, nor have I truly recognised why I have continued to run this site with fresh content for 5 years and not earned one cent for it.

What I do know is I love the game of cricket, really enjoy writing (nearing the completion of a Diploma in Sports Writing and Journalism), have a clear pride in the Baggy Greens and have enjoyed seeing a side go from being the greatest team of the 1990s to mid-2000s, to a side in a struggle, attempting their rebuild with consistency. I continue to support the boys and enjoy their challenges.

A lot has happened in that time; retirements, debutants, player career highlights, moments of brilliance and moments of sadness. It shows how much happens in the great game over a relatively short period which has such a long, rich history.

I hate to lose, I don't like it that we don't have the Ashes Urn, or that we don't have the number 1 Test rank, but win or lose I will keep rooting for the boys and back them wherever possible as the challenge is still alive.
It's so easy to criticise, to hate and write off a team when they're not winning, but trust me, when they get it together and the victories come (e.g. 4-0 against India in Australia in 2011/12) it's an unbeatable feeling.

On a note of positives, of course the site will carry on but perhaps the content may differ and the manner in which I present my articles may change being directly within the Australian landscape and environment.

For all I know that culture may take it to a whole different level and this is exciting, but three major factors won't change. That is my passion for writing, enjoyment in meeting fellow cricket fanatics around the globe and most of all the inspiration and pride I get following the Australian Cricket Team, as I have done so since I was a youngster and decided to follow my heart - not been the easiest thing to do, believe you me!

Anyways, that's enough for now.
Enjoy the Border-Gavaskar series, get into the struggles and the moments of glory and keep an eye open for the next article...hopefully only a few weeks away.

Can't wait to get down to the Adelaide Oval next summer and hope to see you there for a drink.

Long live cricket!

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Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey Ian, good luck with the move. I hope by the time you read this you are in Australia.