Tuesday, November 28, 2006
A Marvellous Summer Down Under
I would write something about India's performances in South Africa, but I consider myself fortunate in having not watched the games, and therefore I shan't bother. There really weren't any surprises there. The wickets have pace and bounce, and only Rahul Dravid coped. Simple, and expected. The sooner Indian fans stop expecting the unreasonable, the happier their lives will become.
In the meantime, what of England? I am particularly concerned by their capitulation as I'm going to be spending 5 days (I hope) in the member's enclosure at the WACA in a couple of weeks, and I'd like to see a true contest. Unfortunately, it appears as if England caved in before they even started. The team selection was defensive, and betrayed a remarkable lack of confidence on the part of the Ashes holders.
I'm a big fan of playing your two best openers, your four best middle order batsmen, your four best bowlers, and your best keeper. If one of those provides all-round capabilities, then all the better. If it were up to me, I'd be going in with: Strauss, Cook, Bell, Collingwood, Pietersen, Owais Shah, Flintoff, Read, Hoggard, Harmison, Panesar.
Three medium pacers, your best spinner, and the occasional bowling of Pieterson, Collingwood and Bell to supplement. Bring in a youngster with some spunk to add to the batting depth (Shah), and pick a keeper who can inspire with the gloves, and do the job standing up to Panesar. Back yourself, and play aggressive cricket.
Instead, we're going to see: Strauss, Cook, Bell, Collingwood, Pietersen, Flintoff, Jones, Giles, Hoggard, Anderson, Harmison - with maybe Panesar in for Harmison/Anderson if Duncan Fletcher wakes up facing due East. Five batsmen, an all-rounder whose bowling is his strong suit, two players who are in the side for their batting, but pretend to keep and bowl respectively, and three bowlers, two of whom were a disaster last time out.
I'm off to Australia this weekend. Look out for reports on the 3rd Test, the England vs. Western Australia 2-day game, and most exciting of all, the Legends 20/20 International. Dean Jones, Kim Hughes, Big Merv, Bruce Reid, Terry Alderman and Dennis Lillee, taking on Gatting, Stewart, Robin Smith, Devon Malcolm and Ian Botham.
Of course, none of that is ultimately important. Overshadowing all of this is the news that Billy Birmingham has finally released a new CD!! "Boned" promises to follow in the footsteps of his prior work. If you haven't heard The Twelfth Man, you need to get out more, and when you do, start by getting a hold of his CDs. You're looking for:
Wired World of Sports, The 12th Man Again!, Still the 12th Man, Wired World of Sports 2, Bill Lawry... This Is Your Life, The Final Dig, and now, Boned! I've actually never heard the Bruce 2000 Olympic album, but I'm sure it's just as good.
Who could avoid laughing at Sunil Have-A-Cigar going for a slash outside off stump; or Rubbish Binny being left out... only for nobody to collect him; or Max Walker's attempts to be re-instated to the commentary team; or Bill Lawry completely losing it; or the ProtectoCam, CrackCam and Scrotometer... the list is endless.