Rana Malook chucks a few questions at Australian Cricket writer/author/film maker Jarrod Kimber.
In the cricketing matrix world Jarrod Kimber is much like Morpheus. His twitter profile description which deceptively reads “Professional bull sh***er” represents the blue pill.
A lot of people may well accept this option of blissful ignorance on face value and reject it because in his own words “this is an unedited ice-cream of consciousness cricket blog, if you want a slick cricket production with millions of dollars that is family friendly and error free, invent one.”
However for those who choose the red pill. Brace yourselves as you’re about to leave the comfort zones of conventional cricket rhetoric and discover the harsh but ultimately soothing nature of true cricketing solace. Because buried in his body of work is an obsessive love for cricket and a decisive insight served raw. Insight which upon close inspection is in fact anything but “bull sh*t” !
His cricket blog “Cricket with Balls” has thus gained a cult following. He’s authored three books. He’s most likely on his way to making the best cricket documentary since Fire in Babylon. But only recently has he had the displeasure of being my Zuckerberg sponsored friend. So when he agreed to answer some, but not all of my questions, I was surprised but ultimately pleased.
First of all just a quick summary of your cricket journey so far to add some meat to all those that will be googling you after this interview. My first cricketing memory was playing cricket in the park with my dad. What was yours?
I was taken to a cricket club before I was a week old, as my birth was accidentally in the middle of a cricket season. But I don't remember that. What I do remember was a member of my dad's club cutting down a broken adult bat so I could use it. It was still way to big, but I loved it, I never slept with it though, I did with the next two bats I owned.
What made you move to London and how did the Cricket with Balls blog come about?
Cwb started at an Aussie rules match where my team was being sh*t on and my friend was asking for advice on his NBA blog. After giving him an entire list of what he could do to make the blog bigger, he looked at me and said, " why don't you write a cricket blog", and I had no real answer to that, so I started cwb. After a few months of writing, I thought I'd try get some money for it, and no one in Australia gave a sh*t. In the UK some people did. So I packed in my fairly unsuccessful film production company, and moved to London to see how I'd go. I went alright.
First time I listened to Test Match sofa I thought it was brilliant! How did you get involved?
I never listened to it until I was on it. I tried to listen during the 09 ashes and they had a pay wall, and that was that. Then I as contacted by their producer, Tom Clarke, on Christmas Day via twitter, as they needed someone for the Boxing Day Test from South Africa as Dan Norcross was on holidays. So I came in and gave a speech on the word c*nt at the tea break. Seemed like a perfect fit for me. I'd love to do more now, but it's now no longer down the road from me and I'm usually too busy.
I know that film making is another passion of yours. I thought Fire in Babylon was brilliant did it inspire you to start the project you're working on now? ( Death of a Gentleman: a documentary about the current state of Test cricket) Or were you already in the process of making your documentary when you saw it?
Sam and I both liked Fire in Babylon, but it, From the Ashes and Out of the Ashes weren't really the inspiration. I suppose the main inspiration was boredom at doing the two chucks. We'd been doing it for a year, and a friend of ours called Jon Norman suggested that the three of us should work on a project. That became a film on Australia India. That became a film about Test Cricket's future. And then eventually Death of a Gentleman.
I spoke with George Dobell about his trip to India which was very interesting. Any cricketing trips planned for 2013 once you've completed this documentary and what is your favourite cricket destination?
In 2013 I'll mostly be in the UK, and then head back home for the Ashes. I really like Sri Lanka. I grew up with Sri Lankans, and then married one, so I love the people. And I love the sea food and cheap Arrack. It's a small tour in a beautiful country. It's hard to not like it.
My next door neighbour incidentally is Sri Lankan and a delightful source of cricket banter. I can't seem to pinpoint why he hates Angelo Mathews so much, but that's a different story. After the Oz series, with resignation he conceded "we are sh*t!!!" The Sri Lankans were awful weren’t they?
I watched most of that series, and the reason they are sh*t is the same reason they have always struggled in long term cricket, they don't produce Test match bowlers. Murali, Vaas and then nothing. Lots of talk about how Malinga should play Test cricket, but he averaged 33. Fernando was ok at times, but you can't win Tests with one bowler who is Test standard, and that is what Sri Lanka are trying to do. Herath has struggled to take wickets in England and Australia, and Sri Lanka are bound to be sh*t when that happens. Their batting has young players who look pretty good, but they\ll take time to get there. And they'll need bowlers who can take wickets, which they may not be able to get.
England played 15 test matches in 2012, Australia are due to play 14 in 2013 I think. What's your take on the volume of cricket being played? Is the fixture list an economic necessity in the modern game?
It's hard to complain about too much of something you love. England, India and Australia are going to try play each other as much as possible, because that's what TV audiences want. That's what I want as well.
There are some great contest lined up for 2013. Watching Pakistan is never without drama and their trip to South Africa will be interesting viewing. The Ashes overdose will most likely thrill in the first few episodes but lag later on, but the series I'm most excited about is Australia in India. It's India's revenge attempt part 2 that I cannot wait for. Which series are you revving up the innuendos for?
It's hard to overlook 10 Ashes Tests. Not even just because they are the Ashes, but because there is f**kin ten of them!! It's something that may only ever happen once, so I can't really wait to see how long before I get sick of them.
My knowledge of Australian domestic cricket is left wanting at the best of times, any new names that we should be looking out for on the Test scene for Australia?
Most of the bowlers you've already seen. Probably only Ben Cutting hasn't played yet of anyone with real talent in the quicks. James Faulkner is pretty handy for a bowler who can bat a bit. Jon Holland is a good spinner who backs himself. And Zampa has some skill and confidence for a young leggie. Everyone loves a leggie. Batsmen are harder to find, Handscomb, Burns, Lynn and Maddinson all look talented, but they don't make many runs.
Starc is one of the a bowlers I've seen who looks good and I can't wait to see Pattinson bowl in India. Along with Cummins, Bird and co, Australia are lining up some decent quicks aren't they? Which one takes your fancy in terms of temperament? Who'll last the distance?
Starc needs to learn how to bowl. Lots of hype around his good balls, but unless he can stop the spells where he bowls ass for an hour, he's not going to make it at Test level. Bird's full balls are a bit floaty, but he's really smart, his bowling to Dilshan was awesome to watch and he gets bounce. I believe he could be around in five years time. Cummins is fast, and can move it, but he might be three years away from being a permanent bowler due to injuries. Pattinson is ferocious and hungry, can be violent and psychopathic with the ball, leads naturally from the front, understands bowling, can move the ball off the pitch and in the air, I mean, he's pretty f**ken awesome. Only injury or losing pace can stop him from being the best of this lot I think.
I have England edging both series, especially since Mr.Cricket is no more. There's no denying that the Australians had a fantastic 2012 having lost only one Test (England lost 7!) but loss of Punter and Hussey may well be too huge. If Australians are to defeat England who's capable of making telling contributions with the bat?
No idea. Not sure Warner can bat in England. Am even more sure that Hughes probably can't. Cowan may not make it that far. Clarke has to replicate his form away from home, which he should be able, but who knows. Watson may be dead by then, or at least a full time IPLer. Who knows about Wade? So to answer your question, f*** knows. But unless England get some injuries, it's hard to see Australia winning in England, that said, trying to predict series results this far out is entirely bullsh*t. And anyone who does it is either forced to do it, or full of so much bullsh*t that it steams out of every orifice.
Finally it maybe overdue a little but I'm gonna come to memorable moments from 2012 in test cricket.
I'm not really good at this sh*t, I'll happily answer other real Qs, but I'd be sh*t at this.
Like a Samurai sword wielding ninja Jarrod sliced the hell out of my last question and disappeared into the night, never to be seen again. (until his tweet a few minutes later).
Luckily in real life Jarrod can in fact be seen and heard tweeting as often as his film making exploits allow. So follow him on twitter if you dare @ajarrodkimber
image: © johnniemojo