The Light Roller: I don't like cricket, oh no, I hate it

I don't like cricket, oh no, I hate it

Enough of these early-morning missives of despair

It honestly does not bear talking about does it? Two thumping defeats, more careless dismissals than Mike Gatting's had hot dinners, and about as many threatening balls as a randy rottweiler - which at least is better than none.

My brother, a fellow cricket addict, said he felt as if he never wanted to wake up. That wasn't quite the drastic statement it might appear but there is definitely a sense of trepidation at what one might find as the alarm heralds yet another shambolic report from down under.

Before this series began, I had envisaged that the dulcet tones of Aggers, Vic Marks, Michael Vaughan and yes, even the Katy Perry-obsessed Boycs, would be the soundtrack to a slightly sleep-deprived but generally happy, half-dreamed few months. Now, the only saving grace of the TMS coverage is that there are none of the gruesome images which must make Sky subscribers wonder why they are paying to watch such torture.

 

The difference between the teams is spirit, not skill

There are occasions when one team is so manifestly and intrinsically better than the other that you can shrug your shoulders and just hope for the occasional glimmer of light in the form of an exceptional spell of bowling or a gutsy eighty-odd.

But this is surely not the case in this series.  The current Australia team will go down in history (and I'm tempting fate deliberately here) as the winners of the 2012/13 Ashes but they are not a great side – not yet anyway.

Most of the batsmen would have struggled to get anywhere near the starting XI a decade ago. And as for the bowlers, while they are working tremendously well as a unit and are riding the crest of Mitchell Johnson's surprise second coming as a tsunami, there are no obvious reasons why England - on fairly flat pitches after all - should keep being bundled out for such paltry totals. 

Australia have made considerable strides to create the spirit that breeds success after a thoroughly wretched ten months. But the notion that their players are inherently better than England's is not borne out by anything other than the last two matches. And that is galling.

 

Add some Yorkshire grit

The recent appearances of Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes have been a reminder of how rare it is for genuine all-rounders to make it at test level. Stokes has got something about him and ought not to be a new recruit to the one-test wonder club.  Yet the vagaries of England's squad selection and the likely nature of the WACA pitch mean that he may have to wait a while for a second cap, despite a reasonable personal showing in Adelaide.

The squad’s lanky lads have been a thorough let-down so far but Finn or Rankin will have to be brought in to add some firepower to a seriously undercooked attack. Bresnan may be required too. As for the spinners, even though it will be one hell of a tough call, Swann should step back. 

Bairstow needs to be given a chance at six. His most compelling test performance came against the seriously speedy Steyn and Morkel at Lord’s in 2012 and, if his technique occasionally looks a mite ambivalent towards MCC handbooks, he can do no worse than Cook, Prior, Broad and co against the short ball barrage.

 

South Africa are head and shoulders above the rest

After fascinating back-to-back series against Pakistan, South Africa absolutely mangled India in the opening contests of their home one-day series this week. Having lost the soul of their nation last Thursday, the South Africans seem inspired by his memory.

India meanwhile, after their boisterous but largely tedious, run-soaked games against Australia, have also lost a great leader, following Sachin Tendulkar's retirement in November.  He hadn't, of course, been part of the ODI scene for a while but the hullabaloo around his drawn-out departure from the game has left India looking somewhat spent.

All in all, South Africa are looking good value for their position as the world's best team. Their talents would surely be a match for Australia's newly-discovered winning streak.  And fortunately, with a test series between the countries due in February,  it won’t be long until we find out.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn