It's going to be a struggle to take an interest in the two Test "3 Test Series" between Australia and Zimbabwe. Coming so soon after the Bangladesh series, it is hard to see this being anything other than a 2-0 cakewalk for the Australians.
Australia is the outstanding Test team of our time, there can be no doubt. They have a batting lineup whose depth and talent is of historic proportions. Matthew Hayden demonstrated amazing staying power with his world record 380 against Zimbabwe at the WACA, while Adam Gilchrist is an extraordinary player to be coming in to bat at seven. The bowling, however, does not have the same immense depth to draw upon.
JH visited Darwin on Monday August 5, where he attended the Darwin Cup (and failed to pick the winner). On Tuesday and Wednesday August 6 and 7 he headed east to northern Queensland to visit aboriginal communities in Weipa. Australia played Bangladesh in a one-day international at Marrara Oval, Darwin, on Wednesday the 7th - the first ODI ever held in Darwin (which had staged the First Test between Australia and Bangladesh almost three weeks earlier). JH wasn't there.
Bravo to Matthew Hayden for a brilliant innings and a new world Test record of 380. And for grabbing some of the media spotlight away from the Rugby World Cup on its opening night.
There's been a lot of friction in Zimbabwean cricketing circles over "black quotas" in team selection. I believe that an "affirmative action" policy is important for the long-term development of the game in Zimbabwe. It's a pity that the ZCU is not being open and transparent about its motives.
It is clear that there has been a lot of dissatisfaction among some of the country's leading white players in recent years. Murray Goodwin stated it in a rather unsubtle fashion the other day when he said that black players were getting a "free ride" into the team without having to "perform as well as the European guys to get a game". (It looks like he's in trouble with the WACA over those comments, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Sussex CCC, his northern hemisphere employer, has words to him as well.)
Some thoughts about the controversy over the ABC's post-midnight delayed telecast of the netball National League final on Friday (September 12).
It amused me on Thursday night to see Fox Sports News making a point of discussing the ABC coverage for the game. What, precisely, has Fox Sports done in the way of televising local netball in the 2003 season? Zilch. The national netball competition has not been shown on Pay-TV since C7 was alive.
It looks like Shane Warne will be barred from training with the Victorian, Australian (or even St Kilda) teams if his twelve-month ban for drug transgressions is carried out to its fullest. We'll hear more about this. JH was asked for comment by Neil Mitchell on Melbourne's radio 3AW this morning (August 22). Transcript (Source):
We come to expect the ABC sports department to mangle, ignore, or totally re-invent sporting ground titles when there are naming rights sponsorships involved.
But what is behind Channel Nine's renaming of "Bundaberg Rum Stadium", the venue of the Second Test between the Australian cricket team and Bangladesh, to "Bundaberg Stadium"? Especially when "Bundaberg Stadium" is actually in Cairns, 1400 kilometres up the Queensland coast from Bundaberg.
Many cricket followers who are grimacing at the thought of the huge mismatch between Australia and Bangladesh about to get under way in Darwin on Friday morning.
Their promotion to full Test status by the ICC in 2000 looks as dubious as ever, as the visitors have lost eighteen and drawn one out of their first nineteen Test starts, with thirteen of those losses by an innings and plenty. Since arriving in Australia to prepare for the Test and one-day series, they have had two narrow wins and a loss against opposition roughly equivalent to interstate second eleven level.
John Howard made a bad choice when he picked Archbishop Peter Hollingworth in 2001 as Governor-General. His second attempt, Major-General (retired) Michael Jeffrey, is not so much the wrong choice as culturally the wrong direction.