Simply put, there is nothing about the upcoming Australia v West Indies series that would excite the reasonable woman or the average cricket fan. A West Indian cricket system and team in utter disarray and an Aussie team with no real crowd puller is no less than the complete material with which a marketing man's nightmares are formed. Why should we care?
The Windies are already off to a poor start, with their bowlers getting hammered by a second string Queensland outfit in the opening tour match. Chris Gayle has had no preparation due to being at his ill mother's bedside - mind you, while I hope his Mom regains full health at the earliest, this might be the best preparation for a man who wouldn't honestly profess to loving every moment of practice.
Cricket Australia's spin doctors are already trying to talk up stand-in captain Dinesh Ramdin's credentials. But if the best evidence of Ramdin's leadership "maturity and nous" is that he'll study the Aussies' Ashes defeat, then even the blonde among us can tell that the Windies are struggling. This is not to say that Ramdin won't make a good leader if given the opportunity, as Aaron previously argued, but a spade needs to be referred to by its proper name for the present.
I sadly, but honestly, say that the best we can hope for from the West Indies is one cracking century from Gayle and a number of poor failures. A consistent and classy 40-odd average from throughout series from Shivnarine Chanderpaul. A half century or two from Ramnaresh Sarwan; effectively, much promise but no cigar. Dwayne Bravo will likely chip in with flashy and acrobatic fielding and a couple of quick fire 40's. This ladies and gentlemen, is the likely sum of the visitor's efforts this Australian summer - hardly the class of inducement that would tempt me to reach for my wallet to pay for an overpriced ticket.
For the Aussies, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke will fill their boots and fortify their averages on typical Aussie roads, which have characterised recent Australian summers. Fringe Aussie bowlers waiting for one of the incumbents to get dropped will have to pray for an injury instead, because the likes of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus will make merry against a likely, insipid Windies batting lineup. The most significant point of interest in the Aussie camp will be to observe whether the openers who start the series will be the same as those who finish it.
You probably get the impression that I can't find a single reason to stay glued to the box this summer, much less to bear 40+ degree heat and sit in a stadium. You're not far off the mark.
However, the one century that Chris Gayle wallops will be a sight to behold, and if he manages to double that tally then we're talking about the stuff of which a pubescent male's wet dreams are made. If Sarwan can treat us to a prolonged spell of his magic by doubling up on the half century then I can assure you there are likely to be few better spectacles in modern day cricket. If these two can combine with Chanderpaul in the same Test, we may just have an upset on the cards. It's the stuff dreams are made of.
Until such dreams come true, yesterday's All*Star game might just have been the highlight of the summer. Strap yourselves in for a rather innocuous Aussie summer of cricket and tune in to The Match Referee's YouTube channel.
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