Thursday, November 29, 2012

Farewell to a true Aussie legend - thanks for those 9 runs, Rob Quiney

I was *this* close to posting something that wasn’t about sport, but then I read that Ricky T. Ponting is retiring and couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon.  I’m going to try and run him over in it.  In what?  In the bandwagon.  You know it’s not a real wagon, right?  Then what am I going to do with this horse?

After a cricketing career that has over-stayed its welcome by around 17 years, former Australian Test captain (remember those dark days?) Ricky Ponting announced today the news that the world was waiting to hear:  he is shit and won’t be bothering anyone anymore, particularly the scorers, who he hasn’t bothered for quite some time anyway.  

Congratulations on a fine career, Punter.  I especially enjoyed the part of it when you had a goatee.  

The third Test between Australia and South Africa kicks off tomorrow in Perth, and due to the time difference, it means that everyone else in Australia will still be able to watch the final session when they come home from work.  Bugger it, might as well hit the pub to watch it.  Your shout.

This has been a hotly contested series so far.  Either Australia has put up a way stronger fight than people (me) expected, or South Africa have been a bit shitter than we realised.  The winner of this series will also be crowned “Topsest Cricket Team in the World” so it is a bit surprising that Australia have gone into the series with two specialist fielders in their team in the form of Ponting and Quiney.  South Africa tried to match the amount of useless players allowed on the field by snapping JP Duminy’s leg in an after stumps “accident” and then the selection of Imran Tahir.  Jacques Kallis knocked over Ponting (literally), then got all fat and lazy on himself and tore a bum muscle so he didn’t have to bowl anymore.  Or field.  Or do anything except eat pies and perve on Mike Hussey.  That was you, Mister Evil Breakfast.  Yes.  Yes it was.  

Test cricket at its finest was on display in Adelaide, as the Aussie bowlers tried for the best part of two days to take ten SAFFA wickets.  Well, maybe “tried” is the wrong word to use, especially for Hilfenhaus, but it doesn’t sound right to say “the Aussie bowlers went through the motions for the best part of two days to take ten SAFFA wickets.”  Actually, it does work.  Suck on that, Hilfy.  Pattinson proved again that kids these days are soft, after walking off the field with a side strain.  A side strain?  Fuck mate, just invent a muscle that you can pretend you’ve pulled, don’t give me this side strain bullshit.  Toughen up, princess.

Massive kudos to Faf du Plessis, who officially wins the award for the most awesome name in recent memory after withstanding about sixty overs of boredom from Nathan Lyon.  At one point it looked like Faf was nodding off, but replays showed that he was in fact, ‘just resting his eyes’ and proved to be a fairly large thorn in the Australian team’s side.  On that note, Centrebet is paying 4-1 that Shane Watson will actually be injured by a thorn in his side and will not take part in the third game at all, parking his arse next to Pattinson so they can compare side injuries.  And perve on Mike Hussey.

Australia have upped the useless factor for the deciding match by selecting Mitchell “I thought he was dead too” Johnson to bowl a few wides and no balls, two things that were previously lacking from the Australian bowling attack.  At least the Australian selectors are consistently picking bowlers who cannot take wickets.  That means that Colin Miller might be due for a comeback.

To Perth we go – and even though I’ve been a bit fucking impressed with Australia (except for the obligatory top-order and tail-end collapse and their inability to take wickets), I don’t think their team selection for this game is particularly well-thought out.  If the WACA plays true to its reputation, South Africa’s pace bowlers should dominate, and their batsman will ride the bounce better than ours.  But since Australian pitches are becoming as docile as a goat on Panadeine Forte (trust me, they’re docile), it will become another flat-track battle and be decided by which bowling attack is slightly less shit.  Which will be South Africa. 

Ponting, thanks for all the great memories.  I’ll never forget the time you did… something.  

Friday, November 09, 2012

Cricket season 2012: Aus vs SAF, 1st Test. This headline does not contain a joke

And just like *that*, we’re back to the cricket season.  That makes a lot more sense if you haven’t been  checking this blog every day since the end of the NRL season in the hope that I’ve updated it, regardless of how often I’ve promised that “I’m totally about to post something really good about something that isn’t sport.”  You should know by now that I don’t (a) keep promises, and (b) nothing I write is ‘really good.’ 

At time of writing, it’s the eve of the first Test between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba.  At time of writing, captain Michael Clarke is delaying naming his team for the match, claiming that it is dependent on the weather, the pitch, who is injured, what his Tarot card reader recommends and what people on Twitter have to say about it.  

Of course, this means that Michael Clarke has no idea who is actually in his team to start with, because he was too busy getting his nails done when the squad was announced.  I’m pretty sure his first instinct is to bowl first, and give the new ball to Dennis Lillee, with Wasim Akram to share the duties from the Paddington end. 

With 19-year old pace ace Pat Cummins facing his second consecutive year on the sidelines after injuring an eyelash in the warm-up for a trial match against a touring junior Eskimo fourth-XI team last month.  This makes Cummins the most useless person on the Cricket Australia contract list, giving Mitchell Johnson and Cameron White their highest ranks since 2007.  Here’s hoping that Cummins is using his latest time away from playing cricket to find a career that won’t disappoint anyone regardless of how shit he is at it, like cleaning the food trays at McDonalds, or writing film scripts for Jennifer Aniston.         

Australia’s “secret plan” on howto defeat the South Africans was “accidentally” released this week,  which included Steven Hawking-worthy ideas such as “bowl short to Hashim Amla” and “bowl short to Jaques Kallis” as well as “attack the bowling of Morne Morkel” and  “attack the bowling of Imran Tahir.”  This story has of course been rejected by the Australian brains trust, of course, who would never admit to having a plan to defeat an opposition since Steve Waugh retired.  Obviously this has nothing to do with the fact that Australia has not successfully attacked a bowler since Steve Waugh retired, nor have they had any other tactic against quality batting except short-pitched bowling since Steve Waugh retired.  Let’s be honest, the only good thing about the Aussie bowling is seeing how sweaty the armpits of the umpires are getting every time they raise their arms above their heads when a six is hit.  Because that’s the signal for a six.  Because they do that a lot.  Because the Australian bowling is a bit shit.  I’m pretty sure I over-explained that.

Due to Shane Watson also being injured following a hair-gel mishap, Victorian Rob Quiney gets his first shot at playing for Australia.  Quiney is about to fall victim to what I like to call the “Aussie Usman Khawaja Syndrome” which is named after “Aussie” Usman Khawaja (I think I over-explained that too), which is the latest Australian trend to destroy young batsmen’s dreams by making them bat against the world’s best bowlers in the most important position in the batting line-up.  I know Ricky Ponting is geriatric and highly forgetful now, but surely he can remember his first season in the baggy green, walking into bat at position 6.  All he had to do was prove that he could keep a hold of the bat and try his darndest to hit the little red thing that was being piffed at his head.  Somehow, he made a career out of that and knocked up about 11,000 runs.  If Ponting or Clarke had any balls at all, they would protect Mr Q and face up to Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and that Philandererer bloke (details are my life) to prove that they are, in fact, worthy of wearing the Australian cap, being leaders of their country, and being on Rexona commercials.    

My opinion:  Australia need to go into the match with the best four bowlers they have, regardless of conditions.  This basically means that it should be a four-pronged pace attack, seeing as the only other option they have is Nathan Lyon, who bowls slow deliveries with an off-spinner’s action that reminds people of a spin bowler who achieved mild success for South Australia in the 1970s.  With all due respect to Lyon, Hauritz, Doherty, Beer, Krezja and every other bloke who rolls their fingers over the ball in their delivery stride, they should not play for Australia just because they are desperate for a spin bowler.  Unless they can actually move the ball off the pitch, they should be helping Phil Hughes wash windows at traffic lights, or find themselves a new cricket skill.

My prediction:  Australia will battle for two days.  Unfortunately, the game goes for five days and South Africa will battle harder and will get their first win at the Gabba since the dawn of man by over 100 runs.  Warner and Quiney to go cheaply, Morkel to take a shit-tin of wickets.  Third ball duck to Wade.  Duminy will be dropped twice as the Australian fielders make sure he gets enough time to bat himself back into form.  Clarke to get out just before lunch/tea/end of play and Hussey to be removed shortly after the resumption following lunch/tea/start of play.  Plenty of good sorts in the crowd, awkwardness from the Channel 9 commentary team discussing the new series of Big Bang Theory and Hugh Jackman to make a guest appearance at some stage.    

Making sure the camera picks up his latest bat sponsor just before he gets out like the massive girl that he is.