Monday, January 07, 2008

Following cricket from the other side of the world

Australia celebrate as Michael Clarke took the final wicket with 1 over to spare, to defeat India and take a 2-0 series lead.

As in most professional sports, money plays too big a role in cricket these days. CRICKET AUSTRALIA, have banned radio broadcast on the internet outside of Australia. This means that I can not tune into the ABC on the internet to listen to a test match. I wonder how they think they would lose money if it were possible. A few years back I was able to listen. So it is disappointing to have lost this privilege.
I was following the second test in Sydney between Australia and India yesterday by text commentary. It had been a close game and came down to the wire in the end. I managed to get on to a friend in Australia on skype and he talked me through the last 5 overs. Michael Clarke pulled an amazing win out of the bag in the second last over, taking 3 wickets in 4 balls.
A few conclusions can be drawn from this match:

Australia will benefit greatly from a close game. They have won so easily in recent years as their current 16 match winning streak shows. A close and exciting win will invigorate them to play better cricket.

The team does not need Brad Hogg. Yes, he did well to make 79 in the first innings and support Andrew Symonds in his 164, that surely kept Australia in the game. But Brad Hogg is in the side for his bowling and he did not take a single wicket in the match and did not perform that well in Melbourne either. Australia should not pick a spinner for the sake of it. They should wait until a young spinner is ready to play test cricket. In the mean time they can rely on Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds when needed as the showed by taking 6 wickets between them in the second innings to win the test match.

In Melbourne Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson performed very well to show that Australia has yet more depth in bowling after Glen McGrath and Shane Warne have retired.

Andrew Symonds has finally come of age as a worthy contributor to the test side, it was a long time coming, but he has filled the gaps left by previous players.

The Indians are a bunch of whingers. Harbajan Singh has been banned for three test matches after being found guilty of racial slurs against Andrew Symonds. The team threatened to go home and abandon the rest of the series. They are staying now and appealing the ban, which they can if they want. But they sound like sore losers to me. Kind of reminds me of Sri Lanka after the world cup.

A mid pitch argument after Harbajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a monkey, which had also previously happened when Australia were on tour of India a few months ago.

In other cricket news, the British government have made noises that they will not allow the Zimbabwe cricket team to enter the country for future scheduled tours, due to Robert Mugabe's evil regime. In an unofficial response the ICC have said that they will move the 2009 Twenty 20 championship away from England. This once again underlines how corrupt they are or spineless to ban Zimbabwe from ICC membership, as they had previously done to South Africa.

Glossary for the uninitiated Canadian:

Cricket- A game with bat and ball' the ancestor of baseball and softball. In England they eat cucumber sandwiches at lunch time, but in Australia it is also very popular among the working class ("the convicts").

Wicket- The near equivalent of an "out" in baseball.

Over- 6 balls. A "ball" is the near equivalent of a pitch in baseball. A bowler bowls one over at a time, before another bowler also bowls an over.

Test match- A test match can last up to 5 days. Each side has two innings. A minimum of 90 overs have to be bowled in one day. This usually takes about 6 hours, therefore a match usually lasts around 30 hours. There are shorter versions of the game- a "Limited overs" game is 50 overs per side. This is around 6-7 hours in length and played in one day. This is a similar amount of time to a Major League baseball double header. A Twenty 20 game (20 overs per side) takes 2.5 hours, and is fast becoming that commercial future of the game.

78, 164, etc- That is the number of runs that a batsmen made, yes that's right. Keep in mind that a batter does not have to run when they hit the ball, and that they can keep batting until they go out.

Spinner- A person who only bowls spin balls. Think of a ball spinning of the table in table tennis; a spinner can do this off the ground in cricket. Australia recently had the best spinner in the world (Shane Warne), but he has now retired. They have been tempted to play another spinner Brad Hogg, because they think their team needs one.

Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds- Both players in the Australian team who are selected for their batting, they do not usually bowl. But they were very successful in this match. This is the equivalent of Barry Bonds pitching a full game on the mound.

Whingers- Extremely sore complainers.

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