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“Oh dear, oh dear”

It’s hard to know what to say after such a victory. Gloating seems to fall somewhat flat. Sure we should rejoice in some wonderful performances – not the least Gillie, as he firmly cements his status as “one hell of a cricketer”. Or as Neville Cardus once said of Warwick Armstrong, “a cricketer that matters”.

A few stats (because I can’t help myself):

The Gilchrist first 50 came off 89 balls – very civilized. The next 50 came from just 32 balls. The fourth 50 came in 30 balls so he does tend to “explode”. His 200 came from 213 – in balls faced, the fastest 200 in Test cricket…

With 8 sixes, Gillie is right up there on the most sixes in a Test innings – the most is 13 but he now sits in the top 5.

It is worth noting that Martyn’s first 50 came from 130 balls, his second 50 from just 37 balls. Not too shabby!

All that aside, from 24 Dec 2001 we were supposed to be a witnessing a
colossal stoush, an real arm wrestle, a title fight. I can’t remember what else the ACB official program said but it was encouraging. What has happened has been a bit sad – it’s like playing England. We only get to have 60% of playing time realised and while it is fun, it seems somewhat hollow after a while. We all know that there is nothing so exciting than winning a thriller!

But who knows, in 1997, at the same ground we posted 628 and rolled them for a hefty innings defeat. We then very nearly lost the 2nd Test and did lose the 3rd Test. So you never know. Although that Test in 1997 could at the time be dismissed as a “one off” – clearly not the case hear and it is very hard to see a fight back. We have seen the last of Allan Donald who sadly departed in a broken down heap. Pollock’s return will help and I think that we may see Darryl Cullinan resume his battle with Warnie – so there is still hope for some entertainment.

I’d like to close with some of my favourite moments of commentary featuring some of the South African commentators – I couldn’t ever get sick of listening to them lamenting the state of play! Unfortunately, I don’t remember which commentators they were:

Some time at the height of the Martyn/Gilchrist onslaught: “What happened in Australia was a thrashing. I find myself wanting a Thesaurus to give myself a chance to adequately describe the monumental beating which is taking place now.”

And during the break between the South African 1st and 2nd innings, as two South Africans tried to take stock, draw comfort and provide some hope. Gary Kirsten’s 275 made over 13 hours was revisited. After a few moments of reflection one of them said: “Imagine if Gilchrist batted for 13 hours.” And then silence.

See you all later and remember that it is still cricket season.

“Captain, My Captain (imagine me standing on my office desk)”

I don’t have a real lot to say about the axing of S R Waugh, as I don’t care too much for one day cricket. But a few points:

1. Two of the selectors (as we all know) are AB and DC Boon. AB was forced out before he was ready and Boonie was dumped from the one-day side and then told he was told to retire from the Test arena. On the one hand AB and Boonie may have felt for Tugga but on the other they know it’s how it goes. AB said that “after he hung up the phone we felt physically sick” – well that may be true but I doubt he shed any tears. I personally feel more for AB – fancy having to tell Steve Waugh he’s been dropped – doing it by phone was definitely prudent.

And Tubby Taylor and Heals have received similar unceremonious treatment. (And I my opinion, those selection decisions were one of the main reasons why we won the last World Cup. That and the fact that we played Pakistan in the final and they were able to receive quite reasonable odds from an unknown bookie in southern India on an Australian victory…).

2. I’m not sure whether Waughs demise is good or bad. I don’t think it’s a knee-jerk reaction as the team and Steve had not played well in the one-day season. Personally, Steve’s Test summer was not that flash either. I’m not sure how it will affect team morale. I tend to think the players will rally around him and be even more motivated for the Tests against South Africa. I’m not sure about Waugh personally – he is very tough and determined and the Test arena will be his main avenue to press for reselection in the One-Day squad.

3. Steve Waugh is putting on a brave face and talking about pressing for reselection. I tend to think that he should just exit gracefully from One Day cricket. There is NO WAY that he will be reselected as it is completely contrary to the stated reasons for dropping him. And dropping him once has been traumatic enough – reselecting him introduces the risk of having to drop him again!!! We won’t be going there.

4. Mark Waugh should be very worried. Did I say “very”? What an understatement. By starting with the king, it will be very easy to scratch the clown. If Junior doesn’t score some serious runs in the Test series then we may not see him play international cricket on our sunny shores again.

These are my opinions about what I think may or will happen. I’d like to put on record that I love both Steve and Mark (even though they don’t love each other) and will be sad to see them go. I acknowledge that Steve can be a hard, grumpy bastard and that Mark may lack some ethics but they have been great players whom I have watched for many, many hours and they are very much a part of a golden age of Australian cricket which has lasted for over a decade.

Now I’m shedding some tears.

Later, cricket lovers.

PS: Does anyone who lives close to me have Foxtel?