What fucking rain?

It was a humid, cloudy day yesterday interspersed with brief spells of light drizzle. I ventured out the door a couple of times to walk the dog and buy some groceries, but otherwise was content to stick close to home doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I looked forward to catching some of the Boxing Day test.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch as much of the cricket as I would have liked. For reasons only the umpires could explain the first drops of rain were sufficient for them to drag the players from the field. Unfortunately once that precedent has been set the rain must cease altogether before they can take the field again. The result was probably 6-8 attempted re-starts, aborted when a few drops of rain fell again. It was an absolute farce.

Cricket has to be better than that. 60,000 people turn up to watch a contest between the best professional players of their respective nations. The cricketers are paid a lot – certainly more than enough to endure light rain, and they should be expected to do so. Fair enough if it becomes dangerous or storms, but seriously I walked in a bit of the drizzle yesterday and it was no worse than inconvenient.

The umpires bear responsibility for this, but, I imagine, are acting on policy. Policy should be that play continues unless it’s deemed dangerous or obstructive or simply too heavy to continue. That was not the case yesterday and it’s a fucking joke. The outcome of this two days running is that this test match will likely end in a draw, when realistically the game should be 30-40 overs in advance of where it is now. It’s this sort of soft-cockery that’s turning people away from sport in general. Cricket has to man up, and take more consideration of the viewing public.

While I’m on cricket, a couple of things. Australia went into this test match with a team unchanged from the last, meaning Maddinson is on his last chance. There was an interesting addition, however, leading into the game. The need for an all-rounder was identified, and rather than adding Mitch Marsh to the squad the selectors went left-field and picked Hilton Cartwright.

I expect Cartwright to play significant games for Australia, but it’s this sort of selection that annoys me. Regardless of his recent Australian form Mitch Marsh is by far still the best credentialed all-rounder in the country. He has immense talent, but lacks conviction. If you’re looking long-term then it’s his name most likely pencilled in, which is why I think he should be given another chance. His should have been the name added to the squad.

Cartwright has immense promise, but he’s very callow too, and probably not even the next best all-rounder in the country. That’d be Stoinis I would think, and on form, Dan Christian. Enough with the funky selections.

Finally, after the Brisbane test Nathan Lyon has been acclaimed by the press as some kind of people’s champion. In Brisbane he had his own cheer squad in the crowd echoing Wade’s invariable call of “nice one Garry” to the most innocuous of deliveries. That’s been picked up in Melbourne too.

You really have to wonder at the general perception of the media today. Don’t they understand that this is a time-honoured Aussie piss-take? I think generally Australian cricket lovers see Nathan Lyon as an affable duffer, not quite up to it. Matthew Wade with his incessant encouragement behind the stumps tries to bely that, talking it up in a way that has pricked our sense of the ridiculous. Of course the response then is that the crowd takes up the “nice one Garry” as a kind of nonsensical non-sequitur, ripe for the satire.

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