Friday, 16 January 2009

Time to start again

It's been a while, but I'm finally putting up a first post for the year. With the new year, prices go up, my morning train lost some carriages, and as usual, the Sydney Test came along. There's a lot that could be said about that Test this year, but I think it has been elsewhere - most of it, anyway.

These days, the new year Test means it's time to move on to the newer forms of the game. The Australian team at first treated T20 like a bit of a joke, but that attitude's clearly gone now. No doubt the introduction of the World Championship is a factor there, but maybe so is the IPL money. Personally, I feel that whatever place the shortest form has, it the tournaments have something that is missing in these one or two match series.

The two T20 games brought a spectacular start to David Warner's international career. His consistently fine hitting impressed even though of us who couldn't work out why the commentators describe him as "unheralded". Maybe they focussed too much on his complete lack of first-class experience, a fact which underlines the modern selector's approach of treating cricket as three different games. In these terms, one team in a bilateral series, is taking the game more seriously than the other. The SA team was selected from the ODI squad - it surely wasn't worth sending a T20 specialist.

Of course, for Matthew Hayden, it wasn't a start but an end. His retirement draws attention to the fact that NSW has the same problem with openers as they do with spinners. In neither case does the different teams for different forms approach give the solution that some might hope. Apart from Warner, Blues skipper Katich says he will drop himself down the order to give Jaques and Hughes a go - a funny way to put things, given that he doesn't usually open for his adopted state anyway. The national selectors would do well to consider him down the order, at the expense of their apparently obligatory all-rounder.

In the meantime, I'm sure there will be plenty of good cricket in the new format one day season, although I will miss the "neutral" games. Beyond that, the new year brings a lot of cricket for an increasingly new-look Australian team. It's time for them to start making a new mark, without trying to compare the feats of recent history.

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