More than a Warnerist moment

“… not sure what the guy’s name is, but he got up to about 140/145 clicks and was bowling yorkers, and um, it surprised Smithy a bit, but I thought he bowled pretty well towards the end of the power play …”

Another example of David Warner in full flight, this time in the press conference following Australia’s game against Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. To be followed up shortly afterwards by a half apologetic but mostly dismissive “look I can’t say his name, I don’t know it – it’s too hard to pronounce.”

It would be easy to just dismiss it as another Warnerist moment, shake ones head, and move on. However the reaction of his captain sitting beside him – always telling I find when duos tackle press conferences – underlines why Associate teams are always going to be pushing the proverbial uphill as they battle to improve their performance and prospects.

Credit to Clarkey – it can’t be easy sitting next to Warner at times like this. Clarke knew how wrong his words were, but the shake of the head and smile and show of embarrassment to me had a subtext of “we’re all thinking that mate, but you can’t just go ahead and say it, not here”.

Why should Australian players know the names of a team they played once previously, in 2012; who they might play once more in another 2-3 years? There simply is no imperative for a team like Australia to spend too much brain space on a team like Afghanistan. Lucky for Warner.

It’s symptomatic of the amount of exposure that up and coming, ambitious and deserving Associate teams like Afghnistan get to top performing international teams – the kind of exposure that could help them to lift their game, raise their standard, and to feel more comfortable in arenas like the World Cup. 

More regular exposure to top tier teams would surely result in more competitive games, more followers for those Associate countries, and the growth of international cricket. What’s not to like about that?

It seems however that it’s all just a bit too hard. Like pronouncing foreign names. What a shame for the world of cricket.

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Turning tables, divided loyalties

I’ve been a bit quiet on the Cricket Explorer front I know – odd considering the Aussie achievements of the last couple of weeks!

It’s partly because I’ve been busy hanging out with parents and rellies from interstate, and therefore had folks around I could bore with cricket talk and questions instead (though Dad seemed pretty happy about it to be honest!) – but mostly because I’ve been breathless and on the edge of my seat with anticipation and excitement, and therefore incapable of sitting still and writing anything longer than a tweet or brief fb post!

So, what can I say? Johnson is in phenomenal form. Just extraordinary.

His knocking out of Anderson’s middle stump during day 3 of the Adelaide Test today – and the subsequent glare – was inspiring, exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Grand drama!! I can’t wait to see the next time Johnson’s in to bat, I wonder who’s going to be bowling to him…

I do worry about myself a bit though: I can feel myself starting to have more than a fleeting  semi-expat interest in – and compassion for – the fortunes of the English. I am actually praying for them to pick themselves up out of the ditch they’ve tumbled into, dust themselves off and start playing with more conviction, form and energy, and whoop the Aussies butts even for a day or two – I’d even be happy for them to win one!

But it’s actually no different to how much I got behind the Aussies in the last Ashes series when they faced the seemingly impossible – and so it was then.

Perhaps I’m just a sucker for an underdog.

Go Aussies!? Go Poms!? Oh I don’t know.

Just give us a series to remember one way or the other huh boys? Oh and if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love for the Boxing Day test – set to be my first live experience of international cricket – to not be a dead rubber.

That seems ridiculously wishful thinking at this point in time…