Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Sweet Revenge

They say revenge is a dish best served cold - which either means you are so upset you forget to turn on the oven, or you prefer a salad ... or, like Cameron White and David Hussey, you take your time before rubbing an opponents nose in it.
In Melbourne, Victoria have just completed a mammoth thrashing of the "eh" boys, with both teams chock-a-block with relative unknowns (your auntie's second cousin) and only Hussey and White as remnants from the Shield final played five years ago at the Gabba. In that game, Victoria were batted out of existence by Qld's first innings of 6-900, as Jimmy Maher and an unusually fit Shane Watson got doubles and Martin Love and Clinton Perron scored big singles. Victoria folded up their deck chairs early as another youngster, Mitchell Johnson took 10 wickets for the match.
Luckily for Hussey and White, who both featured in the Vic's second dig in Melbourne, James Hopes and Chris Hartley were fellow time travellers from that earlier match in Brisbane. It's so much nicer dishing out second and third courses of revenge in person.
McGain got second innings wickets but he's a leggie from old and unlikely to play too often above this grade. Too loose. Control was Warne's greatest virtue and as he was the first, a second is unlikely to surface for a while yet. As a guide to how long we may have to wait ... let's see ... by the time John Howard is out of cricket ...
Many said Victoria, despite their outstanding season, couldn't win a Final without Hodge and at 6-75 with their big guns having already shot their pop, Many was looking right. Who is Many? Must be a Jewish commentator? The opinions of the Zion Zealot hadn't figured on a tail that was intent on having runs to bowl at and successive partnerships from Matthew Wade, John Hastings, Doug Wright and Darren Pattinson quadrupled the precarious earlier position. It was this recover that turned and eventually won the match.
Faced with a fish they had let off the hook, many of the Northerners got starts but only Broad got runs. From there, Qld's game was like Hillary at the top of Everest ... it was all downhill. White and Hussey feasted and the lesser known Vics all came to the table for at least some of the courses.
The pleasing thing about the Victorian victory is that it was just. They have been the most consistent team all season and deserved another etching on Lord Sheffield's symbol of what was then Victorian colonialism. Apt, would you say.
For Hussey and White, it was just so much sweeter.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Putting in the hard yards

The eating of one's words is not so displeasurable for the taste as much as the mere fact one has to. This is certainly the case for some cricket pundits who have witnessed Bangladesh in test cricket of late. The fact they have not conjured a test victory should not detract from disciplined spin bowling and, at times, very entertaining batting. The cricket writers who have declared Bangladesh unworthy of test status should be thoroughly embarrassed at India being bowled out in under a day and England being forced in the field for scores of overs. This achieved by a mix of exuberant youth, committed coach and a passion for the game not dissimilar to that seen in India.

Cricket needs more world-wide appeal to remain current and ensure a future - certainly where test cricket is concerned. It has not been the luxury of upper class exclusively for some time now but it appears the ICC may beg to differ somewhat. Their dealing with the issue of the umpire decision review system is a case in point. Installing the UDRS has been made the responsibility of individual cricket nations and their boards. Inequity can be evident in various circles of life; sport being one, and Bangladesh are seemingly hapless bystanders of their own disadvantage which cost them 3 wickets against England in the first innings of the second test. While there may not be on-field bias against Bangladesh they can ill-afford the ICC ignoring infrastructure needs which help to provide a level playing-field. The people of Bangladesh will undoubtedly be buouyed by their team's performances of late; and their passion for the game will remain. But, ICC, give them a bloody break and help them get the UDRS for their test matches. If you feel they are a test nation then starting treating them like one!