Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Rebirth Though I Be Belated

To those whom are regular readers I must deeply apologise for the great gulf of time since last I wrote. Cricket is an incredibly time consuming pastime. Finding a moment to write on the subject can prove difficult when suffering even the smallest intrusion of those bothersome events that tend to make up the rest of one's life. This is not to say that I have neglected the sport, rather I avidly followed the excellent northern summer as well as the more lacklustre Champion's Trophy. I have been profoundly depressed by those matters which have stalked the headlines though and so have kept to myself, shirking from discussion on the sport. I had little desire then to write during this time and rather have brooded and kept my dark ruminations to self. This will be the only mention of that affair I will make today as all is still allegation at present and these are disturbing circumstances which it is not of any advantage to dwell upon.

Cricket suffuses the breeze in Australia along with the Spring's warm whispers of encouragement. The football codes have concluded, enthusiastic club players fill the parks and ovals drilling through the balmy evenings, pitches are marked off with rope and covers. Here the domestic season is upon us. There is much to discuss so let us do so categorically.


The cricket played by Pakistan in their English dual series was utterly enthralling. They upstaged Australia, not convincingly mind, but still pulled at the loose threads of the nation's fabric and left several smears of doubt. These are onerous blows for a team approaching their very raison d'ĂȘtre. If the Australian games were interesting the English matches were stellar. This was a magnificent contest, a celebration of seam bowling with runs the reward of determination and assiduity rather than a given. Though overshadowed, the subsequent limited overs tournament was every bit as good. Afridi led his lacerated team superbly and the English throughout both series were pure class.



Comparatively the Champion's League Trophy was a sadly unexceptional tournament. I love the principle of the competition, the length of the series is perfect, South Africa proved an excellent venue but the fact of the matter is that when you have such a glut of twenty over cricket, (three major annual international tournaments and burgeoning domestic leagues,) there will be some fairly quotidian sport. There were some very good games of cricket played and a few excellent individual performances. By and large though the series was a bit dull. The major factor behind this was, as opposed to the inaugural tournament which displayed a uniformly high standard of play with revelatory exhibitions from the untipped minnow teams, the 2010 competition suffered from unwieldy inequality. The Indian teams dominated and though the Australian and South African teams were competitive, Guyana, New Zealand's Central Districts, and Sri Lanka's Wayamba were all very disappointing. Also it was sad that the effort was not made again to involve the English county teams.

While the cricket was humdrum I drew satisfaction from a separat
e source. That was Channel One's informed decision to let Ryan Campbell chair the tournament's presentation with Greg Matthews as sidekick, losing that peroxided chump from Thursday Night Sports Live. He belongs in motorsport not among the Elysian ranks. (Sorry that's a bit elitist isn't it? Its not meant that way. I certainly don't consider myself amongst these distinguished circles. Its just difficult to stand a fool.) Campbell is so eminently suitable to the position. His manner is perfect for the twenty over format and he is witty without being a joke and knowledgeable without being an intellectual. While Matthews came off as a brutish bigot, a recalcitrant yoip in SBS's coverage of the Ashes, (who can blame him with Stuart MacGill in charge that nancy muppet), here he was sublime. So utterly engaging in his lessons on spin, gently humourous and self-effacing. He performs perfectly as an old gallant of the game and together they are the perfect foil to the play. I hope the team is maintained for IPL 2011. All up I am very impressed by Channel One's commitment particularly as Channel 9 has been so maladroit and disgustingly commercial in recent years.


On the subject of television personalities I must say that I am very much enjoying Foxtel's chair group of Brendon Julian, Mark Waugh, and Damien Fleming. Fleming is alternately daft funny, roguishly charming, and quite insightful on pace bowling. I have enjoyed him on ABC Grandstand and his presence on Fox is so appealing as he replaces Allan Border. That distinguished gentleman, the hero of my childhood when cricket was but a vague, undefined presence flitting about me, bold and gallant and brave, that gentleman has matured into a boor, a dull-witted, opinionated, self-important fink who uses his revered position to squander the viewer's time with his drab well spring of empty talk ala Bob Simpson or Robert Walls.


Its lunch on day four of the Mohali Test and the game has been subtly intriguing. Anything could transpire from here with Australia three wickets down and it has been nice to see Ishant Sharma return to some four. He is a youngster of great talent and I always enjoy watching India. This series is not of great importance but I am glad it is here nonetheless.

Now I have been writing just to touch base, and perhaps it is ineffectual for this will probably be my last post for a while as I will be going abroad (unless I feel sufficiently moved after attending the first domestic game of the year at the WACA to pour forth). I will unfortunately miss the Sri Lanka limited over series in Australia and I believe also the Brisbane Test. I will however be back in time for the WACA Test and will cover the game as best as I am able. Please maintain faith in me then and I shall do must best to reward it. Enjoy these early months of the Southern summer. Not only are those first cricketing moments to be savoured but the weather is at its finest. Together we will have a fine time of it. This Ashes promises much. Of both teams at their best one would think Australia the better. Australia are not at their best though and England are enjoying a magnificent run of form at the moment so if there is to be a contest, and certainly I think we all hope for one, it will lie around this.

1 comment:

  1. Recalcitrant yoips, nancy muppets and self-important finks. It's a much more vivid game with you around.