From Left Field

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By Timmy Hancox

There are some things that you can always bank on like the sun rising, somebody else getting the last cookie and the Australians being in the headlines for their comments.

In Matthew Hayden’s defence Harbhajan Singh is a “little obnoxious weed” but we don’t all go on national radio and tell everyone. Then again, this is how Australian cricket works and they have turned sledging into an art form. Many eyebrows were thus raised when former Australian batsman Justin Langer told his team at Somerset that he wanted absolutely no sledging while he was captain. When asked about this, Ricky Ponting said there must be two Justin Langers in the world.

Not all cricket can be as easily relied upon as the Aussie comments, as the tour of Bangladesh demonstrates. First test played on an unplayable pitch and then followed by Graeme Smith and Neil Mckenzie’s wet dream. Their record opening stand of 415 would demonstrate a great understanding of each other, and they must share ground having both dated models. However, while McKenzie married Kerry McGregor and must thank his lucky stars, Smith must wake up screaming and wonder how he managed to chase Minki Van der Westhuizen away. For all we know maybe they discussed these things at length while they spent the day together out in the middle. Hashim Amla on the other hand must have had some pretty bad pad-rash after watching the game padded up for the whole of the first day without going out to bat! You also have to feel for the poor Bangladeshies who chased leather for a day in the hot sun without taking a single wicket. At the end of some days you have to just sit down say to yourself “Perhaps cricket was a bad choice today and I should have simply stayed in bed.”

On another cricket note, the Australians are complaining (are we surprised) about not having any spinners post-Warne and now Hogg. Cricket South Africa should write them a letter entitled “Cry Me A River”. We haven’t had a quality spin bowler since…well…um…EVER!! The letter will follow on to say that we are terribly sorry if being the best team in the world for more than a decade has been tough on you, but if you have the time we will offer you our fortune or the same amount as be pay Carlos Parreira, for half of one of their youngsters they are breeding in their laboratory (I mean academy).

But maybe the art of spin bowling really is dying in a game where T20 has gained a gargantuan amount of support. Smaller boundaries, dead pitches and aggressive batsmen are not something spinners smile about all that often. In fact, in order to succeed you have to dislocate your limbs and make the ball do outrageous things á la Muttiah Muralitharan. However, people spent years claiming spin bowling was dead until a very young blonde Australian left Mike Gatting in disbelief and without an off stump… Cheers to that.

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