Friday, January 30, 2009

A Little Golden Book Classic Tale

One hot and sticky Friday afternoon, an avid cricket fan and two of her friends went to the local park to watch her team take on a great challenger.

Australia versus South Africa

South Africa won the toss and batted. Here is Jiminy.
The South Africans made an impressive 288. Jiminy made 60 not out.

They stopped for a while to let some idiots run around on-field. The Australians cheated (yes, they are wearing dresses).

Then it was Australia's turn. Marsh failed. Ponting braved the field, ready to save his team, self, the game.

He stretched.

He swung and missed.

He got out.

And they fell like the ASX200.

So this blogger went home to watch the tennis.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And now for something completely different...

My 2009 mission -

My dear friend Miss Field, allowed me to guest write for her cricket blog, which took me by surprise because 1) I have no appreciation for the sport whatsoever and 2) I have no understanding of the game itself. Having played a few games of drunken beach cricket with a beer in my hand and a traumatising game of French cricket in the 6th Grade I am what most would regard as cricket’s worst nightmare.

It was with this in mind that Miss Field decided to take it upon herself to educate me in the ways of cricket greatness. An opportunity to educate the cricket philistine I am to become the crème de la crème of cricket commentator. Having only written in the past about boyfriends, the city I live in and an occasional letter to my Grandparents, I welcomed the opportunity with open arms.

Miss Field wanted this to be a progressive education that would see me go from Cricket Ladette to Cricket Lady without the messy television show. It is why I am here writing to you in my cricket ignorance.

My first taste you could say of cricket bliss was a photo of Graeme Smith. Having been advised though that digging the opposition is a BIG no-no, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering how any one man can draw so much appeal? A “fat” cricketer with freckles and no lips with a tendency to date skinny blonde models (with names longer than my first published piece) would be enough to turn any straight woman gay (or drive any other “fat” cricketer with freckles and no lips to tears), but for some strange reason the man has appeal (though not hard when you're in a field that includes Shane Warne).

So I leave you pondering the thought that, Mr Graeme “I play with a broken hand because I’m totally hardcore” (and what I would think, completely insane) Smith, could possibly be the hottest cricketer of all time… maybe a close second to Brendon Julian (until he discovered the beauty that is Dunsborough and the wealth that is the Wylie Family)….I suspect though that Miss Field is going to certainly have her work cut out for her with this cricket philistine…

- let's call her... Batting Average.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

KP speaks...

"No but yeh but no what happened was, was you know Michael Vaughan, he found a verruca sock in the girls' bogs and put it in Mooresey's bag and he completely had an eppy and turned up to Giles Clarke’s party with a compass and stabbed Giles Clarke, and anyway Stuart Broad gave Ian Bell a blowie in the shallow end for a bite of his Funny Foot."

Well I guess if nothing else he's proper English now.

You heard it here first.

Series wrap - tell your friends

I have really enjoyed this Test series against the Saffers.

Yeah we lost, but to worthy adversaries. There were no heart-breaking flukes; they deserved to win. It's been competitive, tense, exciting, lots of other adjectives that are eluding me right now.

If anyone says Test cricket is dull, hand them a copy of the third Test (or any of them really) and say 'you're wrong, bucko'.

Johnson almost carried Australia at times. Smith shined for South Africa. Ponting nearly redeemed himself. Siddle nearly proved himself. Duminy earnt big-time respect. Hayden reaped scorn.

Representatives from both sides have said at different times that the series was played in good spirit, and I think that certainly showed.

Unlike this time last year.

South Africa you are welcome here anytime.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Incomprehensible bravery

I don't place a lot of value in bravery as a virtue.

I've never understood what was so desirable about being Sorted into Gryffindor.

Bravery implies choice. Choosing the path of heroism.

I'm not brave when it comes to daring feats of physical capability. In fact I think people who are often popularly perceived to be brave are actually just big fools.

If someone asked me to go and bat with a broken hand I would tell them to bugger off. I would guard my hand like The Precious. I might even hiss at them.

I guess that's because I'm rational, sensible and have a sense of self-preservation. Plus I don't like pain.

I didn't think for a second that Smith would bat today, by fate or choice. Seems neither did he.

"I didn't really expect to go out. Deep inside I didn't really want to get out there.

"I probably decided 25 overs out, 26 overs out (that I was going to bat).

"I arrived here without any kit and had some pants I'd shoved into my cricket bag to protect my bats.

"I stole a shirt off Jacques (Kallis) and a pullover off Harry (Paul Harris) that still had his hamburger stain on the front left side of it.

"I had Morne (Morkel) dressing me and putting my shoes on and pads.

"I decided I was going to give it a go and give it my best shot and if I got a first-baller or whatever at least I tried.

"Obviously there's a lot of pain. Once one ball hit the bat I thought 'okay, that's one out the way'.

"(I told myself) 'just keep watching the ball and hoping that it hits the bat the whole time'.

"It was about getting out there and doing the best you can."

Smith refused to use his injuries as an excuse for his dismissal.

"He probably would have got me if I had both arms available.

"It cut back off a crack (and) Mitchell has bowled superbly all series.

"I saw they were having a little group meeting just before that over and I was hoping that they were going to give the ball to someone else."

Although the phrase no sense, no feeling did flicker across my mind, trying to save the game for his team and for his country was brave. He was in tremendous pain, and although he's well practised at keeping a straight face, it did show a little. Yep, he's a Gryffindor.

I wondered though, if he could get his hand in the glove today, what was the hold up on Sunday? Broken is broken, I don't want to hear about his euphoric cloud of anaesthesia (unless I get a share). Maybe he enjoys the pain.

It was only when the champagne was being sprayed everywhere that he scampered like, well, me, clutching his newly re-cast arm. So not only is he a masochist, his priorities when it comes to alcohol are seriously screwed up.

When all's said and done though, it was an extraordinary and memorable sight to behold, and deserving of the standing ovation received. Crazy sure, and not something I'd do for love or money. But admirable too.

I remember an ad campaign for noodles or something, a year or two back, with the line "make pain your friend". To that I say no.

Guess that's why I'm not an elite athlete. And thank heavens for that.

England foot shooting continues

The tensions engulfing camp England have finally boiled over, and both captain and coach have walked out the door.

Whether or not he'd left of his own accord Pietersen would not have been allowed to stay on as captain. Cricketers must be subservient and not comment when they're uber-shitted off, it's just how it is. Just by saying "him or me" it was never going to be him.

Personally I'm disappointed. I was looking forward to Ponting and Pietersen squaring off.

And I bet Vaughan's wishing he'd pushed himself a bit harder these last few months.

It also seems to me like the tide is turning, and where last week observers were on KP's side, they now feel Moore's has been treated poorly; KP has betrayed his trust and this has all been most uncalled for.

Wow. Hissy fits. Cricket really does provide everything.

Ian Bell, anyone?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Desperate and dateless?

Well if you live in Sydney or Perth apparently you're in luck.

At the upcoming Twenty20 matches (WA vs Qld Jan 15; NSW vs Vic Jan 17) they're going to have speed dating.

So you all sit around and chat and each time there's a wicket or a six, the blokes move up a seat to talk to a different girl.

And the tagline?

It's not just cricket.

But by the sound of it it's almost not even cricket...

Join up to 500 singles for spectator seat speed dating, party games, prize giveaways, and the fast, furious and exciting sport that’s taking the world by storm; Twenty20 Cricket! This is not your usual cricket match; the Twenty20 is a '20 over' game lasting only 3 hours with added excitement, adrenaline and pace!

I guess going to the cricket to watch cricket is becoming uncool.

Update: And before you ask - no.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Grayeme's Joernaal - day 30

This is sereously fucked up.

And I was doing so well today to.

no one has been brave enough to talk too me. at dinner no one said much at all. Jaqeus had to cut my dinner up. but the boys were all very suportive and no-one laughed.

the girl who xrayed my hand looked hot so i gave her my number. but i changed my mind because i realized that her eyes were to close together. wen she calls i will have to let her down.

mitchel Johnston will pay for this with that hot girlfrend of his. and if he's lucky I wont smash his face in. Probably shoudn't, might brake my hand again on his granete face.

I can't even write, so AB is writing for me. he is a legend

at least it makes my elboo feel better.

Im so depressed.

Love from
Grayam Grayme Graeme

A fracture in the plan

Graeme Smith is injured and this may just save Australia.

Though at 1-125, maybe it won't.

I would probably prefer that this didn't happen. If we're going to win I would rather it was against a team of 11, not 10.

If we're going to lose, the same thing applies.

But then, if we win, I'll take what I can get. At this point it seems pretty even. The Saffers looked shaky but settled in pretty well, and are one down, well two if you count Smith.

The bookies have a draw as the favoured outcome, but the odds on Australia winning are shorter than SA.

Also, Brett Lee had ankle surgery today.

Maybe the pair can share a hospital room.

Now, with a fractured fifth metatarsal, Smith's out for six weeks.

I bet he's wishing he didn't play in this match. What's that about the best laid plans?


Also, thanks to David for his live blogging, which was highly entertaining, though a shame we didn't get to hear about Smith's injury from his point of view.

3rd Test, 2nd Day, 2nd Session Aus vs SA

Dear Gilly,

I read a while ago that you said --

There used to be a bloke who gave himself out by walking when he'd hit the ball. The popularity of that within his team-mates may be shown by the fact that since his retirement, they no longer reply to any emails, phone calls or text messages.

-- and I want you to know that we miss you.

We miss your batting, your keeping, your sportsmanship, your enthusiasm.

People I know who don't even like cricket miss you.

I wouldn't be surprised if our enemies miss you, in a masochistic sort of way.

God knows the team misses you, though not as evidently as Warne or McGrath.

I know there's no going back and that's how it should be. But damn it was better with you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

OBO blogging tomorrow

Yes that's right, my shit of a brother is lucky enough to be at the SCG to watch Australia get spanked.

Don't get me started on the perks of being a teacher.

But tomorrow he's going to blog over by over the second session, yes I know, why isn't he doing the whole day? Anyway I'll take what I can get so tune in tomorrow 1215 EDST (0115 GMT) to see the Full Tosser's live OBO blog.

And feel free to comment along the way, in fact please do so it doesn't feel like we're talking to ourselves.

UPDATE: He tells me it'll actually be ball by ball, not over by over. This 150,000 per cent thing is rubbing off.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

"I play cricket, me."

Perseverance, dear my Lord,
Keeps honour bright; to have done is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail,
In monumental mockery.

The problem with saying that you will give 150,000 per cent if selected is that -

a) people will mock you, and
b) expect you to deliver, and
c) mock you when you don't.

Though, he seems like a nice guy. Hopefully that equates to super fantastic taker of wickets.

But considering it's the Saffers who are looking so good, I don't think nice is a prerequisite for winning form.

Good luck kid.

You're gonna need it.

Numero uno up for grabs

Australia deserved to lose the second Test, and now the number one spot is there for the taking.

There were lessons from Perth that went unlearned. Even prior to Perth there were unlearned lessons.

Now there are lessons from Melbourne that have been ignored.

I believe in sticking with your team, unequivocally. But there's a difference between giving it your all and not quite making it, and arrogantly sticking with the wrong strategy.

One deserves respect, the other contempt.

On the other hand, South Africa also deserved to win the second Test.

I think Graeme Smith can take a fair portion of credit for the Saffers' success, both as captain and batsman.

And now it seems he might be ruled out because of injury (though I think it's more likely they're just talking it up, Cortisone cures all, as does the thought of beating Australia it would seem).

I thought about this, and came to the conclusion that if he doesn't play, and they still win easily, the outlook for Australia is even crappier than it already seems.

I have also noticed that a lot of South Africans have visited this blog in the last week. Welcome.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shut up Roy

Sometimes I like to declare things un-Australian.

It's tongue in cheek. Usually it's a politician who declares something to be un-Australian, when there's no other means of condemnation.

Andrew Symonds has declared the treatment of Matt Hayden by the media to be un-Australian.

No Roy, this has not been a 'trial by media'. The failure is there for one and all to see.

And what did Hayden have to say for himself on the news tonight?

"There's more to being in the team than how many runs you make."

Actually, when you're an opening batsman, I'd say there's not a lot else for him to be concerned about.

He's scored a grand total of 56 runs in his last six innings. Roy, that ain't the media's fault.

For your curiosity, I have compiled a list of a few things that are damn well un-Australian.

Not liking Kylie
Being from Tassie
Not eating a meat pie on grand final day
Calling soccer 'football'
Knowing the words to the national anthem
Losing the Boxing Day Test
Not taking Vegemite on your TopDeck tour
Not knowing that a thong is footwear
Liking Sydney more than Melbourne
Not shedding a tear on Anzac Day, pacifist or not
Not using the word Pom
Not shortening everything to end in o
Calling a koala a 'koala bear'
Not learning to swim or drive
Not liking Midnight Oil
Not going to Bali
Voting in local government elections
Not liking Young Einstein
Using 'alright' as a greeting
Australia Day not being your favourite day of the year
Not appreciating Kath and Kim
Being a cadbury
Not knowing what a cadbury is
Shagging your best mate's brother
Not knowing who Don Bradman was

Sally Robbins lying down during the Olympic rowing final
Losing the Ashes
Not drinking your tea through a Tim Tam
Whingeing

Dhoni stirs it up

Fancy being the captain of India?

Really?

Sure, rolling around in piles of cash would be fun, but who could be bothered with having 45 commandos following guarding you? You would feel a bit of a princess.

On Monday, MS Dhoni received a letter demanding 5 million ruppes or dire things would happen to his family.

Better watch out for those dire things.

Yesterday he got another letter saying that if he told the police they would blow up his house.

Sure you might think 'well actually that sounds like the letter I sent Ponting last week, underperforming little shit'.

But at least he did go to the police, don't you hate that in movies when the stupid characters decide to take the law into their own hands, making their situation irreperably worse and you then you think they deserved death/prison/some other horrible, preventable outcome?

The clincher here is that it was sent by some guy who's BFF with some other guy (Dawood Ibrahim), the clown who thought it would be a good idea to bomb Mumbai in 93 and ended up killing 250 people.

The underworld boss has eluded authorities for the past 15 years and is believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

By the 1980s and 1990s, he was one of Mumbai's top gangland leaders, with a billion-dollar vice empire spanning gambling, drugs and prostitution.

Yeah. I'd be shitting myself too.

So now he's got 45 commandos following him around and guarding his house. Maybe they can field while he practises batting.

Though none of this is new to him. He received death threats from Maoist rebels last year, and, unhappy with the security arrangements made for him, applied for his own security guards to carry more sophisticated weapons. So they ditched the slingshots. This year he's getting commandos.

I'd be quite tempted just to pay up. Maybe he's a bit short on cash. I'm sure Sachin's good for a loan.

But I just can't imagine anyone bothering here.

Dear Ricky Ponting,

I will destroy you unless you supply me with a year's worth of Swisse Ultivites.

No. Make that two year's.

OK?

Graeme

Incredible, insane India.

That's a wrap

Let's have a look at the year that's been and recognise the achievements of those I love to write about, the dismal failures of others, and some memorable moments in between.

And the Oscar goes to...

Actor in a Supporting Role
Shaun Tait. When shit bowling translates to a nervous breakdown, Taity fled to the hills. I branded him cricket's Sally Robbins, which earnt me the following (edited) email from some psycho in Tasmania -
I think you have been EXTREMELY unfair about Shaun Tait. It's easy to talk when you see others come back from injury as it's the easiest thing in the world, but before you open your big fat gob again, figuratively speaking, then just admit that it rankles you when a woman gets criticised and so you want to even up with a bloke. Sorry, but you ain't gonna become a noted journalist this way.

I didn't know what he was on about either.

Visual Effects
Daniel Flynn. It was graceful, it was elegant, it was so realistic that if I didn't know how good post-production is these days I'd swear it actually happened.


Short Film
Anyone who puts Andrew Flintoff and Frank Gallagher in the same envelope is my hero. This film, by the lovely Atheist, was also nominated in the documentary category, for providing fantastic insight into why cricket is just so damn interesting.


Costume Design
The IPL, most specifically the Kolkata Knight Riders. Whoever imagined cricketers in sparkly gold pads and helmets was clearly out of their mind.


Makeup
I think half my hits this year have been from men and women desperate for a glimpse of Alastair Cook in the buff (the other half - "Graeme Smith girlfriend" - dead set). Can't help you much there I'm afraid, though I delcare him a worthy winner of this award for his commitment to eye makeup. The industry thanks you, Ali, and so do I.

Oh go on then.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Michael Clarke. Just because.

Documentary Short
Can't look past another genius video blog from The Atheist, this one a tribute to the extraordinary Adam Gilchrist.


Documentary Feature
Goes to the arse-kick that Chinaman of The Silly Points served his critics, including some bastards who stole his website and the moderators at the BBC's 606 forum. Here's to standing up for yourself!

Art Direction
Andrew Symonds' hip-and-shoulder of a naked man. I heard the WAAPA interpretive dance students are studying it next semester. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you.


Music (Song)
So it's over 12 months old, but these are my awards and damn it I am running out of ideas.

Plus it's bloody funny.


Sound Editing
When Jrod launched his podcasts the world stood still. This is his third. I can't actually remember what was in it, but I commented on it so it must have been good. Unlike the 13th, 11th, 5th, which received no comments. That said, I'm sure they too are joyous.

Foreign Language Film
Unfortunately, like many 'foreign language' films, the footage of the winner in this category is not forthcoming. However, the award goes to Andrew Flintoff, on any given day. One day we will understand what this man has been saying. But not yet. Not yet.

It's just lucky that to appeal a wicket he only has to shout. Otherwise he'd be in big trouble.

In lieu of his pearls of wisdom, here is a photo of him leaving court.

Nice sunnies bro.

Film Editing
The Australian selectors win this for being shit. They all deserve to be fired and replaced by people who have some common sense (have I mentioned that there is, in fact, nothing whatsoever common about common sense?). As a matter of urgency they need to be given DVD copies of the fifth Test at the Oval in 05, copies of Vaughan's and Flintoff's biographies, and forced to live in one of the English enclaves near me. While they're away can someone remove the old black and white photos from the 1990s from their big oaky meeting room. Those days are gone. Replace them with photos of Vaughan hoisting the urn and Ponting crying. That'd give anyone nightmares, and might, just might, kick them into doing their job properly.

Actor in a Leading Role
Dark horse this one, but it's everyone's favourite South African, Kevin Pietersen. Sure, England have to recruit foreigners to be any good, but he is and he's had a decent year. I think he's a git as much as anyone else, but I think his captaincy is the best thing that has happened to English cricket in a while. And as an Aussie with an impending Ashes series and a team that's not up to scratch, that's rather unnerving.

Cinematography
The ads of the IPL were fabulous. Difficult to choose a winner, it kind of depended on what was available on youtube, as the IPL are precious bastards. Can't go much past this anyway... (though if I'd found some decent footage of slip fielders...)



Actress in a Leading Role
Michael Vaughan. Who could forget the tears shed by England's bemulleted captain as he stepped down. He looked like the ground was falling away beneath him, and in doing so brought raucous laughter to watchers of cricket the world over.


Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
The super over to find a winner in the tied match between New Zealand and the West Indies last week. What the hell was that about? If you missed it, here it is. Also of note is that skipper Vettori was gifted a razor for Christmas.


Writing (Original Screenplay)
The decline of Australia this year. The first home series loss in 16 years. Losing two of the last three series for the first time in 18 years. Losing 2-0 to the number 2 and number 3 ranked teams. Winning only five out of 14 tests this year, four of which were against the bottom two teams (thanks, Q).

Directing
Had to find room for an Aussie somewhere and things have been thin on the ground for our cap'n of late. So this one goes to Shane Warne, for both captaining and coaching his IPL team, the Rajasthan Royals, to victory in the inaugural IPL. I don't care much for Twenty20 cricket, nor Shane Warne, but that's impressive. Most impressive.

Best Picture
Maybe it's because the most recent sticks in my mind, but who could go past the epic disaster Australia has suffered at the hands of the Saffers? They will be the ICC's number 1 ranked team before the summer is out. Congratulations South Africa, the Best Picture Oscar is yours. You're in good company with Titanic, Forrest Gump and Shakespeare in Love.

Happy New Year - thanks for reading.