World Cup and a rant ..

I haven’t written much since the Ashes series.

The one-day series in Australia didn’t excite me at all. 

This world cup has not excited me – and why would it?  It has been set up so that the top 8 teams are all but guaranteed of making the knock-out stages.  What was the point of the first 6 matches?  Not a lot as far as I can tell.  England did their best to make it exciting – although in all fairness to Ireland and Bangladesh, those boys pulled some simply phenomenal performances out … but at the end of the day, guess what, the top 8 qualify, and the TV rights are safe.

I am also no Ricky Ponting apologist.  I have continually read that he has been the Australian skipper for 9 year.  It doesn’t seem that long to me – but that may be because I still consider the test arena to be the be all …

I recently watched (under duress) Halle Barry’s Catwoman movie … half-way through Halle get’s “cat powers” from a magical cat.  Upon seeing the scene I remarked – “That is the WORST creation of superpowers EVER!” – and so far, the same applies to this world cup.  The worst confirmation of cricketing poweress ever … it was exciting in 2007 when Ireland knocked out Pakistan.  Imagine the scenes in the UK if Ireland’s victory this time around had done the same to England?  That win deserved to be rewarded, but it wasn’t.  Solely due to the TV rights and surrounding issues.

I love that the “minnows” are in the tournament, and the difference that they can make.  But with this set up, even a major amazing performance was not going to change the quarter finals.  All the big sides realised from the start that they had 8 warm up games, then 3 knock-out finals … and the best (or perhaps luckiest on the day) side would win the World Cup.

But that is not my main gripe with this World Cup.

Not even close – it was my initial gripe, but that was forgotten before it even started.

My biggest gripe is two-fold … it is the beatification of Sachin Tendulkar and the absolute be-deviling (sorry I don’t know the appropriate opposite of beatification) of Ricky Ponting – this includes the non-stop press efforts (in Australian and the UK) to destabilise and get rid of him, the Indian Cricket Boards attempt at getting him suspended, and the “courageous” CA Board member who secretly released information suggesting that Ricky’s days as Captain are over.

The case for Ricky was put much more eloquently than I could every try by Greg Baum a couple of days ago in The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/sport/cricket/not-the-messiah-hes-a-very-naughty-boy-20110317-1byxx.html) – unfortunately some of the comments didn’t understand the point that Mr Baum was making.  So I am going to try in a much more simple way.

Ricky Ponting is an out and out champion.  He is not the best captain I have seen play for Australia … he is not even the best captain I have played under – but he is the best bloke for the job in that team right now. 

The CA “mole” has really upset me for a number of reasons – firstly, that it was right that we should get rid of Ponting for Clarke so that “we can get the younger market, which is really important to the CA” … seriously?  I mean SERIOUSLY??  Clarke couldn’t skipper his way out of the fkn (sorry mum) harbour on a chartered yacht  And yet, he makes a few scores, gets through against a side that turned  up to play test cricket and didn’t give a toss about the one-day series, and lost the unloseable match against Sri Lanka is apparently the guy we should turn to.  Obviously his completely inept attempt with the test team has already been forgotten.

Oh … oh – let’s not forget – he has tats, he is popular with the “celebrity” ladies … clearly that is what will take the cricket world forward in Australia.  For goodness sake – I am thinking of proposing a show to ITV2 of Katie Price and Clarke getting together in Sydney nightspots…

Then there was the “box into the TV” incident.  In short, anyone who is criticising Ricky for “piffing” his box with an enormous amount of force towards his bag after being run out clearly hasn’t played cricket at ANY level, let alone for their country.  I played some reasonably serious cricket as a younger man, and then less serious as I got older.  I am a reasonable person most of the time, and in normal circumstances, am reasonably hard to rile up.  But EVERY SINGLE TIME I was out, I was pretty ropable.  Sometimes more than others, but smashing a box at a bag was probably the least of my sins. 

This bloke is the top cricketer in the nation.  He is (probably) the best cricketer for Australia of all time (apart, arguably, than Bradman) and he gets run out in a World Cup match, when he is fighting back from a pretty horrific (from a cricketer’s perspective due to its effect) injury … and he cracks the “sads”. 

So fkn (sorry mum again) what!!

In all honesty I prefer that he actually cares – even against Zimbabwe!

Most of that story eventuated from the Indian press … like lemmings the Australians followed.  There was talk of “proof that he smashed the TV with his bat” … nothing was ever made of this – why not?  And yet, this was what Ricky was called to account on in the MEDIA … in reality he did some minor damage to a TV, apologised immediately and paid for the repairs … but oh no, we have a Ricky out of control …

It gets worse … heaven forbid a bloke under the ball who has called for the catch, and then still manages to make the catch despite being pummelled into by the “shows heaps of talent, but hasn’t done anything, and wouldn’t be in the side if he was from Victoria at this point” kid tries to take an AFL style “speckie” – despite the repeated call by the bloke under it.  If I was Ricky, having taken that catch I would have reacted similarly.  If I was the skipper of a side (which I was for more than a decade) and saw a young “Turk” spoil an easy out with that tomfoolery – you wouldn’t want to know what I would have said to them … so a throw to the ground then move to celebrate …  he’s a better man than I!

Finally – so far in terms of the Ricky disgust – he didn’t walk when he knicked one … yeah … and?  There has been a lot of chat about his apparent “hypocrisy” for his blow up in Melbourne … the issue there was that Pieterson said he hit it, “hot spot” said there was a touch (after many hours of watching it became apparent to the Sky Commentary boys that it was pad that caused that) … HOWEVER, they thought they had him, KP was blowing steam as he does, and the big screen showed a nick … would you not be a little upset in such circumstances?  His behaviour was not acceptable, but in my opinion understandable.  He was told, and saw on the scoreboard that KP had hit it, and was annoyed that the video rep had determined otherwise.

But anyway – he hit it, he waited for the Umpire to make the call.  The umpire said not out. The Pakistani team called for a review, and he was given.  All good.  Ponting has had some pretty bad umpire calls in the past (bollocks LBW on debut when on 96, caught behind against Sri Lanka when his position was in question), as well as some good ones – so why not wait for the decision?  I am a walker, but I am not playing for my livelihood, for my country.  I have no problem with someone in that position waiting for a decision.

However try to tell that to the English or the Indians … or as it would appear the Australian public – which actually disgusts me.

Conversely – look at the “sainthood” that is being bestowed on Sachin for walking in a match that didn’t matter … I think he is the best talent and most amazing batsman that I have ever seen play the game – but I have seen him sit tight on a number of occasions when he was out.  I have seen him make up testimony (and that is based on his earlier testimony about the event) relating to the scumbad “badgi” when he racial abused Andrew Symonds.  I have seen him have hissy fits that are now apparently only undertaken by Ponting … that would be the same tour where the BCCI threatened to pull out of if they weren’t forgiven, and ultimately completely fkd (sorry 3rd time mum) up Andrew Symonds …

Tendulkar is an amazing batsman.  He has undergone amazing amounts of pressure from his homeland and fans.  He is not a Saint, and he is not any different from Ponting in his desire to win and his desire to do well.

In short, I hope the Aussie team smash India, with Ponting scoring a ton and the CA bloke gets outsted … reality suggests that India will get over the line, Ricky will (after a “proper and fair” review) be quietly sidelined from the side … and we will start focusing on the T20 SHITE to get the “younger” market …

As a complete aside – what is Ian Chappel’s problem … (yeah I know there are heaps) with Afridi?

And finally – thank goodness the real stuff has come back – let’s go you good thing Pies (and a shout out to Mark Webber this weekend)!!

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