New-Zealand-2

ADMINISTRATORS MUST TAKE BLAME

It was been a totally unfulfilling cricketing summer, raised only momentarily by the brilliance of Usman Khawaja across all three levels of the game.
The record Big Bash crowds and the successful staging of the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide only mask the scheduling deficiencies which made the 2015-16 an absolute farce — one which surely can never be repeated.
The inadequate opposition provided by both New Zealand (for a Test and a half) and the West Indies (throughout) diminished the excitement we all should have felt at Australia’s run at the world No.1 ranking in the late-summer Tests in NZ.
James Sutherland and the Cricket Australia administration, coupled with the game’s rulers at ICC-land cannot afford another set of such one sided encounters on the deadest set of wickets even the players complained about.
Make no mistake, Test cricket is under siege and no amount of rhetoric from officialdom will convince me that teams must insist on three meaningful lead-up games of red-ball cricket before taking on Australia on home wickets.
Otherwise we will have to be prepared for more walkovers and no one wants that.
The record early-season crowds for the day-nighter in Adelaide, half from this side of the border, will not automatically reappear next summer if they know Australia is going to win by an innings in three.
I feel incredibly sad for the plight of the West Indies right now.
Once champions of the world, they are a fading drawcard and I can’t see them again being granted the ‘glamour’ Tests in Melbourne and Sydney at peak holiday time again… not this decade, or next.
They’ll be reallocated to the back blocks, with wintertime Tests in Cairns and Darwin, maybe even Alice Springs… but never again at the MCG or at the SCG.
The most meaningful internationals of the extended summer could well be at the Basin Reserve and Hagley Park, Christchurch, but unfortunately only those with cable tv will be able to see the matches which are ideally time-slotted for a peak audience from 5 p.m. EST onwards. That needs to change too.
And Uzzie Khawaja? I’ll walk across broken glass to see him bat.
Let’s hope Rod Marsh and the selectors revisit their white-ball selections and pick him at No.3 for the World Twenty20. Maybe then we may have a chance.

It’s a white ball game

International white ball cricket takes centre stage from Tuesday with the first of the five ODIs between Australia and the third touring team to tour downunder this summer, India.
The Australians field a new look pace attack with newcomers Joel Paris and Scott Boland in for the first time – plus Kane Richardson returns for his first games since 2014.
James Pattinson is being rested with the New Zealand tour just four weeks away.
I was amazed the selectors didn’t name the in-form white-ball batsman in the country Chris Lynn who has played with the authority of an AB De Villiers in the Big Bash all holiday season.
Matty Wade will keep wickets in what promises to be the most competitive matchplay of the summer so far after NZ’s slow start and the total failure of the West Indians to compete.
They were saved from a 3-0 whitewash by the Sydney rains. Only two or three of the tourists emerged with their reputations enhanced: captain Jason Holder, No 3 batsman Darren Bravo and first-series allrounder Carlos Brathwaite. Young leg-spinner Dev Bishoo (pictured) was injured and would have played in the third Test had he had an extra week in which to recuperate. He visited our Bookstall at the SCG and enjoyed reading our magazine, Pavilion, which I edit on behalf of the Australian Cricket Society.