We’ve had our fun with Test cricket and possibly even more fun with the Big Bash League (especially with the stump microphones turned up to eleven), and now it’s time to reign in the good times with the beginning of the Tri-Nation One-Day International Series as a quick warm-up for the ODI World Cup starting on 14 February, which makes an ideal date night for Valentine’s Day, as nothing says, “I love you, schmoopie” like watching a cricket match and swearing at every ball bowled between the overs of 15 and 40 (that’s 150 balls, for those playing at home), but refusing to not watch the game in case “something happens.”
The One-Dayer doesn’t pull the crowds like it used to, but that’s not going to stop Cricket Australia from giving their fielding-restricted, batsman-friendly, security-conscious, calculated-innings and predictable-run-chase form of the game another outing. This year, we have invited England to watch two proper teams playing to win the claim as the Number One ODI team in the world, which will be nice for everyone, although in typical Pom behaviour, they have complained about touring Australia as they have to stay in hotels, whereas the last time they toured in South Africa, each member of the English team was able to stay with their parents.
The Tri-Series will be a great litmus test for the World Cup, as we will see just how out-of-form Shane Watson is, how England’s plan to only bring one bowler on tour will go, and just how much of a motherfucking deity Virat Kohli is. Australia’s team (without perennially injured captain Michael Clarke) have made a combined 19 ODI centuries, England a modest (and possibly over-achieving) 15, whereas Virat Kohli has put together 21 ODI hundreds by himself. However, it will be interesting to follow the rest of the Indian team’s progress through the tournament, as they will be in the unfamiliar position of not playing for a draw.
It will also be of particular interest to note the quality of the Australian and Indian fielding, which was, fair to say, fucking shithouse during the recent Tests, with neither side looking like they’d be able to catch an STD in a Bangkok brothel during the whole series. I’m sure the English team are licking their lips in anticipation of being able to say, “At least I can catch better than you!” as they are taunted by Ishant Sharma, after he has knocked over their top four batsman with innocuous, straight, medium-paced deliveries that do not deviate off the pitch nor in the air. And Ishant will be licking HIS lips in anticipation of being the player who doesn’t look the most like a lesbian when Joe Root makes his way onto the ground.
Australian Xavier Doherty has been given another opportunity to add to his impressive international experience for the tri-series and World Cup events, as he strives to perfect 12th man duties including mixing the cordial, delivering fresh gloves to the batsmen and buffing Shane Watson’s front pad to ensure it absorbs all impact of the ball as he plants it in front of middle stump.
And so we tune into Channel 9 and look forward to an extravaganza of day-night commentary prowess, with Ian Chappell complaining about the size of the bats that modern-day players use, how much protective gear they wear, and the time that he had to wear his brother’s trousers in a warm-up match in 1968 because the button had fallen off. Slats and Warney will talk about the 90s era of cricket while Mark Tubby Taylor highlights the oft-overlooked aspects of the great game such as “Australia would like a wicket right now” and “the last thing India want to do is lost a wicket right now” and James Brayshaw tries his hardest to be acknowledged as an ex-cricketer. Mark Nicholas will hold the KFC commentary team together by ensuring they all mention the sponsors as often as is Bunningsly possible during the Toyota change-of-innings and the ever-popular Taubman’s Cricket Trivia segment, courtesy of Optus and Harvey Norman’s half-yearly January sale.
The sun is out, the umpires are in position and George Bailey is ready to toss.
|Oh god yes|