Ashes test numero quattro

I know it hasn’t actually finished yet, but Australia are 6 down (effectively 7 down, as Ryan Harris is unlikely to bat), so by the time I finish typing it may be officially over. I guess when I asked Santa for Australia to be less shit, I forgot to specify I meant for longer than one Test.

I’m bitterly disappointed, as I guess most Aussies are. I don’t mind so much that we lost the chance to reclaim the Ashes, although that hurts, as it was always going to be tough. What’s really disappointing and  frustrating, is the manner in which we capitulated. Where was the fight? The scrap? The team may not have the pure talent of Australian teams of the past, but it also lacked the pride, fight, and mongrel everyone has come to associate with Australian cricket.

I love cricket, so I’ll always support the team. It makes it really hard though, with the selection issues, the form issues, the confusion, lack of cohesion and total lack of fight. Personally,  I don’t think Ponting should be sacked as captain, mainly because I’ve always loved him, but also because there just isn’t an alternative in the team right now. If Ponting retired tomorrow, I would hope someone worthy got the nod, maybe Brad Haddin, despite him being a wicketkeeper. I honestly don’t think Michael Clarke has the nous, leadership or respect to be captain. I also have to seriously wonder what the selectors are doing. Or what they’re on. Some of their decisions, and related logic, just make no sense. Surely Steve Smith is not the best number 6 in Australia. He’s not even the best number six in the team.

Oh, I don’t know, I’m just really depressed and shit right now. I’m sure just about everyone in Australia knows what needs to happen, with the possible exception of the NSP. All I know for sure is I’m really not looking forward to handing England the Ashes again. Mainly because the unbiased, reasonable part of me know they’ve played really well, totally outplayed Australia in every facet of the game, and absolutely deserve to hold the Ashes.

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Ashes test numero tre

Before this test I was going to write a post about how we could still win the Ashes, and that we weren’t as bad as Adelaide made us seem. I got busy, and didn’t get around to it. I really wish I had of now, so I could be like “I told you so”.

There are still massive problems for Australia (hello Michael Clarke). The fact that Mitchell Johnson is as unpredictable as Melbourne weather coupled with the unpredictableness of Melbourne weather makes the Boxing Day test even more exciting than it usually is. This could be a seriously rain-delayed test, the rain in Melbourne has been persistent and hard to predict.

I follow Ian from the Baggy Green Blog on Twitter and before the Test he made a valid point about the importance of supporting the team when things aren’t going as well as we would hope. It was easy to be an Australian cricket fan during the Steve Waugh/early Ricky Ponting era. The team needs support now, more than ever. What Australians everywhere need to do now, is pray. Pray to God, Allah, Justin Bieber, or whichever deity takes your fancy. Pray for Ricky Ponting’s finger, because the one thing Australia does not need right now is Michael Clarke to be captain. Regular visitors to this blog* may suspect that I don’t really like Michael Clarke. And they would be correct. Putting aside all my personal feelings about him though, he’s just not what Australia need right now. Australia needs a leader, a tough motherfucker who will get hit in the face by a cricket ball and still smile through blood-stained lips. Michael Clarke is soft, and doesn’t perform as a batsmen when the teams needs him to step up. To ask him to grow a pair now would be catastrophic.

Pray for Ricky Ponting

 

Yes, there’s still selection issues. Yes, it may have just been a fluke. But the alternative is truly awful.

* may not actually exist

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Dear Jesus

Hello Jesus,

How are You? You must be excited, it’s almost Your birthday. Jesus, I have a favour to ask. I won’t lie, I’m not entirely Christian, but if You could help me out a little bit, I promise I’ll try really hard to believe in You. Could You please kill Michael Clarke? Actually, that might not be the way You do things. Could You please permanently incapacitate him? I’m not really fussy about how You do it (although painfully would be nice). Cut off his hands, rip out his spine, disembowel the motherfucker, whatever works for You, Jesus. I know that when You were ‘alive’ You preached love and understanding and forgiveness and all that, but Jesus, over the past 12 months the prick averages 55.36 when Australia wins. Now, I know You’re thinking that this is hardly a reason to go Predator on the guy, but over the same period he averages 24.6 when Australia lose and 9 when we draw. Does this strike You as the performance you need from your ‘captain in waiting’ (we’ll talk about this at a later date) number 4? Plus, Jesus, he walked out to bat yesterday with his team 2/17 and played a tentative, wafting, nothing-really kind of airy-fairy ‘shot’ and was caught behind. We needed and deserved more from him then. Some people around the traps have been saying he needs to get back with Bingle (I won’t fill You in, Jesus, because I know how You feel about fidelity), but he was useless before Bingle, during Bingle and after Bingle, so that’s not the solution. No, I’m afraid Jesus, that the only option left to You is to take drastic measures. Australia are about to enter a rebuilding phase (let’s face it, we have no other choice), and we need men. Tough men. Steve Waugh stone cold stare of stainless steel tough. Not Michael “I’m a fucking soft prick” Clarke. It seems he’s untouchable when it comes to selection, so the only option left is for Your Divine Intervention.

Help us Jesus Christ, You’re our only hope

Australia

I'm hard as fuck, y'all

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Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I’ve never written a letter to you before, but desperate times call for desperate measures. You know that Christmas song that says “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”? Well, I’m Victorian, so I still have my two front teeth. What I’d really, really, really like for Christmas Santa, is for Australia to be a little less shit. I don’t expect a miracle, I’m not asking for invincible, undefeatable, best team ever, just less shit. I don’t mind losing (that’s a lie, I can’t stand the thought of losing, especially to those South Afr, err, English pricks), but I’d like it if we could at least put up a bit of fight, and stop running around like headless chickens.

 

That would be really good Santa. I’ll leave really nice biscuits and lots of beer for you.

Lots of love,

richie

PS – if you could wrangle an Ashes victory, that would be super nice too.

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Ashes Test numero uno

It’s gonna be a long summer. I was going to write this long, insightful post about the first Test, and the implications for the series. But then I realised that the only thing worse than sitting through the last three days of that Test is talking about it, so I’ll just go sit in the dark and think about gloating Englishmen instead.

 

Although, certain things are worth saying. Go Sizzle. Uh, Mitch?? Ponting was pulling like a champ. Watson bowls like he’s running uphill through treacle.

 

Steve Waugh never had to put up with this shit...

 

Where’s the rug? Anyway, hear about it from the horse’s mouth.

 

Sigh…

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Australia win NatWest ODI series 2-0

I’ve been slack. Sorry. It’s been so long since I blogged my own blog had disappeared from my history.

So, the cricket was on TV last night, in between Wimbledon. It was great to see the Aussies thrash the Poms 2-0. Although I’m not sure why the ICC insist on scheduling 2 match series.  (This is why I love blogging. Orwellian modifications of the truth? Sure, why not? Truth is relative, anyhow.)

But the real truth is I’m a bit worried. I’m not sure I’d survive another Ashes lost, especially a home one. I’m telling myself that we were just rusty for the first three (non-existent) ODIs, but how much of the blame can be attributed to the fact that we suck??

All is not lost though. Shaun Tait’s first spell. Wow. Well, actually, I didn’t see it, cos Channel 9 thought we might want to watch whatsherface win some other sport thing. They were wrong. Michael Holding said it was fast though, and in Mikey Holding I trust. Mainly because I luuuuurve the way he says Ricky Ponting. Sure, his second and third spells dropped off in pace. But fear not, I have a plan to harness the raw, primal speed machine that is Shaun Tait. We should just invent a shorter form of cricket. I know, crazy right? Cos 50 overs is so short already. But, bear with me. If each bowler bowled, I don’t know, say 4 overs each then The Wild Thing might manage to maintain his pace. I guess for now I’ll just have to be content with 161.1kph balls and flying stumps…

Well nurdled Colly...

Another thing I was thrilled to see was Australia’s use of the batting powerplay. Many a time I have shouted at the TV for teams to take the powerplay earlier, but they never listened before. See what happens when you listen to me, Mussey? Good things happen. It really annoys me to see the powerplay wasted. Before the powerplay, you count on heaps of runs in the last 10 overs, provided you have wickets in hand. That hasn’t changed. In fact, if you call the powerplay prior to the last 10, and the strike bowlers are bought back, then that’s 5 overs of strike bowling that can’t be bowled in the last 10. I know that wickets often fall in batting powerplays, but I think that’s just because of stupid batting. Michael Holding agrees, so end of argument. Used correctly, the batting powerplay can  change the momentum of a game, as it did last night, and that’s what I love about 50 over cricket, there’s time for strategy and nuances and momentum. Viva la ODIs!!

But the best thing about the whole match was KP’s “I’m in pain face”. Hilarious. Almost as good as his “I’m a twat face’…

AKA "I'm a twat"

Oh, yeah, 143 days, bitches

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ICC World Twenty20, 20th Match, Group F: Australia v Sri Lanka

That is all.

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ICC World Twenty20

So the ICC World Twenty20 comp has started. Just as well too, it has been far too long since the last Twenty20 competition. Other people have reviewed the tournament way better than I could, so I don’t really need to add anything. Plus, I really don’t have the energy.

I do, however, have the inside scoop on some of the odds being offered on the tournament.

The chance of England will suffer an ‘unexpected‘ loss to a minnow – against Ireland $2.50  – in the semi finals $75

Chance of Graeme Smith breaking a finger – $1.50

Chance of lil davy warner proving Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection $1.80

Chance of me getting out of bed at 3am to watch games $30

Chance of an Australian not saying “Aw look” during a prematch and/or postmatch interview $1.20

Chance of Pakistan feeding Shahid Afridi 7 large Hawaiian pizzas, 5 chicken kebabs, 19 litres of peppermint choc chip icecream, 23 granny smith apples, 12 raspberry lollipops and 8 footlong pepperoni subs before every match, just in case $2.30

Chance of Australia being knocked out in the first round $3.60

Chance of me caring about the tournament should Australia be knocked out in the first round $780

Chance of Dirty Dirk being absolutely awesome $1.01

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IPL – just not cricket?

In principle, it sounds amazing. Some of the world’s best cricketers, formers foes recast as team-mates, Indian stars of present, past and future, recently retired Aussie sloggers, all competing in Twenty20. The cricket of the 21st century. Rock and roll cricket. All excitement and cheerleaders and fireworks and wow! Then why the fuck does it bore the fuck out of me?

I love cricket, I really do. I like Twenty20, I’m not mad for it, but I got excited when Australia took on the Saffers last summer at the ‘G and lil davy warner exploded like a firecracker. Or an over-excited teenage boy. It was awesome, you had the ‘G, the most magnificent ground in all of world cricket. Yes, I’m Victorian. I’m not Shane Warne. Or Bill Lawry, but I sure as hell wish I was. Plus, it was a really hot night, and it although I watched it on TV, I could feel the electricity, the excitement, the pure, unadulterated awesomeness of the whole spectacle. Not even Jessica Maulboy could ruin the atmosphere.

Last year I watched I lot of the IPL. Every Rajasthan game at least. I have a massive crush on a Rajasthan player. It’s not Shane Warne. It seemed perfectly logical to sleep for a few hours after dinner, then get up, watch IPL and sleep for a little while before getting up at 5.40 for work. Or, if it was the late game, go to work straight after the conclusion of the match. Rajasthan sucked, but it was worth it. I think.

This year though, I just can’t bring myself to care. And it’s not because my crush has diminished. Is it overkill? The commentators? The time difference? DLF maximums? Or bloody Lalit Modi?

When I sit down and think about it, which I have done an alarming amount recently, considering I’ve just embarked on the most academically-challenging endeavour of my (albeit) short academic career, I think it’s because I’m just not that into Twenty20. Sure, the occasional game is good value. The only thing I enjoyed more than lil davy warner was AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher being Taited. And my number one ambition in life is to throw my undies at Dirty Dirk. Preferably with me still in them.

When I was a kid, we lived in the country, about a three hour drive from Melbourne, so we used to go to the third day of the Boxing Day test match (Day 1 was feral, and you couldn’t gamble on there being a Day 4, to say nothing of Day 5). Sometimes my Dad could be convinced to take us to a ODI. The best memory I have is of a Michael Bevan innings that was so epic, that I’ve retold so many times, like all the great stories of history the details have become slightly hazy. So, roughly, Australia were in an awful bind. It was a triangular series. I think NZ was involved. Must have been around 2001-2002. The details aren’t that important. We had played awful cricket and hadn’t qualified for the finals. It was the last game, dead rubber, nothing to play for. Australia had collapsed, awfully, the current team could only dream of such a collapse. Michael Bevan walks to the crease to face a task so insurmountable that it was beyond the realm of possibility that even Micheal Gwyl Bevan, the man who was born for such impossibilities could do anything to save face. Well, we had a long drive ahead of us, so we decided to leave early. As we left our seats and started the trudge up the aisle, MG Bevan hit a four. Dad thought we may as well watch until Bevan got out. So, we stood up the back, behind the people too cheap to spring for proper seats, and watched. And waited for Bevan to go out. Instead, we watched as the man who had triumphed time and time again picked the gaps, nurdled the ball for a single, turned the ones into twos and punished the bad balls to victory. When he hit the winning runs it was truly momentous. We knew we had witnessed something special. That one day a blogger would recount a hazy memory of this day in history. My point is, it remains one of my favourite victories, and I’ve seen some amazing Aussie victories in my day (I miss them terribly). It was a claw back from the brink of oblivion victory, and any sports fan will tell you they’re the ones you remember. That you cherish.

I think that’s why Twenty20, and in particular, the IPL leaves me feeling unsatisfied. There’s time for your team to fail miserably, to collapse and walk off the field humiliated and humbled. There just isn’t time for a fight back. Not a proper, gritty one. That’s why Steve Waugh never played Twenty20. Because his Stone Cold Stare of Stainless Steel wouldn’t be much use, and that, friends, is the true tragedy of Twenty20…

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Cricket confessions

Right, so the only cricket actually happening at the moment is the IPL, although in Australia it really happens when I’m asleep. So, to satiate my need for togetherness, love and general hand-holding… Cricket confessions! The goal of cricket confessions is clearly to make myself feel better about my own depths of obsession, so please add your own confessions. Please. It’s not just me, it can’t be.

So, my first cricket confession. One summer I taped every minute of Channel 9’s cricket coverage on VHS. Every minute. I co-ordinated the change of tapes well, so I didn’t miss anything. And I actually watched them. Perhaps not all of them, but moments. I watched McGrath dismissing Brian Lara to claim scalp number 300, then complete the hat trick hundreds of times. Almost. The worse thing is I know for a fact that all the tapes are still in a plastic tub in my parent’s shed.

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