Long, hot (and boring) summer 

The world’s greatest legspinner, Shane Warne, last week created headlines by demanding Cricket Australia undergoes a shake up. Now, Gerard Walsh, the man who in 2011 skippered the Goulburn Post to a convincing loss in a charity match with Goulburn Mulwaree Council, and Lloyd Scroope, a solid eighth string bowling option in his junior days, discuss the state of the game… 

GW: Lloyd, I now understand why our News ‘Limited’ friends have been devoting half of the Daily Telegraph (did you notice the 20 per cent price rise too?) to rugby league over the past few weeks despite it being the off-season. 

It’s because the bat and ball game just doesn’t sell. Unless you’re Glenn Maxwell that is. 

The long, hot boring summer of croquet, sorry cricket, is about to peter out. The end to this misery couldn’t come soon enough. You have to worry when cricketing officials start resorting to building beaches and fancy dress promos to encourage more spectators to one-day internationals. 

There are enough clowns playing, umpiring and commentating as it is. Us TV audiences don’t need more visuals of idiots playing dress-ups in the crowd. Maybe they’re not playing dress ups. I did know a bloke who REALLY did think he was Darth Vader. The funny thing was his name was Luke.

Anyway ... the cricket season’s number was up when the ABC Grandstand team poked fun at the size of the crowd attending the second ODI in Perth on Sunday ... there were more people at the previous evening’s basketball game featuring the Perth Wildcats.

LS: Aside from the South African series, this summer has lacked quality opposition.

The Sri Lankans were nothing short of pathetic in their three Test series, while the Australians made Glenn McGrath look like Ricky Pontng with a couple of embarrassing batting performances in the ODIs. Now, it seems, the West Indies are the easy-beats.

Bring on the Indian series and the Ashes I say! Australian spectators appreciate a good contest, something that’s been lacking since the Adelaide Test. 

Perhaps Cricket Australia should punish the venues that lure poor crowds. Can you tell me how Hobart keeps hosting Test matches and ODIs when between 2000-4000 people turn out? Time to strip Hobart of its Test matches and give them to Canberra, where a decent crowd will front up. Just a thought.

GW: Cricket Australia should punish the selectors for treating fans with contempt.

For confusing players. And for regressing Australian cricket. Too many matches, too many players and too much miscommunication about ‘rotation’ policy. 

All this will come to a head next Wednesday, when the Aussies square off against the Windies in a T20 at Brisbane. Problem is at least 13 of the country’s best 17 players will be in India. So fans will again pay big money to see a B-grade line up (Brad Haddin excluded) against the young Calypso outfit. About as exciting as this week’s Superbowl.

LS: Interesting you bemoan the state of Australian cricket (even though we’re winning most of our games and the apparently appalling rotation system is churning out some fine cricketers) yet make no mention of the questionable tactics taken by the Essendon Bombs and Many Warringah Sea Eagles or the alleged match fixing in soccer. 

I bet you were one of those people who complained when Australia dominated cricket, and now, when we’re not quite at the top of tree you complain some more! Even rugby league, which you and the Telegraph insist on drooling over, is in a rut. 

Did you know I got a call-up to the NRL All Stars team, Gerry? I had to withdraw with injury though.

GW: (Drooling and dragging knuckles), yes, we have unearthed some outstanding cricketers who I am sure will join the pantheon of Aussie Test greats.

Let’s see ... nope. Can’t think of any.

Jackson Bird I am impressed with and George Bailey can make it at Test level. But the one-day boys will, in my opinion, always be one-day boys. 

There is nothing out-ofthe- box about them. Your heroes, Henriques, Maxwell, Wade, Finch, Cutting, Voges, Marsh are light years behind the likes of Bevan, the Husseys, the Waughs et al. 

But those rich Indians must think otherwise, considering they’re prepared to pay Maxwell $1 million for tonking in the backyard. The AFL drug situation isn’t surprising. Their system hardly ‘cracks’ down on players and teams for cheating.

The deterrents aren’t sufficient enough to outweigh the big monetrey incentives these blokes chase. They have a rule where a player who fesses up to drug cheating isn’t penalised (which is not as bad as that three strikes then you’re named policy.. whoopee do, I’m so scared ...). 

AFL is enjoying a surge of popularlity nationwide ... but what goes up, must come down. That’s bad luck about the NRL All Stars team omission mate ... but I’m sure they’ll find a replacement water girl.

LS: Word on the street is Justin Hodges is the Indigenous All Stars water girl and Darius Boyd the NRL All Stars equivalent.

You, on the other hand, were left-right-out.

And the laws of physics don’t apply to the AFL. It’s popular because it’s a damn good sport. I note from a glance at the Fox Sports website Sonny Bill Williams says he will give away boxing for good should he lose his bout with South African Francios Botha tonight. 

Let’s hope he gets his head knocked-in. Mind you, getting his head knocked in might not be the only problem he faces. Methinks Sonny Bill could be facing a defamation case after labelling the judges in the Mundine-Beale fight ‘corrupt’.

Naughty, naughty. Even if he has to fork out some money, a few hours work under his lucrative NRL contract will cover the costs.

What a joke! 

GW: Speaking of jokes (you thought I was going to drop your name in here, didn’t you?), here’s a cricketing one I dragged out of the vault: George was always thinking of cricket.

Eventually, his exasperated wife said, “You think nothing but cricket. I bet you don’t even remember the day we were married.”

“Of course I do,” said George. “It was the day Sir Colin Cowdrey got a 100 not out against Surrey.” Sorry.

I think the last word should go to the astute Sri Lankan owner of Blue Diamond Stakes (a rich race for baby horses in Melbourne on February 23) favourite Miracles of Life who is sticking by young apprentice Lauren Stojakovic to ride the horse, despite offers from more experienced jockeys. 

Now that’s faith. I reckon Lauren will deliver the goods too. A top little hoop. The owner should be an Australian cricket selector.

LS: I’m still waiting for the joke… GW: And so ends another enthralling edition of Counter Attack. The great Tarlo engima Polygon Wood races today at Canberra. Barrier one, with old Kev Sweeney on board. He’s chance if he has overcome his mucos problem. 

Regardless, snot for me.

  NO PLACE FOR DRESS UPS: We don’t need to see shots of Darth Vader in the crowd while we’re trying to watch cricket on the telly.

NO PLACE FOR DRESS UPS: We don’t need to see shots of Darth Vader in the crowd while we’re trying to watch cricket on the telly.


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