On the Front Foot: Aussie empire crumbles as lots fail to get picked for IPL
Sunday 08 February 2009
Nothing so embodied Australia's fall from grace than what happened on Friday. No, not their one-day defeat by New Zealand. That was a commonplace event, it being their fifth consecutive limited-overs reversal. No, what really told the story was what happened in Goa, hippy hangout and scene for the second IPL player auction, the two not being one and the same thing. A year ago, Australians were plucked for the inaugural IPL like grapes from a Barossa Valley vineyard. But of the 17 Australians who made themselves available to play in this Twenty20 tournament, only two were recruited. It spoke volumes about a crumbling empire. True, the marquee names were signed on three-year contracts in 2008 and others, such as the freestyle hitter David Warner, had already been enlisted by individual franchises before the auction. But that cannot disguise the fact that Australian cricket has taken a hit after a string of poor results by a clearly struggling national team. The only pair signed were Shaun Tait (who now has a hamstring injury) for $375,000 (£254,000) and the unsung George Bailey for a mere $50,000 (£34,000). Stuart Clark and Brad Haddin were unsigned. That this happened on the day the Kiwis beat them again to take a 2-0 lead in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy was grist to the doom-mongers' mill. And there was more. It emerged that Simon Katich and Michael Clarke were engaged in a scuffle during the Sydney Test at new year about singing the team anthem, 'Under The Southern Cross'. Since the song is the glue that binds the team together and leading the singing of it is a job almost as esteemed as the captaincy itself, the issues are beginning to run deep. Can't play, can't sing either.
Pietersen bows to Master
It is beginning to seem that Kevin Pietersen utterly dominates England's batting. He was top scorer again in the first innings of the First Test in Kingston. Wasn't it ever thus? Actually, not quite. Although Pietersen has been top scorer in England's innings a commendable 19 times in his 84 Test innings, it by no means makes him superior in this regard. It means he has been leading run-getter in an innings on 21.69 per cent of occasions, behind 15 other batsmen who played at least 20 Tests. Jack Hobbs, known as The Master, was top scorer 31 times, or in 31 per cent of his innings, still well behind the most dominant of all, George Headley, who did it 15 out of 40 times for West Indies, or 37.5 per cent. But Pietersen has scored 16.1 per cent of the team's runs in his career, behind only six other players in England's history.
No mention of Headley ton
Speaking of Headley, there is a feeling the West Indies Cricket Board, not for the first time, has missed a trick at Sabina Park. This is the centenary of the birth of the great man, their first legendary batsman, who scored 10 centuries in 22 Tests. He was born in Jamaica, but so far not a mention.
In memory of Bob
Wandering into the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, a few yards away from England's quarters, was an eerie experience. The last time was during the 2007 World Cup, when Bob Woolmer died in his room there. As his death was pronounced wrongly as murder, sparking an uncontrolled media storm, no cricket person will ever be able to enter the hotel again without thinking of him.
Police probe Mario Balotelli racist abuse as Kick It Out voice their displeasure
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3 player ratings: Leonard Ulloa? Radamel Falcao? Jamie Vardy? Angel Di Maria? Who was the star man?
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'