9 Reasons Cricket Has Lost Its Mind in 09

1. Bangladesh had as many players sold as Australia, and for more combined money, at Friday’s IPL auction.

2. Amongst those unsold was Brad ‘I am not a crook’ Haddin. The current Australian ‘keeper unwanted by any of the franchises. Something tells me the rest of the world doesn’t share Ponting and Clarke’s faith in their gloveman. Australia’s getting pretty sensitive about the situation, as the fate of this banner at Adelaide proves…

haddins-a-cheat

It was removed not, as you’d imagine, due to the glaring absence of an apostrophe, but because it was deemed ‘offensive’ by security guards. No point in speculating about whether a banner reading ‘McCullums a lump of shit’ would’ve met the same fate…

3. Australia have now lost five ODIs in a row, for the first time since we last ruined their summer at the Chappell-Hadlee in 2007. If they drop another tonight at the SCG (a track where our loss-win ratio is a comparitively decent 2:1, and one that takes turn) it’ll tie their record for most consecutive losses. Should they drop the next two we’ll overtake them for third in the ODI rankings, where they sit after starting the year in first. This prospect so terrifies them that…

4. …They’ve recalled Ricky Ponting for this match, because it’s a ‘decider’. So his initial two match ‘rest’ (where he still appeared to be the public captain of the side – it was he who suggested Vettori had ‘apologised’, remember?) has now become one paltry match. Maybe it’s because Steve Waugh, the man Punter desperately wants to emulate, publically questioned the logic of the decision. This kind of public dissent is extremely rare in Australia, where they pride themselves in team unity to an almost ridiculous degree, and the climbdown indicates the selectors are starting to second-guess themselves, and it’s effectively a very public statement of a lack of faith in Clarke and the batting line up. But the public back-and-forth is nothing on what went down in a Sydney dressing room earlier this year…

5. It turns out the Australian cricket team are more like a cross between Amway and Opus Dei. We always suspected as much, but leaked reports of a skirmish between Katich and Clarke have confirmed it. The series of events went something like: At 10.30pm following their too-late-to-be-face-saving third test win, Clarke asked the team to hurry up and sing the team song so they could get to a dinner booking he’d made. Unfortunately Michael Hussey was the custodian (yep) of the team song (Beneath The Southern Cross, apparently) at the time, which meant he had the sole right to decide when it was sung. Simon Katich responded to Clarke’s temerity by telling him to ‘fuck off’ (he spoke for all of us, really), then grabbing him by the throat before the pair were separated by team-mates. All this is true. The best part?

6. John Buchanan, former Australian coach has come out as being ‘disappointed’ in Clarke over the affair.

“I think he has still got a long way to go in terms of maturity and understanding what the word ‘team’ really means.”

You have to respect* a team that loves their team song (fun fact: The Breakers’ team song appears to be Time Of Your Life by, um, Green Day. Sung by Kirk Penney with Rick Rickerts on guitar) that much. And one where the coaches think it’s fine to get to throat-grabbing if the song’s disrespected. Between this and the Symonds incident (he’s pretty much a walking incident, but I’m referring to his boozily insulting McCullum in national radio here), the disintegration on and off field they’re doing a pretty good impression of an organisation in the grip of a full-fledged crisis. It’ll be an interesting year for sure.

7. Finally leaving Australia alone, the West Indies just bowled out England for 51 to win by an innings and 23 runs at Sabina Park. This is the third-lowest England total in history, and was spear-headed by Jerome Taylor, a guy who went through New Zealand taking five wickets at over 40, and looking very much like a distant third pace option for the Windies. Now he’s taken five wickets (for a match tally of eight) to destroy one of the better batting line-ups in world cricket. This game had ‘tedious draw’ written all over it, and the series is officially on.

8. Does this mean the West Indies is now out of its slump? I know one swallow doesn’t a summer make, but they went through New Zealand, a pretty difficult touring destination for everyone but Australia in recent times, and came within a Duckworth-Lewis permutation of winning the ODI series after tying the tests and Twenty20s. At the time we put that down to rank incompetence on the part of the Black Caps, but maybe it was something else. With Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul matching up to Edwards, Taylor, Nash and Benn they’re looking like a nice mix of experience and you. It’d be nice to have them back.

9. If you’ll allow the above-expressed theory that the West Indies are ‘back’ and New Zealand are ‘ok’, and I think most sane non-Australians (and you could argue that the phrase ‘sane Australian’ is an oxymoron, particularly after the whole team song debacle) would allow that Australia has slid a long way backwards, then where does that leave world cricket? South Africa and India fight for the top spot, with Sri Lanka, New Zealand, England, Australia and the West Indies all in reasonable shape underneath. Translation, maybe as healthy as its been in a while. Of course England might well crush the West Indies in the remaining tests, and Australia dismantle NZ, but right now on a fine Sunday morning that doesn’t seem too long a bow to draw. It’s too happy a thought to let die before there’s irrefutable evidence anyway.

– Duncan

* By respect I mean ‘think totally menta’, obviously.

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7 Comments

Filed under Cricket, Kirk Penney's Hair, News

7 responses to “9 Reasons Cricket Has Lost Its Mind in 09

  1. ok then. so oz did bat first like i wanted and we knew they would attack more and it came off this time- no early wickets. wierd how the first 15 overs went- as soon as the powerplay came off they went ballistic. 302. nz don’t seem to have a batting line up which can live with this. ryder at one and oram at six maybe but our lineup seems tailor made for scores under 250. unless mccullum has a boomer but i don’t know if he has it in him right now.

  2. Duncan

    Yeah I was gonna write on this last night but was too knackered/emotionally numb. It was an interesting batting performance from Australia, I thought we did well to hold them to 300 to be honest, and well to get as far as we did. With Taylor out LBW when he’d inside edged and McCullum batting one-armed we were always going to be up against it. But the way we fought should give them pause, and allow us to still feel we have momentum in Adelaide.

  3. Some Questions:
    1.Does Grant Elliot = Chris Harris?
    2.Didn’t it feel good having Mccullum getting a quick 30 at the end of the innings rather than the top?
    3. Even though we lost it was a treat to see the laughing jocular ways of the Aussies disappear quite fast as we ended well.
    4. Should we bat first next time?

  4. Duncan

    Good questions!
    1. God I hope so. That would require his bowling to improve significantly in terms of miserliness, but his batting temperament does seem to be uncannily like the Cantabrian. I like the comparison, hopefully it stands up to the scrutiny it’ll get over the next couple of months.
    2. Yes. It felt right. As fun and exhilerating as it is having him and Ryder at the top of the order, and as much as he might want to open, we have to think about how best to deploy our resources. He might be better as a floater batting anywhere from 4-7 depending on match situation.
    3. That’s not a question. But hell yes, watching them slowly disappear and panic seep into their game was thrilling.
    4. I think we need to start considering the prospect. Because as of now I can hardly recall the last time we set a total, and any team that predictable is gonna get caught out by someone in that regard. But Adelaide’s a good track, so maybe we chase there if given a chance.

  5. mike hussey in form and closing out an innings is the most frustrating thing since…michael bevan.

  6. Duncan

    Don’t even mention that man’s name around me. How many New Zealand hearts can one man break? And that little rat Bichel. Ugh. We just didn’t score enough runs last night. Always gonna be chased down.

  7. Pingback: DeadBall » Blog Archive » The Deadball Interview: Kyle Mills

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