Seasons Greetings to all,
I hope you all had a wonderful day with your families and can now look forward to the Boxing Day festivities and onto a great 2013.
But tonight is the eve of the Boxing Day Test match where unfortunately it will be attended by the adherence to tradition rather than the prospect of a gripping encounter against the leading Test nation of the world. The South Africans though will be entrenched in the deciding rubber of an enthralling three match Twenty20 series against New Zealand, one that is sure to go down in the annals of ……..every other Twenty20 series. I don’t begrudge the Boks their right to demand Boxing Day billing and request Australia to reciprocate every few years and play there. But to schedule a hit and giggle Twenty20 game is an insult to both Australia and the game itself. Australia has every right to refuse the request while South Africa pay lip service to Test cricket at home and Boxing Day remains the biggest drawcard for the game on the planet.
The Aussies though are not without fault treating the biggest Test match of the local season also with disdain with the current selection policies. I thought the decision to move Andrew Hilditch on would be a positive and John Inverarity might restore some sense into the process. But then we had his gem: ”I don’t know why it takes people so long to get their head around it. It’s an integral part of AFL football, Chris Judd plays 78 or 82 per cent of the game. He blitzes it for seven or eight minutes, then he comes off for three minutes. I don’t see the difference.” Unless I am mistaken the interchange bench has yet to be introduced in Test Cricket so the comparison there is ridiculous. How many games does Chris Judd miss for Carlton? Only the ones where he is injured or has inflicted some dastardly torture on an opponent. I have heard some comparison with the Geelong side of 2011 where their list was very deep and aging – this does have more relevance, but I don’t recall many stars being rested in the Grand Final. Boxing Day is cricket’s Grand Final!
If we keep on being dished up teams with B-Graders in this game it too will diminish in relevance to the public, it might not effect Boxing Day but will be interested to see the crowds on the following days if we have to watch the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Phil Hughes and Usman Kuwaja strutting their stuff. Yes there are mitigating circumstances for Kuwaja and technically he looks the goods, he just hasn’t shown the appetite for runs in Test cricket so far. If Clarke doesn’t play I hope he does grab this opportunity. There is not much more to say about Mitchell Johnson. Invers saying he was our best bowler in Perth makes no sense. A very poor game to judge our bowlers and if he was the best why did he not play in Hobart? As for Phil Hughes he also has his chance to shine, but as stated earlier runs against Sri Lanka are good for averages but prove little come July against JimmyA.
I am hoping that the wicket will give the spinners a bit more to also test the Australian top order against spin, with a four Test tour of India coming up we need to see how they will cope. At the moment they are all questionable against spin, but in reality I am not sure they have been completely tested either. It will also give Nathan Lyon the chance to actually do something rather than fling down his medium pacers, I note he has said he is communicating with Clarke and Wade all the time about his speed. The keeper and the captain should be aggrieved with “Gary” bringing their cricket nous into disrepute.
For all that, it is off to Boxing Day we go and continue to celebrate the season, I’ll be there early to get a favoured position in the MCC. With a lunch break most likely to be in the Percy Beames Bar, anyone wishing to catchup in the members send me a text and I am sure a Christmas frothy can be shared. Will also be there for Day 2.
Looking forward to Boxing Day and beyond into 2013, with my new year wish to be the demise of the “Sports Scientist”!