australia v new zealand

Pink Ball Nights

Some will call it historic. But futuristic is more appropriate.

Day-night Test cricket is almost here. How long it stays is anyone’s guess.

The outcome of events at the Adelaide Oval in the next few days will have an enormous impact on the concept. This has the potential to reshape the future of the world’s greatest game.

Everybody will have an opinion on the pink ball.

Adelaide will be radically different from the draw at the WACA last week. There will be a result.

Although in recent years Sheffield Shield matches have been played at night with the pink ball and New Zealand have just played a warm up match in similar conditions, both sides will step into the unknown.

This increases the mystery behind the occasion.

New conditions, altered playing times and different equipment will be tested.

The lunch and tea breaks have been swapped. The pitch has been doctored to suit the fragile pink ball and more grass than ever can be expected on a wicket likely to assist bowlers more than batsmen.

Huge crowds will flock through the gates and the scene will be spectacular. The striking images of the incredible India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup Match at the Adelaide Oval in 2015 will be remembered.

India Pak CWC2015

A result is assured on what is expected to be a seam bowlers paradise. Batting at dusk will be difficult.

Vision will be restricted as the setting sun competes with artificial lights. Facing a thunderous 150kmph spell from a pack of carnivorous fast bowlers will be tougher than usual.

Fielding in the deep won’t be fun either.

We all dread the skied shots that slowly make their way to us in the deep. They should be easy, but diving away in the gully for a one handed grab seems like a cinch after you try to chest mark a ‘sitter’ on the fence and it rockets off your collar bone for four.

If you’re not in Adelaide then get yourself down the local tomorrow afternoon and take a peak at cricket’s future.

India v South Africa

Can you believe it?

We’re into the Third Test between these two cricket juggernauts and the highest innings score so far is 215!

That’s right. India has prepared some feisty wickets for South Africa’s tour.

The first Test was a titanic battle and a revolving door for batsmen. India won by 108 runs and the Second Test was destroyed by rain after the Proteas were rolled for 214.

At Nagpur yesterday the Proteas knocked India over for 215 without the injured Dale Steyn or the dropped Vernon Philander. But they are 2/11 in reply.

Expect all out war on day two as South Africa battle to make a three figure score on a low spinners paradise in front of a massive Indian crowd.

 

 

 

 

Only Australia sledges the opposition…

New Zealand are a graceful team full of innocent, softly spoken men of praise, whereas Australia are arrogant, silver spooners who are both rude and unnecessarily aggressive.

If you’ve only been around the game of cricket for about five minutes or you are susceptible to sensationalised misrepresentations, then you probably hold this view.

Sections of New Zealand’s media have suggested that Australia “bullied” New Zealand in the World Cup final.

The idea is outright nonsense. The aggressive Brad Haddin, in particular, has come under fire for his banter with Grant Eliot and his ‘sending off’ of Martin Guptill. From these initial sensationalist print media grabs, the usual suspects have suggested that everybody hates Australia because they play the game with no ‘grace or humility’.

New Zealand’s players do not share this view. Neither do the ICC. Brendan McCullum says the final was played in great spirit and the ICC has not issued any fines or warnings for on-field conduct.

Australia has admitted an aggressive approach. They believe New Zealand got the better of them mentally and verbally in the group stage thriller in Auckland.

Australia target certain players believed to be susceptible to a loss of concentration at the behest of verbal banter. But they are not the only team who do this. When the situation demands most teams dish it out.

When Wahab Riaz unleashed one of the most aggressive spells of fast bowling ever seen in ODI cricket at Shane Watson, complemented by some excellent verbal barrage and body language from Riaz and the Pakistani team, the Australian response was nothing but praise and embrace for Riaz and Pakistan.

It was a spectacular quarter final contest. Watson got roughed up and Riaz was dead unlucky not to get him out (his team mate dropped a sitter). Almost everybody supported Riaz and thoroughly admired his desire to lift Pakistan. Many Australian commentators and punters expressed outrage when Riaz was charged by the ICC for his actions and they were right. The ICC made a colossal mistake.

That is cricket. It is a deeply psychological game. After training all week in the nets, batting out in the middle is up to 75% mental warfare with yourself, your technique and your own flaws and insecurities, all of which can be cracked open and exposed by good bowling, a glare or a smile from the bowler or a few comments from the slips.

Some are good at banter, most are not. Some take it too far and they are reprimanded by match officials, who also occasionally get it wrong. The day that verbal banter and aggressive bowling are removed from cricket is the day the game dies. The day when it is only Australia who attempts these tactics is the day when everybody else has stopped playing the game.

Your true character is revealed by your ability to compete hard, without degenerating to immature or offensive behaviour, and then share a beer and mutual respect after the game.

Australia and New Zealand teams mix with another, the media and officials after the World Cup final.

Australia and New Zealand teams mix with another after the World Cup final. Photo by Adam Johnson.

Two great left handed bowlers and friends share a moment after the World Cup final.

Two great left handed bowlers and friends share a moment after the World Cup final. Photo: Trent Boult’s twitter feed.