Tonight's T20 at the SCG suffered from the usual lack of objectivity. Tubbs: "Looks at McCullum's speed." as he chased, with no great speed, a ball to mid-wicket, slid, and fumbled. The Dick: "Great athleticism from Haddin," as he jumped, but got nowhere near a snicked bouncer. Slatts: "Look at Hilfy! Don't ya think he's aware of the pressure," as he tried to get something out of his eye. JB: "Never seen anything like it in me life," as Voges pulled in a clever catch on the boundary. Surely he has seen Travis Bichel's catch. But lack of objectivity and T20 go together like shit and blankets. It's been the general lack of objectivity all summer long that has gotten right up my hooter.
Since the two Tests against NZ in November CricAussie and its media minions have pounded us with a relentless barrage of hyperbole, most of it seemingly intended to reassure us - those of us who haven't overdosed on KFC and Suisse vitamins, that is - that everything is going according to plan. Cam Noakes neatly captured the spirit of the season in Friday's Age:
REMEMBER Australia A? They were the days, weren't they? Hey … this is just between you and me, OK? Don't tell anyone and don't tell the Kiwis but did you hear — our confidence is back?
Of course, that was written before Friday night's TwentyTwo22 when Australia suffered the indignity of being bailed out by the weather. Muse on that for a moment: we get to hang onto the esteemed and storied Chadlee courtesy of a rain ruined and reduced Fifty50 against New Zealand. Ohh, the humanity. I wonder: how did Geoff Lawson re-position his doom-and-glooming in the light of Friday's result?
Meanwhile, Richard Hinds (very much in form lately) sheds a sensible light on how the media sees the public:
NEAR the start of this long and now fading cricket season, as the first cracks in the Australian team became evident, a usually astute observer of sport wrote that the public had continued to attend matches in record numbers despite their team's dominance making so many recent series predictable and one-sided.
It's not just the astute observers who have made a cock-up of this season's cricket, the numb-skulls have had a field day with absurd commentary and punditure.
Take Mitchell Johnson. Again. Sorry. His five-for spell at the end of day two in Perth was exhilarating, but it skewed the judgment - such as it is - of a heap of experts. Studs has been mediocre since the First Test against SA, the main highlight being a zinger to win the Sydney Test. Since his holiday during the first two one-dayers against SA, he has been rancid. SA sat on him after Perth and once they worked out how not to get out to his SGW, they looked comfortable. Naturally, this didn't stop the commentators from consistently referring to his "brilliant summer" and words to that effect. Johnson could well become a great bowler, but he will need bowlers to pinch wickets at the other end. If it's left to him, he, and we, will struggle.
Were I to over-rate Twenty20, I would probably have payed more that a cursory attention to tonight's match, but instead, I only watched it during the boring bits of I Am Legend. As it turned out, I saw quite a bit of cricket. During one particular boring bit I was stunned to hear that Adam Gilchrist's Big Moment of the summer was Brad Haddin's 100 against the Kiwis in Adelaide, or as Gilly termed it: "the coming of Brad Haddin". If by "coming" he means fives, aerial gloves, drops, byes and charity wickets, he is spot on. Haddin can bat a bit, but.
The big over-rating of the summer was Graeme Smith. It's nothing to do with his previous reputation, I have no residual animosity eating away at me. Smith had a fine summer, batting, catching, captaining and media-ing with aplomb. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say I quite like him. But only quite. No, Smith's big overratement of the summer was his broken handed innings in Sydney. Come on, people! Barring a English-style collapse in the first session, Smith was always coming out. Why, in these circs, do experts always fall over themselves to laud the moment? So, he had a sore hand. Diddums. What was he going to do? Sit in the rooms? "Borley Chorley! My hand's too sore." Get stuffed. If McKosker could come out with a broken jaw and no helmet, Smith was certainly capable of trotting out for half an hour with a sore hand. Especially when the alternative was returning to SA with his courage in question because he allowed Straya to win a Test match by protecting his own hand. Don't kid yourself that even though SA had won the series someone wouldn't have had a pop at Smith if he pulled a sickie.
And if you reckon that's harsh, count yourself lucky I didn't insert a white-trash pop song between each sentence.