March 12, 2009
I understood the euphoria when South Africa won a series in Australia. What I didn’t get was the hype. The media was abuzz that this South African cricket team is the best and is perhaps #1. I had my doubts, but kept it to myself, for criticizing South Africa at that time would have been tantamount to dissing the IPL. There were definitely chinks in their armor. They were too dependent on Smith and Amla. It takes more than just two phenomenal batsmen to forge a team that will consistently and comprehensively beat others. If anything was proved in Australia’s tour of South Africa, it was this.
After Australia has beat South Africa now, the euphoria has turned. Two newbie Aussie batsmen have been made stars, Phillip Hughes being one of them is sacreligiously likened to Don Bradman. My issue is not with the analogy but the haste in declaring legends. Why are we in such a hurry? The guy has scored what one century? Ok, he might be young, but I find such analogies – both the likening to Bradman and the “catch ’em young” propaganda – ridiculous to say the least.
Moving back to my original point that too much is being made about South Africa and Australia, that South Africa beat them in Australia, does not mean that they are the best. The Australian victory now over South Africa also does not justify their ICC #1 ranking. The rankings – like many other things concerning the ICC – need to be drastically revamped, for now it is far too dependent various external factors. Australia are nowhere near as consistent as they were in the last decade, nor are this set of individuals of that calibre. As for South Africa, their side of the late 90s with the likes of Klusner and Donald was certainly special, and would have been the best if only Australia weren’t as good, or some dark elements in that South African side didn’t fix matches.
To me, this Australian victory is nothing other their revenge over the Saffers. It doesn’t mean, prove or justify anything else.
March 1, 2009
For those who are crying about the death of Test Cricket, where are you? What are you watching? Sorry, SL and Pak, but I couldn’t survive even 5 overs of that Test match. While Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara added some excitement to a mostly boring match, with the result of the result still undecided, there is still some life in that one. But this one is a cracker of a Test match, with today’s play worth every minute of the Sunday afternoon/evening.
Jacques Kallis turned the tables for South Africa today with an inspired spell of bowling, one which he hasn’t produced for some time. This is what South Africa have been missing for some time – an in form Kallis. If he can pitch in 80-100 odd with the bat, this match may be South Africa’s. Four Australian wickets fell in matter of 5 overs and the Aussies were slowly but surely lost grip on this Test. The only disappointment for me was Dale Steyn. I was expecting a fiery over to Peter Siddle after what Steyn received from the latter yesturday.
After wrapping up Australia for 207, the hosts put up a solid start. If Smith didn’t throw his wicket away with that mistimed shot, the outlook would be almost euphoric. The task is yet a good ask – 276 runs from 90 overs with 8 wickets – that’s a health 3 odd runs an over and some strokes of luck. I’ll be rooting for South Africa! Go Kallis! Go South Africa!
Side note: The umpiring has been pathetic to say the least. Fellow blogger Soulberry and Som have done a better job – one with concern and the other with humor – in describing just how hopeless the umpiring situation is. Blind as bat Bucknor is with Billy Bowden, who is slowly but surely loosing my respect. Given the way things have gone, one would think the series is being played in Australia for they have had the benefit of some of the most ridiculous referrals. The umpire referral system is a joke – we have three huge egos clashing instead of two. Interestingly, they seem to have a ploy of sticking to togather in their “crisis”. Can we stop the referral system and move on, please?