Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just thinking

I'm lacking anything really good to read at the moment. Yes I do have some text books to read, but I need some rest for my brain. After a busy couple of weeks of talking, planning, traveling (more traveling to come), I just want to read something relaxing. Melody got me started on John Grisham. Arrggh. I hate getting into something new that I really enjoy. I'm kind of an all or nothing guy. I read "The Testament", "A Painted House" and "Bleachers" consecutively, and then found myself starving for more. They were three very different books. One of them was a lawyer novel, but I am told the best of them, another about a struggling cotton farming family in Arkansas and another about a football team. His writing style is excellent and varied across the different novels. When we were staying at a friends place in Novo, she had a whole stack of Grisham novels. I wanted to read them all but realised I didn't even have time to read one. Reading a book in English is a luxury when you live in a foreign country.

After being away from the internet for 6 days I realised that the world keeps going with out you. I looked up the news pages to find out that Adam Gilchrist is retiring from cricket and Heath Ledger died. Not to say that I don't have compassion for the Ledger family, but his death does sound a little suspicious. Ledger was a good actor to be sure, I really enjoyed him in Ned Kelly. He will be missed from acting. I can't help but think that he may have slipped into a dark eternity. Of course I could be wrong.

Gilchrist's retirement from the Australian team is a bit of a bomb shell. Just a few months ago Hayden and Gilchrist said that they would be around for a few more years to give staibility to the Australian team, considering that 4 players retired last Summer. So it does feel a little strange to see Gilchrist retire now. Nine years in the test team was really not long enough for one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Perhaps the Australian selectors need to find future stars when they are younger and stop selecting players that are nearly 30. I do wonder if the Indian Premier League in April was an incentive for Gilchrist to retire. The allure of big money there, may have tempted him to cancel his Australian commitment a little earlier than normal.

Regardless of his reasons. Gilchrist is moving on. Ricky Ponting says that the team has done a good job rebuilding in the last year. But have they? They have only played six tests since the last four departed a year ago. Sri Lanka were uninspiring, and India gave Australia a real run for their money. I'm not very worried though, Australian cricket has a lot of depth. Ponting pointed out that Indian players will be retiring soon as well. Considering that India are the only country that can match Australia, they will also have a rebuilding period coming up.

World cricket may be more competitive over the next couple of years. Australian fans actually want a competition to watch. This will present a new challenge to the Australian team, something they will relish. There are fewer players in the team that are capable of brilliance. Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds are now the senior batsmen. Lee is the only senior bowler. That means that more than 50% of the team are inexperienced, and now without an experienced wicket keeper. A wicket keeper is central in a team, and it is hard when one retires during a period of retirement.

Australia have an easier six months ahead of them. The tour to Pakistan is likely to be cancelled (which would have been tough). A series in the Caribbean will not be taxing, neither will a home series against Bangladesh. This should give the team 6 tests to get themselves sorted out before playing India away, and then a tough Summer at home.

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