So as I was lying on my deathbed last week, I began counting my blessings (as you do). Hilarious, witty, charming, handsome... It was a long list. Anyway, my blessings apparently don't include "being awesomely good at cricket" which is something that I will always regret. I am guessing that Ricky Ponting will have the same issues when his time comes (hopefully next Friday).
And then I got better and my deathbed reverted to being my normal bed again, which was nice. Less brooding. I should change the sheets though.
"Not being awesomely good at cricket" has meant that I've been left out of the Aussie squad that is attempting to quash the old enemy and retain that tiny little urn that is all things dinky-di-true-blue-she'll-be-right-cobber-blokey-Dazzler-Davo-hooroo-matey-tinnie-barbie-Oz - the Ashes. The Ashes are steeped in tradition, and the popular version is that the trophy holds the actual ashes of the bails that were burnt in the first game in which Australia defeated England, signifying the 'death of English cricket.' I would prefer if the captain of the losing side was burnt and his ashes were put into an egg cup, but that's just me.
The recent fight to be the Ashes' holder has been a bit dicey - it was Australia for about a million years, then England won them back (possibly by cheating) in 2005, then Australia desmolished the pack of under 12 girls that the Poms sent out here to defend them in 2007. Will the see-saw of cricketing power continue to do what see-saws do, or will Australia regain their once-solid grip on the Ashes urn like a piece of blu-tac that cannot be removed from a wall? Will England surprise the Aussies as if they were the unsuspecting recipients of a surprise-party, or fall like baby giraffes with bad hips?
Time will tell. So will the scoreboard.
Australian cricket has been in a bit of a slump lately; we convincingly lost to India, couldn't even beat the Kiwis and drew with the Saffas. Zimbabwe and the Bangladeshis were pissing in their pants with excitement to have a hit against the Aussies and finally beat someone other than themselves, but they couldn't afford to tour after the clever dicks at Cricket Australia withdrew their "Save the Children" donations.
So who has been picked to head over to Londontown to defend the Australian honour? These guys:
Ricky Ponting (captain)
To be more correct, 'captain' should be prefixed by 'should not be' and suffixed with 'let alone be in the team' and have the parenthesis taken off so his name would be "Ricky Ponting should not be captain let alone be in the team". I may have over-explained that. I don't like Punter at all, and if he fails in this campaign, should kiss his career, sponsorships, wife and acorn collection goodbye.
Michael Clarke (vice-captain)
On his day, Pup is the goods. When it's not his day, he's an embarrassment to anyone who has ever said, "That Michael Clarke's a good player." While being highly revered for his prowess against spin bowling, he consistently gets out to them fairly cheaply and some (me) would say, rather stupidly. With some fitness concerns, way too many tattoos and shit hair, Clarkey is the next generation of Australian cricketers. And he has a wife who I can never make up my mind as to whether she's hot or not.
Despite being a dirty-firsty, Stuart Clark is possibly my favourite guy called Stuart that I know. Possibly. He's a no-nonsense kind of bowler, hits a good length and keeps the batsmen honest. Will probably get tonked for a million in England though, as he's just had surgery on his entire skeleton and looks like he would probably rather be sinking piss and eating pies than having to spend another tour with Ponting gnawing away in his ear.
Haddo is the first-choice wicket-keeper which is a definite worry as he struggles at the very basics of cricket, such as catching the ball. Considering that the only bowlers that Australia have are pacemen, the ball shouldn't be that hard to grab when you're standing about 60 metres away from the guy who's chucking it to you, but he finds a way. Haddin has spent some time in Struggletown with the bat, but has also scored a few decent knocks as well. So he's a loose cannon. I probably should have said that to start with instead of going on about his "sometimes there" skills. Personally, I think he looks like the kind of guy you'd love to hit in the balls with a pool cue and not feel bad about it.
Dear me. Dearie dearie me. The only spinner picked to tour is this guy - which says a lot about the Australian spin bowlers at the moment. Hauritz possesses a devastating 'straight ball' that he will use at least six times an over. Remember when the phrase "Australian spin bowler" used to make the English batsmen cry? Yeah, cherish those memories.
For fuck's sake, I AM AVAILABLE TO PLAY, AUSTRALIAN SELECTORS! I can't bat or bowl, my throwing arm is custard and I have a tendency to drop really easy catches. Why Hilfy over me? No idea. The universe is a puzzling place. At least my name reads like it's actually a completed word; if you had a shirt with "Hilfenhaus" written on the back, you'd probably think that a few letters fell off in the washing machine, and you'd go mental trying to find them.
Sounds very regal, doesn't it? "Hello, my name is Phillip Hughes. Fetch me some rose water." However, I think the guy's actually a bit of a bogan, and I doubt anyone has ever called him Phillip (even his mum). Phil can bat like a little fucking champion, and even though he's only 20, should have been in the Aussie team about 7 years ago. That'd shut that Tendulkar bloke up, wouldn't it? "Meh meh meh, I was in the national side when I was 15 (or something). Meh meh meh." Tendulkar and Hughesy then could have had a contest to see whose balls dropped first. My money's on Tendulkar, though.
Michael Hussey? Michael? It's Mike, you stupid newsite that I copied this list from. Mike. The Huss is scratching around like a blind, demented rooster in a pile of syphyllis at the moment, and a lot of people have lost faith in him. Not me though. No way. Well, maybe a little. But I still love him. Just, you know... not as much as I used to.
Australia's latest revelation. Mitch stands out for his consistent ability to bowl fast, take wickets, field well and score runs against different types of bowling. But then, it's not hard to stand out for doing that with this pack of idiots surrounding you. It'd be like Raphael sitting in a tank of regular turtles and proclaiming himself to be better than them because he has ninja skills. Whether Johnson will be able to shoulder most of the responsibility of actually playing cricket for Australia while the other guys lick windows and wave to strangers on the bus is another thing entirely. Look for an injury in game three, I reckon.
The Kat has oft been overlooked for Test representation because he's not flashy, isn't arrogant, doesn't snort lines of coke off the backs of Asian prostitutes and generally does what cricketers should do, i.e. play cricket. And apparently he put Michael Clarke in a headlock and threatened to kill him for trying to pussy out of the team song after a rare Australian win, so he's definitely on my list of "awesome blokes." I'd invite the Kat around to play Playstation with me, but would always let him win because (a) I'm shit at Playstation, and (b) I reckon he'd get violently angry if he lost.
Brett Fucking Lee, welcome back, you show pony princess. This is Binga's official last roll of the dice for his cricket career, so he'd better perform. Personally, I hope he does; he seems like a good bloke. If I ever meet him, I think I'd try and get his autograph on a beer coaster or something, and then hang around him for way too long, talking about cricket and music and his brother (Shane) and his divorce and his sexuality and stuff. You know, just to make him a little uncomfortable because I'm a prick like that. Then I'd buy him a light beer and see if he takes it or not. Anyway, after having had some surgery to his hair, Bing has been thrown a lifeline to play for his country again, without having had any match practice in about seven years. Nice gamble, Aussies. My money's on black. Always bet on black.
A tourist - he's been picked as the back-up wicket keeper so he won't be used unless Haddin dies and his body is ripped apart by rabid wolves or something. Good fucking luck getting the gloves, Gram. I quite like his name, too. Manou. Manou. Nice.
Well, every team needs someone to pick on, right? Might as well be the ranga who can't bat, bowl or field. Macca thinks that's what Hilfy is in the team for, just quietly, so don't tell him. I am not impressed with anything this guy does on the field, but he's actually pretty funny and intelligent off it. Welcome to being a fish out of water with this lot, tiges. Enjoy your trip to England, don't forget to call your mum when you arrive safely (shut up, my mum made me do it as well).
Northy. Northo. Northwah. I've don't really have much to say about him, other than adding a different sound onto the end of his surname. Northington. The best thing about Northqueensland is that he's keeping Andrew Fucking Symonds out of the team, which is just fucking dandy by me. There's a movie called "Goal" about some idiot guy called Santiago who plays soccer and somehow goes from having a social kick-around in the slums of Guatamala (or something) to play in the Premier League (or something) in about two weeks. Every time there was a test of his skill, fitness or moral fibre, Santiago would fail it and then say, "Give me another chance!" and the coach would say, "Yeah ok," and Santi would prove himself until his next hurdle, and he'd just ask for another chance, which was then granted again. It was quite an annoying film, come to think of it, and everyone who was in the room with me while I was watching it knows just how angry I was with the poor scripting and soccer-goal-sized plot holes (sorry Todd). Anyway, Andrew Symonds was like Santiago. I'm so glad he's finally run out of chances, and Marcus Northumberland has been given a shot. This is a really long write-up on a guy that I know next to nothing about that somehow mentions a movie that I didn't like about a sport I don't know much about and a cricket player who wasn't picked for the Ashes tour. Gooooal!
I am going to give this guy the nickname 'Piddle.' Piddle looks like he's from the same block of granite that Andy Fucking Bichel was carved out of - not too flash, but with a heart so big his chest can barely cope with the load. Through sheer determination, Piddle will knock over a few Pommies, but won't get anywhere near Glenn McGrath status. He might go so far as to reach the lofty standards of Scott Muller though. If I was a fast bowler, I'd use this guy as inspiration to realise that skill has nothing to do with getting a baggy green and playing for Australia.
Shane Watson (subject to fitness)
The phrase "subject to fitness" is the clincher. He is not fit. The guy just isn't built for moving, which is a bad trait for someone who plays sport for a living to have. Snapped hamstrings, torn groin muscles, pectoral weakness, hairline fractures of his entire spine, shaving cuts, cuticles, this guy has it all. Why he's being picked for an Ashes tour is completely beyond me; I mean the guy can't even help out by carrying someone's kitbag or his arm would drop off. Maybe he's a good photographer and he can be the guy that everyone hands their cameras to while they pose with the guards at Buckingham Palace. Remember Watto - half press to focus, then full press to take the photo. And make sure everyone's in the shot (except for McDonald, the loser).
So what are our chances of retaining the Ashes? Pray for rain, lads. Pray for rain.