On the Front Foot: It's the time of year for sledging but KP's 'witticisms' are snow joke

Greetings from the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. OTFF can think of no better place to be. Australia v England, 1-1 in the Ashes series, the urn on the line, a sledging war being conducted, the ground full: name a better place to spend the holidays. So with the spirit of the season in mind, this column comes bearing gifts to the game from the MCG, known to locals in a wonderful display of one-upmanship simply as the G. In keeping with the times, the sledge of the year so far has to be Kevin Pietersen's attempt to intimidate Mitchell Johnson by asking for his phone number. Johnson subsequently called our Kev a smart arse, our Kev said he was merely trying to be friendly and "we're in cricket to make friends". There was, however, a twist when Kev was asked about his relationship with Mitch and, thinking he was off tape, said he had no relationship with Mitch. "I'm a bloke."



'Pitch switch' was a real turkey

The ramped-up non-story of the year, in a field fuller to bursting than tummies after Christmas lunch, also has a seasonal flavour. The tale of the switched pitches gets the nod. In the wake of England's heavy defeat in Perth, it was said by some fanciful sections of the UK press, the sort who think Santa Claus doesn't exist, that the pitch would be switched at the MCG on the orders of Cricket Australia to replicate the pace and carry of the WACA and play into Johnson's hands. This was wrong only for three reasons. First, the pitch wasn't switched because the groundsman, Cameron Hodgkins, always begins to prepare two strips on a "just in case" principle, which as it happened came into play. Secondly, he never spoke to Cricket Australia, mostly because groundsmen hate outside interference. Thirdly, there is more pace and carry in Santa's walk than at the G.



Twenty heroes

The G at Christmas is a long way from Barbados in May but it was there that the fondest cricketing memory of the year was made. England won the World Twenty20 and did so with a style, panache and hunger that should have made them team of the year in every award going. Defying sceptics, some of whom came from a quarter extremely close to this column, they picked a team for purpose. It batted, bowled and not least fielded to perfection. The England T20 team of 2010 performed the trick that is perhaps most helpful to any team: it was greater than the sum of its parts. By the end, they were the best team in the tournament by a mile and in the final they showed the cleanest pair of heels possible to Australia.



Tait and smile

The sight of the year, and it still makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, was provided by an Australian. It might have been only another one-day international but on a July Saturday late afternoon, Shaun Tait brought Lord's to its feet with a destructive spell of pure fast, full bowling that reminded all who saw it of the sheer thrill of outright pace – unless, of course, you happen to be on the receiving end. Merry Christmas, happy new year to lovers of the great game everywhere.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world