[Update: As of 2 October 2015, the tour has been officially postponed by Australia due to security concerns. I will probably write a post about this incident or the general relationship between cricket and terrorism.]
In 2010, Geoffrey Boycott, the outspoken Yorkshire commentator who makes Ian Chappell seem shy, proclaimed that the Test status of Bangladesh should be revoked. In June this year, he seemed to have softened his approach, stating they are “not quite minnows now”, but cited their lack of success away as a key indicator of their lack of progress. While Australia’s Test tour of Bangladesh will not allow them an opportunity to experience away success, a strong, competitive performance from Bangladesh will demonstrate their burgeoning ability. Moreover, provided Australian concerns over security are assuaged, this tour represents one of Bangladesh’s best chances for a historic win against Australia, given that the current Australian squad is considerably depleted of experience.
The date is 16 November, 2011. Silvio Berlusconi, the outrageous Italian billionaire with his infamous “bunga bunga” parties, has finally agreed to step down as Prime Minister of Italy. Newt Gingrich, a man who once called himself “the most serious, systematic revolutionary of modern times”, is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination for 2012. As evidenced by her official Twitter status, Paris Hilton has been filled with compassion for a starving dog on a Bali sidewalk. And Michael Clarke, on the eve of what will be one of the closest Test matches of the 2000’s, is struggling to lift an Australian Test team that collapsed to 47 all out just a week ago.
As with any sort of hobby or experience, there are certainly times when following the sport of cricket can be quite a laborious task. For instance, listening to Ian Healy’s analysis of the 2015 Ashes on the Channel Nine coverage, which included blaming the distraction of women on the Australian men’s cricket team’s loss to the English, is such an example. However, there are a number of ways to improve the experience.
The debate behind the title of “Greatest Spinner in Test Cricket History” usually comes down to two candidates, namely Shane Warne of Australia and Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka. This debate, like most cricket debates, seems quite inane and pointless to the casual observer, but generates quite a lot of fervour among cricket fans. At this point, I would like to point out the poll on the side and give you the opportunity to cast a vote. The results are, at the moment, quite close with Warne, garnering 54%, and Murali, garnering 46%.
So, while I probably won’t write the full article until I get back to university, this post is just to give a quick summary on the standard arguments on both sides to help any undecideds.
As Australian cricket fans would know, when the commentator Bill Lawry sees a wicket fall, he gets excited. When Bill sees a wicket fall because a searing yorker shatters the stumps, he gets really excited. He gets so stimulated that, given his advanced age, Channel Nine should consider shielding him from the commentary roster when Mitchell Starc bowls at the West Indians in this year’s Boxing Day Test match. You know they could just keep Mark Taylor on for those overs. He’s cooler than a room with Fujitsu air-conditioning: it’s Australia’s Favourite Air! But, enough about Fujitsu Taylor, what on earth is Bill Lawry getting so excited about?
When Brad Haddin came into the Australian side in 2008, he was replacing a wicket-keeper with 379 catches and 37 stumpings – the Test record for wicket-keeping dismissals. That man, Adam Gilchrist, has a reputation as one of the most destructive batsmen in Test cricket history with a batting average of nearly fifty at almost a run a ball. His adherence to “walking”, that is, acknowledging he was out by walking off the pitch before the umpire made the decision, was widely seen as just one sportsmanlike characteristic of one of the nicest and fairest players to play the game. Hence, it was inevitable that Haddin was never going to match up to his predecessor. So, what can we make of Haddin’s career?
Having read a thought-provoking article on A Different Kind of Hungeronthe similarities between Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Pietersen, I thought I’d take a look at the curious relationship that Australian Prime Ministers usually have with the sport of cricket. Modern politicians are expected to appear as if they are “in touch” with the sensibilities of the electorate and hence, they assume that a feigned interest in sport is vital to their re-election prospects. However, for quite a number of Australian Prime Ministers, cricket matches are not merely neat photo opportunities but have been lifelong sources of entertainment. Here we go over the cricketing highlights provided by some of Australia’s premier politicians of recent times.
Netherlands 210 (Van der Merwe 73, Davey 3-36) and 123 (Rippon 37, Davey 3-43) defeat Scotland 133 (Taylor 46, Kingma 4-36) and 156 (Berrington 59, Borren 4-1) by 44 runs
Who would win in a battle between a lion and a unicorn, the respective national animals of Holland and Scotland? While it would seem at first that a lion would savage a unicorn, given its raw skills in the wild, you could also argue that a unicorn with its magical abilities could be capable of defying the laws of physics by virtue of its magic. It seems disappointing that a question like this would probably garner more interest in these two countries than that which was caused by their dynamic cricket match.
There’s a saying in Australia: “If Shane Warne smokes a cigarette and no-one is there to photograph it, did it really happen?” The ICC Intercontinental Cup, the grand title of the Associate first-class competition, begins its second round today with a match between the Netherlands and Scotland with barely a mention in these respective countries. Holland nervously hopes for a miracle in the Euro 2016 qualifying rounds in soccer. Scotland awaits the spectacle of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. But, for 22 men playing on an unwatched oval in The Hague, the next four days represent a future opportunity to play Test cricket.
While it might seem early to start thinking about the 2019 ODI World Cup, it’s interesting to note how little thought it takes to select a future Australian side, which could viably triumph again. While, of course, plenty of things such as loss of form and injury can happen in between, the fact that it is possible to do this is testament to both the strength of Australia’s short form stocks and the careful planning of the selection board.