Cricket: More Than a Game

If you can't give it properly, it's no wonder it's kept at Lords

I just had to share this interview with Norman Gordon, the oldest living cricketer and the last survivor of the timeless test, what an old legend.

He is the anti Neil Harvey! I love him.

Gideon Haigh coming off the long run.

He captures my thinking magnificently in:

As for the rest of us in Australian cricket, a contagious and debilitating cynicism is spreading: there is a feeling that something is amiss, that something is being lost, that the players are overpaid numpties and/or B-list celebrity haircuts, that the administrators are beige bureaucrats and/or shonky spivs, and that those who care about cricket, who have it in their blood, who think it a fine thing and worth fighting for, are being marginalised and excluded, because they are at odds with the fast-buck mentality, because they object to being slotted into demographics of "cricket consumers'

I am not a cricket consumer. I played the game for 25 years and only gave it away when my back failed. I have been through the dark hours of the early '80s and I still love the game ahead of all others. And those c*cks at Cricket Australia have thoroughly alienated me and thousands like me. The players in the suburban leagues and associations, paying their weekly 'ball fees', roll their eyes at the latest shenanigans coming from our governing body. The quotes coming from our selectors are the worst kind of post hoc justifications. Cow corner Warner is not an elite batsman no matter what the promoters of the KFC big bash may claim. In fact the entire KFC sponsorship thing is giving me conniptions, not to mention the phone company that has fringe test players at their core. A cynic (ie. me) might think their selection despite poor form was to keep their value to the advertisers. There was a beer ad suggesting that Michael Clarke might make 11 runs - he wishes.

With the World Cup just around the corner I guess now is not the time for blood letting, but if nothing happens after April I will give the Aussie team away. They obviously think it's more important that women 18-35 like the game than the core supporters. 2 years ago I would have called myself a rusted on Aussie cricket fan. Sutherland and McKenna (the marketing head of T20 here in .au) have applied a large does of WD40.

Yeah I saw that article, it was enlightening. From the outside Australia has always been the world's cricket giant so I was really surprised at the way they have collapsed, it's interesting to see why now.

We have drifted from Cricket Australia being charged with overall development of the game from the Milo kids to the elite.

Now it seems preoccupied with milking the cash from the elite game and trying to expand that.

We are stunned as this week some test players are turning out for the Grade teams (the level below the Sheffield Shield). Such events used to be common. It was a big day when Dean Jones turned out for Melbourne. It was a chance for both his team mates and opposition to test themselves against one of the elite. Now there is no room in amongst the internationals to fit these games in and so the future talent remains untried against high quality opposition. No wonder we didn't know who to turn to when we needed to find replacements for out of form hacks and injuries.

Shield teams aren't doing enough development any more. The recent success of the Bushrangers has been pleasing, but we have a lot of guys over 30 so we are unlikely to see any baggy greens being handed out amongst them. For all the talk of NSW bias in selection - at least they have some guys under 25 playing first class cricket.

But what happened to the academies? Are they not churning out players anymore? Or are they focusing too much on sloggers and pie chuckers?

davet010 wrote:

Message to Phil Hughes


Not only are you a second rate opening batsman who would not make the first XI in most English county sides, but you are an abominable cheat. Moreover, you are fully aware of it. You are, therefore, not a gentleman.


So how do you feel about Mr Prior?

He's fine by me, are there still cricket matches taking place ? Oh, you mean slog cricket ?

World Cup starts in 3 days. In preparation SA just crushed Australia in a warm up game.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 217 all out, South Africa caught them in 44.2 overs. Smith and Amla both retired 'hurt' to give other batmen a go. That was a little cheeky, but awesome.

And so it begins - the most drawn out tournament in world sport.

JAMODI is all well and good throughout the cycle - but to base the entire tournament on it seems to milking it a LOT. What else do we expect from the ICC though.

My predictions:

Australia to make the semi finals thanks to their soft side of the draw and then get thumped.
Billy Clownden to make a howler of a decision due to him being a stupid showpony.
South Africa to choke again - maybe in the final.
West Indies to lose to a minnow - too much scrutiny on Pakistan for them to lose concentration for a match.

Bruce wrote:

South Africa to choke again - maybe in the final.

It's funny. Our media has been playing our chances down, going on about how for once we don't have the pressure of being among the favourites, so this article about how well we've played in the warm ups is quite funny.

Oh, no! We're looking good

South African teams, clearly, have learned absolutely nothing from the failed World Cup campaigns of the past 16 years.

Time and again they have looked the most thoroughbred of all the horses on the starting line and have surged into a commanding lead at the start of the race only to stumble at the first prospect of the finishing line.

And they're at it again now. Even the slightest hiccup against Zimbabwe in the first warm-up match would have helped, just a small sign that everything was not yet in perfect place -- just a little cough or two from the engine.

But, no, everybody in view looked slick, well prepared, in form and confident. But it was only Zimbabwe.

Perhaps they could show the world against Australia that they were, as we have been saying for several months now, going to start from the middle of the pack this time.

Of course not. Not content with squeezing past Ricky Ponting's men in a white-knuckled, every-run-counts drama, they thrashed them. Australia were barely in the contest. Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel were at their ruthless best and even the secret weapon, Imran Tahir, kept none of his powder dry and bamboozled the Aussies.
It has led to a flurry of reappraisals here in India and the consensus is that the Proteas are "looking ominous" and "must be considered among the favourites". Again!

No, of course they couldn't and shouldn't have done anything differently. They even tried letting Australia back into the game by retiring Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla in the 60s and promoting Faf du Plessis up the order to number three but even then the Aussie bowlers couldn't take a wicket between them.

A bit more behind the link, but that's the pertinent stuff.

Early indications are that the minnows are going to have a miserable month.

Does look that way.
I still find it strange that Canada plays at all. Surely they don't get enough of a summer to justify a season? Or maybe they play indoors?

I know Davison was playing Shield Cricket here a few years ago - but he is far too old to hold a place there now. Was born in Canada and raised in Oz. Wasn't good enough for the Aussie team so he chose Canada for rep cricket.

Bruce wrote:

I know Davison was playing Shield Cricket here a few years ago - but he is far too old to hold a place there now. Was born in Canada and raised in Oz. Wasn't good enough for the Aussie team so he chose Canada for rep cricket.

Yeah, same with a bunch of the Italian rugby international players. MacLean's more than decent player, but he probably wouldn't have gotten a sniff with the All-Blacks, so I don't grudge those sorts the chance to play at an international level.

Cricket seems to be one of those sports where anyone can play for any country. Eion Morgan being a recent example, Kepler Wessels in the late '80s. I seem to recall quite a few Irish and Dutch players being of various extractions, a few South African.

We have Imran Tahir, a former Pakistani, but our laws require citizenship before a person can represent us on a national level so he's been here for 5 years after marrying a South African.

Joost Van Der Trott and Pik Strauss also found new homes.

Bit of a close one for England there.

Bruce wrote:

Joost Van Der Trott and Pik Strauss also found new homes.

Heh, that went totally over my head. Quite correct, and 5 of the Dutch players are Saffers.

Was every single player interviewed after the game South African?

West Indies vs SA. WI, 222 all out, now for the chase.

I never thought I'd see the day South Africa plays 3 spinners, never mind open with one who takes a wicket in the first over. Awesome stuff.

Tahir, 4 wickets on debut. Steyn 3, Botha 2.




# & Kallis out.

by sheer chance I'm traveling through India and Bangladesh while this is all going on. Getting a crash course on the ins and outs. Might catch a game in Bangladesh if my friend can hook me up.

Sunday I'm going to try and find a hole in the wall Indian joint and watch it with the locals.

It must seem a long way from Wisconsin, but let me know if you've got any questions on how it works.

You lucky duck. My advice - find a team and follow them through the tourney.

Geez there are some dreadful actions from the world's off spinners. Perhaps the UWA clearing house should move to southern Africa.

I watched most of today's match and I've barely got any fingernails left. What a game.

Sorry I missed the England India game, I was busy earlier and my housemate was watching some stupid Arsenal soccer match at the end. Sounds like it was a cracker.

Weird day today.

Windies smashed Netherlands, Zimbabwe smashed Canada. Why are the associate teams in the competition? How does the experience of humiliating defeat help them? They should have a second tier competition with a couple of wild cards being eligible for the main tournament. It would also help to keep the main tournament smaller.

I think the problem was the TV deal was done for 2 world cups (2007 and 2011) and there was a guranteed number of matches per tournament in the contract. Stupidly they didn't have a review option on that to pare back from the debacle of of 2007. So they have to play a lot of minnow (mis)matches to bulk up the number of games for the TV contract.

I think having the top couple of finishers in the Plate is worthwhile, but half the teams have no business being there for this tournament. With 200+ run victories things are pretty pointless.

Yeah, I'd agree with the need for a more strict qualifying tournament for the little ones, but I do think it is important that they get the opportunity to play at the highest level. I am also slightly disappointed that more effort's not being made to build the associate nations' infrastructure up.

Wisden's blogs carried a good suggestion a few days back for a 'Minnows' Test Side, which I think would be a very good idea (though you'd need to work out the touring arrangements.)

Stand corrected I guess.

Excellent for our pool, assuming something similar doesn't happen to us.


As for exposing smaller teams to top flight competition, I'm totally on board with that. I like seeing the sports I love being spread, but I don't think the WC is the place for 8+ teams that are not test rated. Maybe the 2-4 top associate teams.

I think small tours for them would be a better platform. We hosted Kenya a couple of years ago and it was really nice.

I felt bad for them though, they were still in their 2007 WC kit.

England's ODI form has been poor and I think the India game was an anomoly. They got smashed after the ashes, got pushed hard by the Netherlands and now this.

I guess they forgot to poach O'Brien.

Who cares - after taking Australia to the cleaners in the proper form of the game, Sunday smash cricket is of little interest. Plus the England team have effectively been on tour for 4 months, barring 3 days at home.