Matt Thacker introduces the Autumn 2020 edition of the Nightwatchman…
This is the 31st issue of the Nightwatchman, and the second to be brought to you in the Time of Covid. In terms of putting together this quarterly, in truth not much has changed. We are receiving as many submissions as ever, although many of them are preoccupied with the here and now
rather than the there and then, as was the case prior to the pandemic.
And since we last released an issue, cricket itself has returned! On village greens, bio-secure Test match grounds, and everywhere in between. And it’s been a real saviour. For those stuck at home who have watched the box-sets, done the Joe Wicks, and worked their way through the cookery books, the return of cricket to our screens has been a godsend. The gestures on the part of the West Indies and Pakistan players, driven by their forward-thinking, no-nonsense CEOs Johnny Grave and Wasim Khan, were magnificent. Let’s hope what they have done does not go unrewarded.
Both Test series were utterly compelling, the absence of fans in the stadiums not diminishing the spectacle in the way it has seemed to in football. Furthermore, I am writing this just after the BBC aired its first live cricket this century, a humdinger of a Twenty20 up at Old Trafford. It felt somehow cathartic to watch cricket on the Beeb once more, as if it were an acknowledgement that to grow the game’s support base, radical action is needed.
And playing cricket has been joyful too. A fumbling and faltering start maybe, but now, arriving already changed, bringing your own tea, and sanitising every few overs all seems perfectly normal, a small price to pay for being able once more to be part of a club, a community, a family.
Anyway, enough of all that. We’ve got plenty to entertain you in this issue – with my personal favourites being David Owen’s evocative piece on cricket in Chicago in the 1980s, Santokie Nagulendran’s exploration of Indo-Caribbean identity and, tangentially linked, Liam Herringshaw’s essay on how a limbless amphibian was named for Shivnarine Chanderpaul – a story I like to think that is singularly suited to the pages of the Nightwatchman. And there is plenty more good stuff besides, of course.
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, September 2020