Managing Editor Matt Thacker introduces issue 36 of the Nightwatchman…
It’s Friday 19 November, Black Friday is not until next week, and yet every day seems a black one for the game we love at the moment. The testimony of Azeem Rafiq in front of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee earlier this week was harrowing, confronting and necessary. The repercussions have been seismic. Every day new revelations appear, stories we recoil from and yet many of us recognise.
Very few of us can say hand on heart that we have not played a part in constructing or perpetuating society’s racist culture, however much we may protest that we are not really part of the problem. At university I captained our cricket team for a year and some way through the season I learnt that there was an alternative, all-Asian team. I shrugged my shoulders, wondering vaguely why they didn’t, or didn’t want to, play with us. When the answer should have been pretty obvious to me: because there was an us. And a them. A situation I did nothing to try and improve.
We must all do better, accept our responsibilities, seize this moment, take the horror stories and make sure that something good comes from them, something lasting, something meaningful. As Adam Rutherford quotes in his enlightening book How To Argue With A Racist: “When you have only ever experienced privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
We all know that this is not just a problem within cricket. But it would be great if the cleansing of the sport’s Augean stables leads to a better society all round. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
Anyway, another Nightwatchman has come around, with the usual mix of the weird and the wonderful. A Derbyshire captain who, having had his nefarious activities rumbled by the Demon Spofforth, escaped to Madrid and set up a shop that might well have become the largest department store group in Europe; WG answering the “Is there a doctor in the house?” call; an English professional cricketer murdered in cold blood in South Africa; cricketing Tube posters of the 1930s; and Ted Dexter’s admittedly short-lived novel-writing career. It’s all in here, honestly, and plenty more besides. We hope you enjoy it.
As ever, if you would like to write for us or just let us know what you think about the Nightwatchman, good or bad, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We read every submission (but promise nothing) that fulfils our criteria: that articles should touch on cricket (however tangentially) and are original, well written and thought-provoking.
Matt Thacker, December 2021