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Meet Dennis Freedman: One of Cricket’s funniest Wordsmiths

Don’t we simply love Australia? I think we do. This wonderful country powered with pretty much everything you imagine a giant nation to be possessing including beaches, mountains, deserts also has an inspiring cultural landscape. The identity of being an Australian is no longer restricted to being born and brought up in the kangaroo jumping land of hope and dreams.

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You could be an Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish or an Israeli based in Tasmania or living in the Victorian charms of Melbourne but, the vibe of being represented through a common Australian identity never gets too over the top. Being Australian may have different manifestations for different people. But prime among popular perceptions is this easy going, cajoling and smiling essence of being an Australian for Aussies are way too cool to ever display irrational exuberance about their national identity.

Akin to the cool wind that flows gently over the top of the Blue Mountains of Australia, its popular culture boasts of freewheeling conversations between digressive age-groups and a lot of bonding over beer, surfing, fishing and sports.

One of the friendliest nations, you will find the English mixing with the Kiwis over endless rounds of Australian beers whilst watching a round of national obsession; Rugby. It is way more than just being home to Kangaroos and Ostriches. The home to Koala Bears, one of the cutest and laziest animals you could ever find is also home to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral sea reserve. But, appetizing natural beauty and scenic surroundings aren’t the only charms of one of the largest continents on earth.australian beach

For us in India, Australia will predominantly  be about Cricket. It will be about Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest name that sounds most familiar and literally synonymous with a ‘Batsman’. Australia for Indians will be about Shane Warne’s extra marital affairs and the googlies he ‘delivered’ outside the cricket pitch. In a serious vein, Australia,  a team that has inspired awe for its grand feats especially from the 90s to late 2000s will always bring to our collective nostalgia intense battles between McGrath and Sachin.

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It will remind us of its famous players that conquered great heights during Steve Waugh’s reign. So intense has been Australia’s impact with Cricket, although not its most loved sport but a religion for us Indians that we may never be able to think of the bright yellow standing up for anything else such as those delicious ripe Mango’s. Here in our emotional Delhi, passionate Mumbai and romantic Kolkata, Yellow will instantly bring to life Brett Lee’s Yorkers, McGrath’s bouncers, Matt Hayden’s muscular frame, his anger and big hitting. It will reflect in our cricket hungry minds Mark Waugh’s flicks and Shane Warne’s fat boy going slim spin tweaking. And amidst the maddening rush painting India’s favorite sport and where Australia has commanded dominance for decades – lies a rising tide that is bringing fans closer to the game.

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Cricket writing is the latest trend that is once again stoking the Aussie dominance in a game where it has accounted for many glories. Where else would you find an original, creative, appealing and really witty flair in cricket writing and must we say- we were fortunate to interact with a bright young man behind Australia’s latest resurgence.

What’s Up Life interacted with Dennis Freedman, freelance journalist and popular cricket writer, based in Melbourne and we are glad to say he is making fans see the game in a lighter and more interesting vein.

About Dennis Does Cricket

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One of the nicest, freshest and newest ways to explore the latest happenings in the world of Cricket, popular Australian journalist Dennis Freedman, a smart talking, witty and extremely knowledgeable Aussie has given to fans a bonanza of cricket in the form of his popular website- Dennis Does Cricket. With honest opinions, clever interpretations and funny takes on the latest trends, news, stars, bloopers and all the excitement and fun from the world of International cricket, Mr. Dennis Freedman has presented to fans, lovers, haters and lazy arm chair activists a popular way to enjoy the game they love.

Unique to Dennis’ way of doing Cricket is to present fresh seasoned analysis of the sport backed up by his own takes on the game that are both authentic and funny and wry and pleasant. Dennis Does Cricket goes a long way to break the clutter associated with routine, stuffy cricket content one finds on regular international cricket related media. With engaging articles, podcasts with popular stars and first hand interviews with leading lights of the  game, Dennis laughs and finds his way to the heart of cricketers who share their passionate journeys, best moments and funny memories all about cricket. It is a must visit website, not just for the new sense of packaging it has given to the “batsman’s game” but for the bold, authentic and honest opinions it strikes to a game revered world-over.

Check out http://dennisdoescricket.com/about-me/

Here’s our excerpts from a free-flowing chat with top journalist from Melbourne, Dennis Freedman, founder, expert writer and humorist-in-chief of Dennis Does Cricket.

Q.Tell us a bit about yourself and your background Dennis.Yes

Thank you. I am based in Melbourne and I run a cricket site focused on international trends and news from the cricket world. Dennis Does Cricket is an unbiased and interactive approach to make Cricket interesting and more appealing. There are lot of amazing websites out there and while they are focusing on elaborate content specifically devoted to player and team analysis, with Dennis Does Cricket I am trying to take everyone in, be it a common-man, a new Cricket fan or a cricket romanticist to a free-wheeling ride on the popular sport.

Q. So are you a full time writer?

No, actually I do cricket writing only in my free time. I am a Commercial Manager working with an Australian accounting firm here at Melbourne, Victoria. I’ve been a cricket fan all my life and been witness to many triumphs and falls of many a cricket playing nation. The idea here is to give fans something witty about their favorite sport. I meet cricketers and feature their journey through podcasts and articles which I feel would appeal to fans and experts alike.

Q. Dennis how did you decide to start the website and what in particular inspired you to have a forum of your own on Cricket?

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Everybody is a writer these-days. There’s hardly any dearth of expert opinion as far as the game and its fans are concerned. But, a lot of sites are only focusing on elaborate, lengthy content. I feel fans may be hard-pressed for time on more occasions. I wanted to bring out a funny and not so bland writing style. I did not just want to focuson a particular batsman or bowler or a team, and focus elsewhere such as the administrator’s, the ‘brandwagon’ behind today’s highly commercialized game and even umpires so to speak. Fans today need a fresh, hitherto lesser experienced perspective about the game.

Humor there certainly is with Dennis’s original and uninhibited style of presenting cricket and it is something which uniquely twirls the serious and intense game to make it refreshingly light and purely for the lack of better word, palatable 🙂

For instance, see Dennis’ take on the recent news about Cricket Administration in India http://dennisdoescricket.com/who-wants-to-be-an-indian-cricket-administrator

Q. We could see your website is very technologically adept and there’s tons of podcasts on Dennis Does Cricket.

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Yeah, podcasts are an amazing way to interest fans and appeal to their fancy. There’s more to a podcast that meets the eye. One can get a personal, non intrusive view of a specialist on the game. There’s more value and entertainment which first hand article writing cannot bring to the table. I have been doing tons of podcasts on Dennis Does Cricket in addition to video’s and articles about players and regular cricket series.

Q. Could you talk us through some of them?

Sure. I release all my podcasts under a section titled ” can’t bowl, can’t throw”. As the name suggests it is a non serious and more personal take on the game and its show-makers. So far, I have featured quite a few cricketing personalities such as Kiwi all rounder Jimmy Neesham, Lalit Modi and Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan through my podcasts, to quote a few. We’ve also had series previews such as the 2015 test series played between West Indies and Australia and the Ashes Preview, to share a few.

Q. Which one particular interview did you enjoy the most?

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I think the recent one with Shikhar Dhawan done here at his home in Melbourne was a lot of fun. I began it by saying that I have with me marvelously mustached, tattooed and sublimely skilful Shikhar Dhawan. He is a nice bloke and a very accommodating and chilled out guy. I think, it’s great India have someone so cool and promising as their driving, cutting, pulling star. We chatted for an hour or so and Shikhar is a friendly guy I could note. He even made me a cup of coffee and we sat down to recall his memorable debut where he played against Australia in both tests and one day’s. He also shared some wonderful memories from his first test at Mohali, in India where a not so young, 28 year old played against the likes of Watson, Johnson and Clarke.

Q. Are there any other platforms where you write apart from your own site Dennis?

There are quite a few. Apart from Dennis Does Cricket which features all my articles and posts for free (we laugh heartily on this one), there’s Fox Cricket in Australia, Raghav Bahl’s ‘The Quint’, which is a new digital platform for multifarious expression.  I obviously cover sports section here. Then there’s also The Roar, back home at Australia where I have been featured regularly for my cricket reviews, player analysis and other stuff. So well yeah, there have been quite a few engaging platforms that have helped me hone the writer in me and I would love to make the most of these experiences for Dennis Does Cricket. I want it to be the no.1 Cricket website in the days to come. But, a lot of effort has to obviously go into it.

Q.  Wow. That is some experience Dennis. It’s quite nice to know that you have been associated with an Indian media platform as well. Have you ever been to India or have had any sort of connection with the cricket hungry population here?

indian motorbikeI was here in India from 2005-2006. I lived in Calcutta and in other metros. I was in Delhi and even lived and worked at Mumbai where I discovered the city was more than being Sachin’s hometown. I was working for a telecommunications major. Basically, we were in a team that has tasked with the launch of Microsoft Windows phone which was at that time competing with Blackberry. I loved my time here in India. I made sure I traveled all over the country from Calcutta to Mumbai. From Mumbai to Sikkim and Ladakh and places like Goa. In fact I traveled so much that I even visited the Indo-Burmese border and loved it.

Q. That’s quite lovely to know. What impressed you the most about India?

It has to be the culture. Obviously, everyone loves the food but I found the traditional family structure being still intact and unmoved in an era where people mostly live in smaller family structures to be heartening. People are lovely and helpful. Besides, I noticed they are happy go lucky and stay in close-knit family systems which is heartening to note. I also noted quite a few juxtapositions and competing views on things such as despite the strong family system the overall business culture is rude. And, I am being honest. I think people are a bit too obsessed with money and one feels being a little mellow isn’t after all a bad idea, is it?Cricket-Phil-Hughes-PM3

Q. Dennis, we reckon we have spoken of everything but not of your personal favorite cricketers? Could you talk us through that.

This may sound a bit cluttered. My favorite cricketer is Phil Hughes. And, it isn’t because of the recent tragedy we all have been bitterly sad about but the fact that here was a genuinely gifted and talented cricketer whose life was tragically short. There’s something stylish about left handed batsmen in world cricket.

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Other than that, my current favorite Aussie cricketer is Nathan Lyon. The reason isn’t his uncanny ability to pick up wickets when they matter the most. While, he doesn’t look too threatening, he is a clever thinking cricketer.

I simply respect the fact that he comes from a humble background, having worked as a ‘groundsman’ here in Australia and the fact that here was a cricketer who never looked the part of featuring in an all encompassing and explosive Australian playing eleven has in fact not just made his way through the ranks, but is in fact a wonderful exponent of spin bowling. I appreciate the fact that our cricketers really leave no stone unturned in finding themselves where they belong best, i.e., playing world class cricket.

Q. That is so impressive to know. Can you name your favorite from the popular Sachin versus Lara debate?

Well, this is a tough one. There are many great facets to Sachin’s game such as his tons and overall run aggregate.

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But, in my view Brian Lara has entertained a lot of Australians with some outstandingly well compiled knocks that were typical of his style- including that beautiful backlift, that huge shuffle in the crease and caressing the bowl with the blazing willow to find the covers. In my view, Sachin the more accomplished batsman while Lara is the  true entertainer. I hope you don’t feel I’ve given a politically correct answer.

Q. What do you feel about the recent retirement of Shane Watson and how far you think can he extend his international career?

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Well, look Shane Watson has been the one truly talented and committed Aussie all rounder but his own inconsistencies coupled with personal injuries have sadly cut short his test career as we’ve seen. But, in the one day arena he has been the true glue around which the whole team sticks and performs well. There’s always that extra expectation when you are a player as gifted as a Clarke or Watson.

Q. Ok, very quickly, what do you think of the present view of administration of cricket, especially in the West Indies?

australia-cricketers-funnyI think there’s no denying the fact that West Indies are one hell of a talented side, but sadly their talent gels well only on paper. As a unit, there are still struggling hard to find that all important rhythm which keeps one going across all formats. The way their side was in the pas to their current depletion, in terms of poor administration and overall shortcomings that are representative of individual lacking in all departments of the game doesn’t make for a pleasing sight. One would rather have money being invested in players from Afghanistan instead of say banking too heavily on regions like the Caribbean or say, Pakistan. It’s interesting to find, Cricket being played on the roads and at homes and backyards- in Afghanistan. Bangladesh have truly lifted their game and their current form and competence is a sign of bright things to come. What Cricket needs today quite like T20 style cricket is an aggressive and competitive template across all its formats.

Thank you so very much Dennis Freedman. It’s truly been a pleasure in interacting with you and picking your brains on a sport you yourself so enjoy and contribute richly to. For our readers, do not forget to log onto : http://dennisdoescricket.com/

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Dev Tyagi

Dravid, Black, Lara, Rajasthan, Raikkonen, Finland, Tea, Deserts, Morrison, Espionage, World Peace and disruptive ideas.

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