What would you do if something you loved was dying?
What if the sport that created your heroes and the back-story to your life, was in danger of disappearing?
Test cricket is a game that has no right to exist in the 21st century. The five day game is the purest form of the second most popular sport on earth, representative of tradition, history and identity. Yet as the short attention spans of a new generation dictate immediacy, the Test game is in danger of being swamped by its shorter, sexier, more financially viable cousin ‘Twenty20’.
Money corrupts the best of intentions, and as cricket’s administrators rub their hands with glee, the Gentleman’s game is now a product left at the back of the shelf.
Two cricket fans who became journalists, Old Etonian Sam Collins and larrikin Aussie Jarrod Kimber, from opposite ends of the social and geographic scale but united by their love of Test cricket, join forces to try to help save it.
They embark on a journey across the cricketing empire to find the answer to the question ‘Who really cares about Test cricket?’ They talk to the players, ex-players, broadcasters, journalists, administrators and fans. They venture, often uninvited, into boardrooms, offices, hotel rooms and even the home of cricket itself, Lord’s, looking for answers as to who is responsible, and what are they doing to save their game.
Along the way they befriend journeyman cricketer Eddie Cowan as he prepares to make his Test debut for Australia in front of 70,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Eddie is the guy doing what they always dreamed of. His infectious love for Test cricket helps convince them that Test cricket is still relevant, that it is worth saving.
They travel around Australia with Eddie and experience his ups and downs on tour, watch the Australia vs. India Test series, journey to India to take a closer look at the IPL, bug famous cricket people in the UK and look at open corruption in Sri Lanka as they try to piece together a picture for the future of Test cricket. They run into ogres, well-meaning automatons and the feverishly self- obsessed. Everyone passes the buck. As Eddie’s future teeters in the balance, so too does the future of Test cricket.
As a story of deceit, incompetence and greed unfolds; one man is living his dream, while two others are trying to keep theirs from dying.
Death of a Gentleman is not a nostalgic look back at a sport that professionals played against amateurs while stopping for tea. It’s a modern morality tale about a future where sport and money collide, India as a super-power, the curse of the professional administrator and set in a world where fans are better connected to (but more disconnected from) their heroes than ever before.
More than that, it is a final call; not just to cricket fans and administrators, but everyone in a rapidly changing world. If you care about something that’s in danger, then don’t pass the buck, do something about it.
Before it’s too late.