When he retired in 2008 after a career in which he had risen from tea boy at the Yorkshire Evening Press to cricket correspondent at the Daily Star, Ted Corbett swore he would never lift a finger to a keyboard again.
“All the cricketers I knew refused to play after announcing their retirement – except to the odd benefit match – and I thought that I would follow the same pattern,” Corbett said.
But with England facing India in a showdown series to determine the world’s No1 Test cricket team, Corbett is well and truly out of retirement, having launched himself into the digital age with his own blog.
“Inevitably, I first got a visit from Nirmal Shekar, the sports editor of The Hindu in India, where I had done a lot of work from 1992 onwards while he was covering Wimbledon. He made me an offer I could not refuse, to write a column once a fortnight for their magazine Sportstar. Then I started a blog when the Ashes came round which went down well.
“So I have set up my own website to take advantage of the England-India series.
“Old hacks – no, nothing to do with what has happened at the ‘Screws’ – never die. They simply set up a website, knowing that no sub will get between their glorious prose and publication, and before they know where they are it is pretty nearly full time.”
Corbett, 20 years a member of the SJA, is 76. He says he persuaded someone to teach him the tricks of the website trade. He found Graham Morris, the photographer and an old friend from their days touring together, was willing to help with pictures and that the url Englandcricket.net was on the market at a knockdown price.
Corbett’s partner Jo King, now working for ESPN as they send ball-by-ball coverage of the Tests to India, is providing stats and scoreboards. After only a few days the website was up and running in time for the first Test at Lord’s won by England late on the final day in front of a turn-up-and-pay crowd that filled the ground.
“It was so exciting,” Corbett said, “that we drew a lot of attention and quite a few hits.
“It is also good fun and I recommend it to any old has-been like me who has time on his hands and gets sick of daytime television. Just don’t take yourself too seriously, there might even be a few shillings in it and for a man who has written every day of his life, it is not too strenuous.”
UPCOMING SJA DATES
- Thu Aug 18: Lunch with Sir Clive Woodward, performance director of the BOA, on plans for the 2012 Olympics with just one year until the London Games. For booking details click here.
- Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Click here for more details and to book yourself in for the day.
- Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – Booking now open. For more details, click here.
All details subject to alteration. Keep checking sportsjournalists.co.uk for updates