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Paper Monitor

10:53 UK time, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Isn't it nice when an ex-colleague goes onto bigger and better things? Don't you feel that warm glow of pride when an former co-worker - or best of all, a former boss - achieves success and remuneration well in excess of your own?

Anyone? Anyone?

The Daily Mirror seems oddly deflated by one-time editor Piers Morgan anding the prime interviewing slot once presided over by TV legend Larry King on US channel CNN.

"TV's Piers Morgan's biggest fan, Piers Morgan, gave himself a pat on the back after the launch of his new TV show," miaows the paper's leader.

"Now he faces a challenge to win viewers. Because the only person watching might, in the end, be Piers Morgan."

What could the Mirror possibly have against the man who was ejected from its editor's chair after publishing photographs of British soldiers abusing Iraqis that the paper was subsequently forced to concede were fake?

Its TV critic Jim Shelley launches his review of Mr Morgan's first interview thus: "Piers Morgan claimed 300 million people across the world would watch his debut show on CNN - although 299 million were probably lonely businessmen in hotel rooms who stumbled on it while searching for its porn channels."

Shelley does depart from the party line by conceding that his one-time overlord is "always pretty entertaining, and rarely makes for dull television". But the critic suggests the US may take some time to adjust to Morgan because he "mentioned the cricket".

But on this point, Shelley may be wrong. A feature in the Times reveals how that most English of games is enjoying an incongruous bust of popularity in Compton, the city in Los Angeles county once notorious for its gang culture. The one that NWA were Straight Outta.

In a remarkable story that reminds Paper Monitor of Netherland, Joseph O'Neill's masterly post-9/11 novel about cricket in New York, it turns out that the Compton Cricket Club - "a team of former gangsters" - started out by "hitting runs in a parking lot 13 years ago, using trash cans as wickets".

Now they are embarking on a world tour. Ted Hayes, a social campaigner and homeless activist, was instrumental in getting the side off the ground. He explains its appeal among the west coast's dispossessed:

When I played that first game of cricket I saw the difference between soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, which all have sportsmanship rules, but they don't have an etiquette like cricket. In cricket, you don't argue with the umpire, you don't show dissent, you don't ridicule your opponents, or your team-mates if they make a mistake. Cricket teaches you to play the game in a respectful manner. It teaches you discipline. And I believe that when the players go beyond the boundary, they live a better life with their family, their siblings, the police.

He adds: "If the British never did anything right, they did right when they invented cricket." Maybe Piers Morgan's chances are better than his former employers think.

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