This photo is far more effective than if I used a few hundred words to ask what Luke Wright brings to the team.
So one thing led to another, and the Crown Prosecution Service’s charging of the three players involved in Majeed-gate was followed soon after by the ICC’s announcement that sanctions against the trio had been carried out, temporarily putting the whole thing to bed (it might as well rest, it’s far from over).
The ruling was a strange one, given all the rambling about minimum charges being harsh in exceptional circumstances and whatnot, as for the time being, all three have been banned from cricket for the same amount of time (Butt and Asif have five and two suspended years). Given the CPS’ charging of the three, there’s still the court date and the players’ appeals against their bans from the ICC to provide more in the saga.
Five years is quite a long time in a cricketer’s career, so what might they get up to in the meantime?
The now ex-captain’s been dropped so times in the past by his selectors that the first year or two of his ban probably won’t feel any different to any other in his career. If he’s serious about possibly being picked again if and when he returns, perhaps he could find someone to work on his running between the wickets. That all depends on whether anyone wants to go out to play with him to be honest, I can’t imagine him being all that popular back in Pakistan at the moment.
If you were to measure the amount of sympathy from the cricketing world that these three are getting, Amir’s probably got 99.9999% of it. When you consider that Steve Finn was the next best thing on the nominations list for the ICC Emerging Player award, you can kind of see just how big an ‘exciting opening bowler’ shaped hole has been left in world cricket. Of the three, at least he can seek solace in the fact that, at 18, he at least has a relative chance of playing cricket at the highest level again. One wonders if he’ll be invited to enough back garden games to stay sharp in the meantime. I mean, I’d be more than happy to have him round for a game, if our back garden was actually long enough for a regulation length wicket. And he’d still be limited to a two step run up.
While his bowling has never been reliant on express pace, by the time Asif returns from his ban, he’ll probably be just a bit too old and rusty to play international cricket again, but given Pakistan’s tendency for strange selection choices, I suppose he can’t be counted out just yet. Other than that, for probably the most intelligent bowler I can think of in recent times, he sure is a div off the playing field – he probably thinks spaghetti trees are real after watching that fake documentary.
And what about corruption in cricket? Well that’s too big a question for my small mind to really give a decent answer, other than a bit of rambling about gambling not being legal on the subcontinent leaving the opportunity for shady gambling rings to exist and how the ICC’s anti-corruption unit being outdone by some tabloid hack dressed up as a fake sheikh leads me to believe that they might as well all dress up as wealthy Arabs and see if it works again.
If I had to pick my biggest jip with cricket, it would probably be how quickly the atmosphere surrounding a triumph in one format can be flattened by your team getting battered in a different form of the game. England, emphatic Ashes winners, are still in Australia (home of some crap Test cricketers) playing more cricket, only not as well as when the kits were white, or off-white in Australia’s case.
It’s quite a rare thing for sportspeople to suffer – it’s not like Rafael Nadal’s fans are ever in uproar following a dominant performance at Roland Garros because it turns out that he’s quite shit at playing table tennis with a desert spoon.
Some folk just like a good moan. And they’re in for a treat if England carry their ODI form into next month, because the World Cup begins. Yes, the supposed biggest prize in world cricket, and they’re currently a bit toss. You couldn’t coach timing like this from out of a textbook.
Such was the eventual feeling of this Test being a baked good stroll for England, I forgot to come up with anything decent to write for this post-mortem. Not that I was any better prepared when I wrote the other four, but I like to get my excuses in early and whatnot. Perhaps I could land Cricket Australia’s press release writing gig if I play my cards right.
A lot of talk after Melbourne was how retaining the urn was for nothing if Australia managed to level the series at the SCG, so it was nice to see England not only avoid bottling it, but also absolutely eviscerate Australia like they enjoyed doing with the roles reversed over the last 24 years. Three innings defeats in a series, that’s absolutely mental!
Anyways, time flies when you’re enjoying yourself, and with the series now being over, I’m going to have to find something else to write about in this blog. Does anything else happen in cricket?
What with Ricky Ponting finally succumbing to his broken finger (a handy excuse besides the run of shite form and desperate captaincy), the reins have been left in the hands of Michael Clarke for the final Ashes Test. Some of the reactions to this reminded me of events which happened a little closer to home (Kent, before you ask).
After popularity in the early days, the recent luckless runs following the retirement of all the Oz greats, support for Ricky Ponting’s captaincy became as thin as it seemed to for Tony Blair back when he was busy taking us to whatever war the USA were going to. It looks like these parallels are set to continue, with Michael Clarke being a slightly more aesthetically pleasing Gordon Brown of some sort.
Not that I don’t think that Gordon Brown got an unfair rap as PM, but he just couldn’t get people to like him, and I’m currently aware of more people hating Michael Clarke than having favourable things to say about him.
I wasn’t entirely sure if I could stretch this analogy any further, but then after hearing that Andrew Hilditch reckoned their seamers had bowled well recently, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Australia having two captains taking the field in the near future.
Mental Disintegration isn’t the kind of place where you find folk being kicked while they’re down. Given the circumstances however, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to indulge in the art for a bit.
For the first time in my existence on this spinning stone, England have retained the Ashes on tour Down Under. I’ve seen a fair share of false dawns in international cricket, hopefully this achievement isn’t going to be one of them. There’s still a Test to play in Sydney and it would be quite disappointing if it became apparent that certain feet had been taken off of the momentum gas pedal.
So much for kicking them while they’re down, perhaps I’m just more polite than I thought. Suppose everyone else is doing it on my behalf.
So the collective feeling of English optimism was quickly sent running for the hills with its tail between its legs in Perth, and my body clock was utterly wrecked by the fact that the WACA’s in a different time zone. What a nice sequence of events it proved to be.
I suppose that it was inevitable that all the voices of dissent would emerge from the woodwork after a match like them, so I thought I’d join in.
Suddenly this series has exploded with unpredictability. Good for Test cricket, bad for people who make relatively safe bets.