Cricket? Give me Swamp People 

Walsh is every bit as scathing of Cricket Australia’s rotation policy as he his Lance Armstrong’s doping confession. Scroope, meantime, goes into bat for Bernard Tomic and backs the Swiss Maestro to collect an 18th grand slam title at Melbourne Park on Sunday. Gerard Walsh and Lloyd Scroope lock horns in the first Counter Attack of 2013… 

GW: Let me start by saying that my old idiot box (circa 1995) hasn’t had much use this summer because the sport has been rubbish. I’d rather watch Swamp People or Miss Pole Dance Australia, both free-to-air gems. All I can say to Australia’s cricketing administrators is for them to “sit on it and rotate”. They have destroyed my interest in this great sport. Moises who? George Bailey the national captain? Hopeless umpiring. Soft touch players scared of damp conditions. A domestic 20/20 competition that dragged on. Liz Hurley. The alternative, of course, is to watch the tennis.

But the Federers, Djokovics and the Williams sisters really don’t do it for me either. Boring billion-dollar earning baseliners who have been around for an eternity. As for that brat Tomic; don’t be fooled. If he makes the fourth round of a grand slam this year, I’ll eat my bike.

Speaking of which, Lance Armstrong sort of ‘fessing up’ was the summer highlight for me. Okay, I was a fan of his, but now realise the bloke is completely off his rocker. The title of his bestseller “It’s Not About The Bike” rings so true now. It’s all about the dope.

LS: One of the best pieces of fiction out.

And at least Lance had the balls to fess up (albeit after a tidal wave of evidence stacked up against him). I feel sorry for those who remain honest, you know, the ones who get on their bikes and give it their all without the aid of a blood transfusion or enough EPO to prop up China. 

An alternative view of course is that we should in fact be praising Armstrong. As writer and DJ Tim Burgess points out, controlling one’s bicycle while under the influence of drugs is a feat. “I tried riding a bike once on drugs, If anything it was a lot harder,” Burgess said.

“I was in a hedge within seconds.” Whatever your view, it’s a fascinating situation and one that is likely to play out over the coming years, rather like the soon-to-be successful career of Bernard Tomic. I reckon the lad from the Gold Coast (who lives in Monaco and was born in Germany) will win between 4-8 grand slam titles in his time.

GW: Lloyd, you are being silent on the cricket. Does this mean you agree with me? I understand you were at the Sydney ODI match, which was abandoned due to a wet blade of grass. 

Surely you should get a refund. Or were you too busy contributing to the world record beer cup snake attempt? No more talk about Lance. The guy obviously loves being the centre of attention, so let’s not give him any more oxygen. 

The only real genuine sporting hero doing the rounds at the moment is Black Caviar. She brained them in a jump out (racing’s equivalent of a training run) this week. Can’t wait to see her race again next month.

LS: Aside from the omission of Michael Hussey and the inclusion of Glenn Maxwell, I’m not too fussed with the selectors’ performance. Phillip Hughes and Moises Henriques are the first and third best performed players in the Sheffield Shield with the willow this summer, David Warner’s form speaks for itself, as does that of Michael Clarke, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. George Bailey isn’t my favourite cricketer, but to be fair his record is strong. 

Perhaps cricket fans should stop lambasting the selectors and start putting the onus back on the players to perform? Just a thought. As for the rotation policy, I think it has some merit. One only has to look at the injuries to Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc over the last 12 months to realise these players need close monitoring. And as for the cricket in Sydney, the most fun in the crowd occurred when the covers were on.

Spectators hugged each other, lovers kissed and beer cups were hurled into the air to sounds of Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ the moment the SCG crowd smashed a world record. Yours truly added the final cup to a 175 metre beer snake before the ground announcer declared the boa constrictor the world’s biggest.

Therefore, I am responsible for a world record. Not many people can say that! Not even your beloved Black Caviar. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the Wonder From Down Under rated a mention! 

GW: The rotation policy stinks. It deprives spectators the opportunity to see the best players in action. It robs players of continuity and momentum. It’s a turn off for young fans who want to see their highprofile heroes in action. It makes for soft cricket. 

The more you cottonwool a player, the more prone they will be to injury when it comes time to step up. You justify the ODI selection of Henriques and Hughes on their Sheffield Shield performances.

They are totally different games. If selectors want a belter of a one-day squad, why aren’t they choosing blokes like Dan Christian or Dirk Nannes (a veteran, but he still bowls very fast)? Why did they drop Usman Khawaja, who played brilliantly in the Big Bash, after only one game? I just don’t get it.

LS: Usman averages 38 at a strike rate of 78 in domestic one-day matches, hardly earth shattering and hardly worthy of a permanent spot in the Australian team.

Christian averages 20.83 in 17 ODIs, and has managed 17 wickets at average of 31 and an economy of 4.83. He’s had his chance and proved he’s not quite up to international standard. 

Dirk Nannes, meantime, is about your age! We can sit here and whinge, or we can sit here and expect our national team (and a full strength one at that) to score more than 74! 

As for this weekend, Mr Walsh, I expect a David Warner century in the Twenty20 (he’ll be fuming after he was triggered at the SCG on Sunday), the FedExpress to make it grand slam tournament victory number 18 and Australian Open no. five at Melbourne Park on Sunday, and alt-J to take out Triple J’s Hottest 100 with their hit Something Good. 

Happy Australia Day to all (otherwise known as Citizens’ Day, apparently, or Invasion Day – the second name has some merit to it).

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