Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Vultures Begin Their Feast


They lost in Mohali, but no problem because it was India and it was a fluke. They lost in Nagpur, but no problem because it was India, McGrath and Warne had retired and "she'll be right" once Haydos and Lee get back in form against the Kiwis. They lost in Perth (again) and that's no problem because Aussies always perform well with their backs to the wall and they'll murder the Saffas in Melbourne when Haydos will crack another god-gifted century. They're about to lose at the G and I wonder if we are finally witnessing the calling of a spade by its true and unchallenged name?

Brydon Coverdale rips into Matthew Hayden and co. Ricky Ponting ponders the thought of becoming the first Australian captain in almost 20 years to lose two series on the trot and can't make any guarantees for the Sydney Test. Tim Nielsen would rather have his heart ripped out than talk about Day 3 of this Boxing Day Test. Further, with a bottomless pit of salt suitable only for open wounds, the Indian media has uncovered cracks in places other than BLee's foot.

This is indeed a sad day for world cricket, for I long to see a world with several powerful teams (of which Team India is the mostest) who can beat each other on any given Sunday. To see a superpower fall with such expedience and utter disgrace really demands a cover-up of Catholic Church proportions. Unfortunately, such ego-saving avenues are closed to the Australian cricket team and now we are likely left with a two-horse race for at least the next couple of years.

Never in Ricky Ponting's worst nightmares would he have imagined going to Sydney with the series well and truly lost. Champions always believe their own bluff, that's why they are fearless. Only when their mortality is proven to them with abject ease do the weeds of doubt take hold. Such is the case with Hayden, Symonds and the rest.

Matthew Hayden will likely survive to play his benefit match in Sydney and for this he only has BLee to thank. Andrew Symonds would have been unlikely to be so lucky had Shane Watson not be so fragile - again. The rest are likely to die another day.

These, however, are the easy decisions. Andrew Hilditch and his band of merry men face a much tougher choice when it comes to advising the Cricket Australia board about the man considered in Australia second only to the Prime Minister. Michael Clarke has already been groomed as the heir apparent. Clarke's won a few matches when Ponting's had his feet up and appears to have far more tactical nous, and more importantly, luck, than the incumbent.

Almost every other major series loss in the last 10 years has seen the sacking of the then Australian captain (just ask Waugh and Taylor). The Herald Sun had it absolutely right, Ponting has had a year from hell. Are the Australian selectors seriously thinking about wiping the slate clean and putting Ponting out of his misery after what could well be a South African whitewash?

Now, who would have dreamed of that two months ago?

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