Last week was rather enriching. A little holiday away from the city gave me the time I needed to plunge into Jim Laker’s ‘Over to me’ (published in 1960) and Alan Davidson’s ‘15 Yards’ (1965). Of course, the books are worth their pages in gold to the cricket obsessive anyway, but what struck me was that both Laker and Davidson speak at length about issues – excessive cricket, administrative boo-boos, illegal bowling actions, home advantage – that are concerns even now. More now, I suppose. Uhh … the IPL season’s upon us, isn’t it?
The one issue that particularly agitated Laker, but also moved Davidson, was the amateurs vs professionals debate. See what I mean? Even in the 1950s and 1960s, players were talking about money, about amateurs being given more than their due and professionals getting a raw deal at times. In Laker’s case, there’s also a fleeting mention of how it might have made more sense for him to switch back to amateur status, as he would stand to earn more that way.
Shades of the club vs country debate there, won’t you say? So often the two of them talk about preserving and protecting the game. Fine, I admit it; the fact that I was reading the books just days before the 2013 edition of the IPL kicks off may have caused me to focus on all of this disproportionately, perhaps.