Managing editor Matt Thacker introduces the Spring 2021 issue…
So that’s a year now. Four issues of the Nightwatchman conceived, compiled, and hopefully consumed, while we’ve been stuck indoors, trying to find a way through, a way out, with the world outside our window changed beyond recognition.
It is generally accepted that cricket has had a pretty good pandemic. It’s an odd thought, when there have been well over 100 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and deaths have topped 2.5 million, but the world keeps on turning regardless and people do need diversions, particularly when their horizons have shrunk to the size of a screen or a book.
Extraordinary lengths have been gone to, partly to entertain fans, mostly to ensure the financial survival of the sport, and we have been served up a regular diet of top-class cricket. And the best of it has been the Test matches, with the World Test Championship adding intrigue and context as New Zealand have shown the Big Three that we should really be referring to the Big Four, perfectly appropriate in a day and age when accountancy is king.
We have seen incredible victories for India in Australia and West Indies in Bangladesh, the Kiwi juggernaut rolling on, and England thriving in Sri Lanka then struggling in India. And perhaps most delightfully and significantly, Test cricket returning to Pakistan.
Diverted we certainly have been, and we hope to provide plenty more entertainment in this issue of the Nightwatchman. We’ve got two pieces of fiction, both slightly disturbing in their own ways, a plea from Robert Winder to give the promotion – and therefore the preservation – of Test cricket a shot in the arm, as well as views from South Africa, Australia, the USA, India via Belgium, and a young Afghan playing the game in England.
Then there’s the strange tale of whether Percy Fender’s supposed Jewishness prevented him from captaining England, a handful of stories from recreational and Minor Counties cricket, and Daniel Norcross telling us how the off-season is exactly like the Second World War.
And we’ve even introduced a whole new section! In each issue during 2021 we will be looking back either 50, 100, 150 or 200 years – and first up we have Stephen Chalke on Glamorgan’s entry into the County Championship in 1921, which made it a 17-team competition.
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