A special LIVE edition of The Nightwatchman Podcast recorded at the central London offices of our sponsors, Rathbones.
Host Jon Hotten is joined by acclaimed writers (and amateur cricketers) Sebastian Faulks and Tom Holland for a discussion about all things cricketing and literary.
Guest: Michael Atherton
Jon talks to Michael Atherton, a man who has held two of the great offices of the game, that of England men’s captain and cricket correspondent of the Times, a unique double, and one that he rounds off as one of Sky’s commentators.
Plenty of former players jump across into media, but it’s hard to think of any since perhaps Richie Benaud that have embraced their second life in the way that Mike has. If he mentions his playing days its with a kind of wry smile, and...
Guest: Mike Brearley
Jon talks to Mike Brearley about whether there is there such a thing as the spirit of cricket? After all, if the spirit of cricket exists in our physical world, it is as a single paragraph that prefaces the current edition of the Laws of the game. And from its inception, cricket seems to have been open to different moral interpretations. Its early years saw a sport full of skulduggery, gambling and general notoriety, frowned upon by the church and the crown for filling...
Guests: Scyld Berry and David Woodhouse
We tend to take the concept of the tour for granted, yet is it not one of cricket’s strangest phenomena? Devised on Victorian timescales of months at sea followed by a lengthy navigation of distant lands, the notion feels increasingly at odds with modern life. So bound up is cricket with travel that the centrally contracted England player will spend no more than a couple of months each year in their own bed, producing a carbon footprint more like...
Guests: With Tanya Aldred and Vithushan Ehantharajah
Twitter began in 2006. By 2007, it was hosting 400,000 tweets per quarter. A year later it was 100m. A year after that, it was fifty million per day, and sometimes, if Tendulkar was batting perhaps, a million or so of those were about cricket.
Twitter, instagram, the over by over news reports and below the line comment offered new avenues for immediacy, but posed the question, how do you report on a game that the audience has been...
Guests: Daniel Norcross and Isabelle Westbury
Long before the game was written about it’s safe to say it was talked about. There’s something about cricket’s ruminative spaces that allows room for language, and the language through which we understand the game grew as it was spoken about on radio and written about in newspapers and books. It’s very hard to divide the two, and they have become even more entwined in the age of social media. The voice was once homogenised, a BBC sort of language...
Guests: Gideon Haigh, Mark Ramprakash and B3 bat-maker Michael Blatherwick
The symbiotic relationship between batter and bat is perhaps not surprising – in a team game, the batter stands alone, and the bat is all they have to hold on to. We’ll investigate how its simple shape, unchanged for a hundred years, has become objectified, turned into epic pieces of wood that are designed, built and marketed to make you feel that you can hit the bowler onto the stadium roof – or in the case of us...
Guests: Marcus Berkman, Sam Perry and Tim Key
In November 1970, Fred Trueman, newly retired from first class cricket, appeared in Dad’s Army. The episode was called The Test, and Trueman was, somewhat predictably, cast as the demon fast bowler EC Egan, recruited by Warden Hodges for a grudge match against Captain Mainwaring’s Home Guard. The joy of the episode is that, as the viewer, you know long before the game begins what kind of cricketers each of the characters will turn out to be....
Guests: Tom Holland, Osman Samiuddin and Jarrod Kimber
Is cricket mysterious? Well its origins are. We sort of know where it comes from – trap ball and stick ball and other games of the middle ages. And people have been hitting things with sticks since time began. Jon and guests dig into the mysterious origins of the game and also discuss other topics such as:
Are numbers the way in which we will finally crack the mysteries of the game?
The great batsman have mystique, but only the...