THE FOUNDER: TIM CUTLER

cricktalk20-ec

His love for Cricket started from an early age and his passion has remained unchanged ever since.

My guest today is the founder of Emerging Cricket the world’s most authoritative website on associate cricket.

On cricktalk20 today I have the honour of chatting with THE FOUNDER Tim Cutler.

Hi, Tim Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a grown-up version of that 10-year-old kid who takes his cricket bat to bed with him.

How did you first get involved in Cricket?
I am told I latched onto the game at around 7 years old and never looked back, I started, playing at 9 did my umpire qualification at 15, and began my foray into administration in my mid-twenties at my grade club in Sydney Easts.

After I moved to Hong Kong in 2013 through work – marine insurance – all the pieces came together to move into cricket fulltime when I was hired as Cricket Hong Kong’s first CEO, in 2015.

Did you have a cricketing idol while growing up?
It sounds funny saying it now that I know him but Dean Jones was absolutely my childhood hero and it’s hard to compete with a young kid’s obsession, even in later life as the game has changed and there are some amazing modern performers, it’s virtually impossible to beat
the emotion attached to a kid’s first sporting hero!

What motivated you to start Emerging Cricket?
I really only became interested in the Associate game when I had moved to Hong Kong I’d noticed teams such as Ireland, Netherlands and UAE in global events prior, but they got little-to-no coverage beyond these appearances – in the mainstream at least.
When I started learning about the game in Hong Kong and the players involved, I saw these stories were just as (if not more) compelling as those played out in Full member countries which got the limelight, and it was frustrating that amazing things like Hong Kong’s upset over Bangladesh
in the 2014 World T20 – a bigger upset than Japan beating South Africa in the rugby or Iceland beating England in football(combined!), barely got a mention.
While there are some great ‘Associate’ writers out there like Tim Wigmore, Peter Della Penna, Bertus de Jong, Andrew Nixon and so on, their mainstream agencies did not give consistent credence to the game beyond the Full member world, nor were there any platforms that covered the entire cricketing world.
So, when I departed Cricket Hong Kong in 2017 – and in between some other contract gigs – I decided to stop complaining about the lack of coverage and do something about it.
After ‘meeting’ them both separately on Twitter – unbeknown to me they actually knew each other after growing up in the same area – I pulled Daniel Beswick and Nick Skinner into a Whatsapp group in late 2018 and shared my idea to change the way the game was covered, and it went from there.


Tim during his tenure as CEO of Cricket Hong Kong

Tell us a little more about Emerging Cricket?

The argument for a ten team men’s World Cup is two pronged;

1) nine guaranteed games for India means more interest from Indian TV and therefore more dollars flowing in the ICC
coffers to ostensibly fund the game’s growth

2) having the best ten teams means more competitive matches and a better spectacle.
Emerging Cricket was founded on the premise that by expanding the coverage of the game, and the increased global audience will help drive a broader interest in the game.
Better exposure will help develop local heroes all over the cricketing world and also make it easier for government and other local companies see the value in investing in the growth of the sport.
As an aside here – another key to Olympic inclusion is an absolute must – the funding and support this will unlock in so many non-traditional cricketing nations would be revolutionary for the sport.
In essence, I want EC to be a catalyst to cricket’s development in every corner of the globe and not driven by ‘chasing clicks’ as so many media entities have had to pivot to, to maintain revenues in a crowded marketplace.
I don’t see us as only a podcast, website or a media outlet – I want us to be much more than that; a hyper-connector between like-minded individuals and organisations around the world, potentially commercialising certain aspects around services to cricket boards, bodies and events, while also partnering with similarly passionate people to help galvanise a
disparate emerging cricket world.
All in an effort to help the game and its major stakeholders realise what potential there is out there; to run truly global events befitting of the scale of the game’s imprint across the globe i.e., not 10/105 member federations!
(And to the original premises on which a ten-team event are based on – two of my favourite pieces on EC are Nick Skinner’s statistical takedown of the competitive matches fallacy and
Russel Degnan’s (another great writer who has been beating the Associate drum for a long time) critical analysis of the 2019 event’s single round-robin format.)

Tim with Partner Melissa in New Zealand before COVID

Emerging Cricket is now one of the leading Cricket websites in the world, did you expect that EC would be one of the top websites when you first began?
I have to say, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck at your question, that’s amazing to hear EC talked about like that, thank you! Although, I still think we have a long way to go until we have the majority of people thinking the same!

How many staff members do you have onboard?
There are almost 10 of us who are producing consistent content and day-to-day operational oversight, another 15 or so in the background who contribute less regularly and/or bring other skills such as data vis. or stats, and after a recent call out for digital gurus we are currently moving all the pieces around as to how we best utilise the services of these half a
dozen or so great people who emerged from that process. So, as of the end of June, we’ll have around 40 in the EC family including those who provide
other support and advice in the background.
It’s amazing to have such a dedicated team of volunteers who all share the same passion for the growth of the game.

Emerging Cricket has a very broad presence in the on the net, how do you manage to get so much content for all this?
“If you build it, they will come”.
Ok, the actual quote from Field of Dreams was “he” not “they”, but – as I had hoped; if there was a platform created to help tell the stories about the people and the game beyond the mainstream, there would be those who would want to contribute. From pretty much the same day we put the call out for volunteers in 2018 we received approaches from people around the world who wanted to be part of EC and we haven’t looked back.


Bowling at the HONG KONG CRICKET CLUB

What are the challenges you face running Emerging Cricket?
Working with a team where we are all volunteers, ensuring we are agile enough to be consistent in our content while maintaining flexibility in the background for everyone’s evolving priorities is something we are getting a lot better at.
We have got to where we are rather organically, just following the passion and the stories, however, the time is now right for us to start asking some existential questions about who we are and what we want to be,and to set some targets, and how to get there.

Emerging Cricket has some of the top associate players as Ambassadors, what are their roles as EC ambassadors?
Presently, all seven – including four international captains – volunteer their insight and make themselves available for our interviews and other EC initiatives, including live shows and our podcasts etc., also helping promote EC across social media etc. And we try to help get their names out there more, too.
However, this is something we are currently working on, with some great ideas to really ramp up the Ambassador program in what it delivers for both EC & our Ambassadors, so, as they say; watch this space!

Where do you see Emerging Cricket in the next five years?

Building on the base we have established I would love for EC to be able to get into a position where it becomes financially sustainable in its own right, providing employment opportunities to its team and to contributors around the world – we are just about to start our first real strategic planning exercise….so, ask me again in a few months!

You are heavily involved with Associate Cricket What team do you reckon, should be looked out for the future?
When Nepal get their administration and underlying structure right they will be a force to be reckoned with and beyond a galvanised USA cricket community which could also produce world-class teams, I am also keeping an eye on PNG, Indonesia, Nigeria, Japan & Germany.

Tim with fast bowler Angus Robson

How do you define success?
Success to me is knowing that I have done the best I could – in ‘controlling the controllable’, but also being able to adapt when life throws a curveball.
I think people can sometimes get too tied up in making rigid life plans, and then losing the will to try anything again if things don’t work out 100% as planned.
Nobody ever learnt too much from winning, so don’t brush away losing, embrace it; learn how you can be better.
Be true to your self – following your passions – and ignore those who seem hell-bent on telling you why something can’t be done. Or even better, use their comments as fuel.
And, what I’ve learnt, is that life is too short to act like someone you’re not, just to be ‘liked’; just be yourself, be happy being you, and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself surrounded by people with similar interests and values.
I would like to think that what Emerging Cricket is – and what it can be – are the best bits of me, and everyone involved.

How will Emerging Cricket’s success be defined?

Let’s talk about it during the 2040 Olympic Cricket Gold Medal match between Brazil & Nigeria!

Tim and Max Abbot during the women’s world cup

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