Aahhhh.. The Ashes... the Marquee event of cricket... the trailer and climax of the movie named "cricket", the wrapper and core of the chocolate that's named cricket, the oxygen of cricket, without which the game is so incomplete!
Cometh the southern summer, cometh the Aussie Ashes! This December, England and Australia will once lock horns and battle for pride. But this time, it is not going to be the real test of character, strength, skills or very many things of that sort. This must be one of the funniest sounding build up to the Ashes!
First thing first!
If I had an exam tomorrow, I would rather be preparing for it, than watch a movie, visit a theme park and go on a tiring ride for 100 miles down the countryside. If Australia were wanting to prepare for the Ashes, I do not see how they would do the same by playing in India just a month before the Ashes! Blows me down! The conditions are completely different. At Perth, anyone can send a sniffer ball at even Ishant Sharma. At Mohali we saw the Wester Australian all rounder, Marcus North, shouldering arms to a Zak delivery that sent a flying kiss to the bail, which was romantically stunned and fell down. If you wanted to give the comeback man, Hauritz, a chance to tweak his way to form from a back injury, INDIA was a poor choice of opponent. Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid and Laxman can milk most world class spinner as easily as Usain Bolt can win the 100m heat against Inzamam-ul-Haq carrying Arjuna Ranatunga on his shoulders with his legs tied together. Hauritz did get Laxman in the first innings but got "beat-up" by him in the second. He wished it was the other way round...
"He flicks the ball to the mid wicket for four, and then hits the same ball that pitched at the exact same point through the covers for four! How do you bowl to him and set a field to that ball?" - David "Bumble" Lloyd on VVS Laxman
Ah well, I don't know what superstition Cricket Australia were following to come to India and hold the second successive Indian Border-Gavaskar trophy, the fizz of the last 2-0 drubbing yet to die out. Having decided to tour their recent nemesis, why couldn't the two boards, CA and BCCI decide to have a 4 or 5 test series? Two test series? Border Gavaskar trophy? Sigh! I don't know how sad those two legends must be, their names tarnished, burnt in poor quality fuel, blown in the air to unknown land of pathetic decision making! A test series is a joke. It shows nothing. Its more of luck than anything. Players don't get chances, you can't learn. If you think your knowledge increased...too late, the series is over for yourself to find out for yourself. 1-0, or 1-1 says nothing. A 2-0 may show some resurgence. But a 5 test series with 2-0 after the first 2 games will still be interesting. There is so much drama after it. 2 test series...sigh! What prevented the two sides from playing a 4 or 5 test series? Aus were not busy. Nor were India.
Bangladesh ever played more than 3 tests in a series??? Ahh... yes, against the West Indies, the West Indies team that would've played better blindfolded than open eyes... Rather, we should've been blindfolded. No one could watch that squad, that made Tony Cozier almost cry in dismay.
Even in gully cricket, we played at least 3 matches a day!
And yes. No Slater, Taylor, Chappel, Border in the commentary box for this India-Aus series! Michael Bevan and Brad Hogg are novice. Talks about the level of interest that the Australians have lent to this series. And of course, we have to put up with Laxman Sivarama Krishnan who claimed live on air that the phenomenon of the ball moving to the rough side is called reverse swing. Dropped dead...twice!
As long as Wilbur Sargunaraj doesn't start commentating, I can breathe cricket.
After India displaced Australia from the top for the first time in their last tour and then Aus hit their lowest position when South Africa beat them down under and when Pakistan made things worse for Australia sending them to 4th spot, Aus are just one point atop England. England would have a bucket party running for a whole week if Australia loses this test series 1-0 or 2-0, whichever is the minimum requirement to dock those point(s) off Australia. How would Australia feel to be fifth in an eight-man race? We will see...we may see. Their series in India is far from over.
KP might be telling his son. "look sonny, We are better than the Aussies. remember this moment. You tell your kids that you saw this happen". Or will he tell his son after the winter "You know what sonny, I grew up in an era when Australia were ranked better than England. hmmm... you won't be able to see that anytime soon, sorry"
As for England, they would rather try sending Jimmy Anderson to a flatter surface in a dry atmosphere as he can't carry the atmosphere of Trent Bridge everywhere he travels. And yes, it's Kookaburra. If you want to get wickets only by swinging the ball, you have five overs to live in a day.
In other news, Madhusudhan Panesar makes a comeback into the squad that travels to the Ashes. A squad to which KP did make it, despite his patweetic form off late, including that 80 runs that featured 3 drop catches, two UDRS survivals, 1 survival thanks to the unavailability of further UDRS appeals...after which he lifted his bat in appreciation of the crowd's patience to have put up with his show of "fortune favours the brave". KP is now in South Africa to get some form back on pitches that might resemble Australian pitches better than Indian pitches.
"I don't know why New Zealand charged Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag when they arrived at New Zealand with slightly unpolished shoes, but welcome Ponting every other summer despite watching him use his hands as his saliva's wash basin." - Bagrat