Friday, December 22, 2006

Random Thoughts from Down Under

ALBURY, NSW

Bigmouth Strikes Again - What the hell does Saj think he's doing coming out with this sort of garbage HALF WAY through an Ashes Tour? Especially the pathetic section about not having spoken to Flintoff about being underbowled, and then quickly adding that 'Freddie and I definately get on'. Well, you might think that Saj, but don't expect a Christams Card from Mr & Mrs Flintoff this year.

New Kid on the Block - With Saj self-destructing, and Duncan Fletcher reporting that Jimmy Anderson was effectively fouling himself at the start of the Brisbane Test, does anyone else think that it's time for the Stuart Broad era to start - and quickly.

The Lunatics have Taken over the Asylum- Can we please be told the name of the lame-brained pillock(s) at the ECB who though the following were good ideas: -

1) Offering Troy Cooley a one-year contract when he, quite reasonably, wanted a two year deal.

2) Thought that a meaningless one-day game and a couple of two-day matches would be suitable warm up for a team just arriving from the sub-continent. That deal effectively cost us the First Test.

My guess for 1) was that it was some petty little bean counter, clueless about cricket, looking to please his boss by saving a few thousand on the balance sheet.

As for 2) it's time the ECB started to realise that size of the travelling support means that England tours are a huge windfall for the local cricketing authorities. (The last West Indies tour apparently was the only thing that stopped the Carribean authorities from going bankrupt. If you're in that sort of strong position, you should be able to dictate terms rather than 'assume the position' when tour intineries are being discussed.

Actually, our authorities have a history of this sort of thing. Do you realise that, on the 1970/71 tour, the England management (under the guise of the 'blood and pus brigade' - aka 'The MCC') agreed to the addition of an extra test match at the end of the six match series because one had been rained out earlier? At the time, we were one-nil up in the series, so could conceivably have lost the Ashes because some chinless nonentity though he'd score some diplomatic points.

Aussie Rules - One thing that has struck me since arriving in Australia ten days ago, is just how committed the entire nation is to the success of their cricket team. In England, cricket is still, effectively, a minority sport. Even after the Ashes success there was still a huge swathe of the population who, whilst they were aware that a famous victory had been achieved, really didn't give much of a toss and were only too willing to turn their backs once the new football season started.

In Australian, it's a vastly different story, EVERYONE cares passionately about the Test Team - and everyone had an opinion about the ongoing series that they were only too willing to share with a visiting Pom. The guy at the drive-in off licence (what a wonderful concept!!) who told me why KP should be batting at 4 - the woman in the queue at the bank with some very trenchant views about Brett Lee's bowling action, and the two people in the newsagents who were distraught at the news of Shane Warne's retirement and were happy to concede that Monty could well be the 'next big thing' in international cricket.

The Australia team were well-prepared, totally committed to regaining the Ashes and hugely motivated- but that really only reflects the state of the entire nation.

Farewell and Thanks - Finally, cricketing genius's don't come around that often, and those that can parlay that genius so that it transcends sport are indeed a rare breed - so I can safely say that I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to watch Shane Warne, live and on TV, over the past fourteen years. He's tortured England so often that we've lost count, but once you get over the pain of defeat you really just have to admire such a gifted performer.

From his first appearance (Who the heck is the fat blonde guy who reckons he's going to bowl leg-breaks for heavens sake) through to his single handed efforts in 2005, to the final swansong this past month.

The greatest bowler ever, and probably the most important cricketer in history for his impact on the game. I doubt we'll see his like again. There'll be a lot of us who suddenly get dust in our eyes at the MCG next week as he takes his final bow in front of his home crowd.

1 comment:

P.G. Henn said...

I think that the whole concept of "Cricket as a minority sport" isn't helped by the (false) distinction between the so-called Major and Minor Counties. Until people throughout the country can feel that their support of their "local" side is justified, then the problem will remain.