July 2009
« Jun   Aug »

Jrod: David Frith and me

July 20th, 2009 by Jrod in England, Miscellaneous

This weekend the TWC commandos managed to break me into the press box at Lord’s.  It was my first ever time in an international cricket press box, and after I had stolen a Lord’s press box mug, I went star spotting. Next to me was the simple elegance of TWC’s own Gideon Haigh. On the other side was the brutish charm of Andrew Miller. And behind me was some guy called Richie.

It can be easy to start star watching, forget about the cricket and go up to your heroes and ask them stuff, so I did. I talked to David Frith, a man who knows The Wisden Cricketer’s origins better than most. I wanted to know how he got into cricket writing.

Interviewing him was great, but I couldn’t help but compare his rise to my own more unconventional route into the press box.

Mr Frith: “It was my dear friend John Arlott who set up my entry into cricket journalism. I had freelanced for years but I was getting nowhere. One evening John rang and asked if I would like to become the editor of The Cricketer? I said “Of course, but it’s not going to happen”. Then Jim Swanton interviewed me at The Oval, during the Test when Australia leveled the series in ‘72, and he was satisfied that I had a deep love for the game and a reasonable knowledge of it, so I was taken on as deputy editor. A few months later I became editor.”

Jrod: “After trying to become a film maker and making films about terrible punk bands, post-apocalyptic no-budget action epics, and some infomercials for the Catholic church I set up my own cricket blog. Amazingly people liked it. And more amazingly people told me I could become a cricket writer.  So I packed all three of my possessions in a bag and headed for England, where I convinced people to give me small sums of money and agreed not to swear or make filthy jokes.”

Starting our own Media

Mr Frith: “In 1979 I managed at last to pull of the establishment of a new cricket magazine ­– Wisden Cricket Monthly, with a wonderful editorial board of John Arlott, Ted Dexter, Jim Laker, a young David Gower, and Bob Willis, who was soon to become England captain. I had a full hand there. I modeled the magazine in my own image; I produced the magazine I would want to read. It had a good balance of current cricket, colour pictures too, which revolutionised the magazine industry. I included a lot of the game’s history, took obituaries seriously, and book reviews and all the rest of it.”

Jrod: “My website was made in my own image: grubby, piss taking, anti-authoritarian and honest. I had friends involved, but after about a week I realised I was all alone. There was no real plan – it was not meant to make me a cricket writer, or rich, it was just a way for me to talk about cricket in a way that I felt others had not.  Now I get paid for it, and my website collapses because of too many hits.”


Mr Frith: “I edited the cricketer for six years nearly, in that time I wrote a few books. I had a lot of pent up energy, as at last I was in the game full time. I wrote Fast Men and the Stoddart Biography. I had to because my pay was pretty meagre.” David Frith has written many cricket books.

Jrod: “I started a fifth book (all previous unpublished) – a collection of my writings from my website. I assumed it would be easy, a simple cut and paste job. It wasn’t. English publishers said it was too Australian and the Australians said it was too international. I gave up and self published.”

For all the changes in the cricket press in the last 50 or so years, one thing remains the same. See the cricket, write your copy, love your job.

Jrod is an Australian blogger, and now author. His book The Year Of The Balls 2008: A Disrespective is available now

Posted in England, Miscellaneous | 4 Comments »

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2010 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved