2 January 2012

2011 - My Crappy Cricket Team Review

Disclaimer: This post entirely comprises of my unaltered and un-enhanced memories, the lack of research has been compensated by the inclusion of a lot of shitty English, and only the events my perforated brain deemed worth recalling found entry in this review. Your own memories will most likely be completely different, especially if you have a clue about cricket.

Wes wishes all of her readers a Happy New Year :)

Madness. Manic laughter. Joy, tears, bipolar insanity. What started out as the longest public funeral in the history of mankind steadied into a slow yet sustainable recovery, with a helpfully unnoticed, successful tour to Sri Lanka, the unforgettable, hysterical South African adventure and a home defeat by New Zealand with a subsequent recovery against the visiting Indians in the last Test of the year. Michael Clarke's men have certainly known to entertain the worldwide audience, who kept their fingers crossed for either signs of rehabilitation or the continuation of the Australian slump. Since bad wishes rarely come true, the revamped Australian administration, also because half of the first string side was hospitalised, unearthed gems like Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, but did not manage to convincingly stuff the holes in the batting department. Much of the re-awoken interest in Test cricket can be attributed to the hot and cold Australian Test performances, people were glued to the screen, punters tore their hair out in desperation, no matter what reason suggested, the Aussies would do the opposite. Underneath this billowed surface a steady cool stream has guided the boat to friendlier shores. May Australia's rise continue; setbacks have to be expected, but Captain Pup holds the steering wheel firmly in his hands.

My brain is full of holes. I only remember that Shakib Al Hasan has grown beyond his own greatness. The Deshis are going through a horrible phase at the moment. Where is the team that gave New Zealand a drubbing, and England a tough time? The spirits are hanging low again.

County Cricket
Middlesex! Middlesex! Middlesex are now playing in Division 1. We conveniently ignore the fact that Surrey are now doing so, too. But we cannot ignore that the great Tim Linley was Surrey's hero of the year. Neither can we ignore Ollie Rayner. Olixander The Great has turned his back on Sussex for good because, smart as he is, he understood that only in symbiosis with Gareth Berg he can strive for and achieve total domination. Domination of what? Well, of EVERYTHING. And he shall not worry for his army of disciples are lying in the dust before his feet, awaiting his orders, ready to jump up and walk over the bent backs of their rivals for His Blondest Highness. Hampshire got relegated. And thanks to the Champions League T20, my ongoing long-term affair with Somerset has deepened even further. Ahhh Zumerzet. No further memories from this summer.

Samit Patel. Craig Kieswetter. Flipside: Ian Bell undisputedly and undisputably inhabits positions 1-100 on my smack list. Otherwise uninteresting.... But here's something else Pom-related: England have now disappointed us with two shitty summers in a row! In 2010 the visits by Australia and Pakistan took place, with both teams struggling in the unfamiliar conditions - Pakistan were shaken by the match-fixing scandal and Australia by Steven Smith - and in 2011 [see India]. Since all things come in threes, we can already brace ourselves for another forgettable European season.

The 'Germs' defended their spot in World Cricket League Division 7 in a series of nervewrecking, thrilling and hard-fought battles against old foes in Botswana *dankeschön* and experimented with a few new guys in the European T20. I hope some useful insights could be gained from that. My Player Of The Year: Javed Iqbal. For 2012 no ICC events are scheduled for Germany, since the European 50-over league got scrapped, for which the responsibles must get birched until they can't walk any more.

Got beaten at home by the Windies [long pause.... no gloating, I swear^^]. Now this has been a crazy year in the relationship between me and the team I like least. A lot of things have happened and unhappened again. In stark contrast to their unstoppable march to the World Cup title, India's titanicesque complete and total drowning in England has, dare I say it, shifted them a tiny wee closer to my heart. The giant lying on the ground moaning and bleeding from numerous wounds can soften the hardest rock. I shall of course leave unmentioned my more intensely than ever rekindled affection for Praveen Kumar, Pragyan Ojha and The Dhoni, and will not confess that I have very secretly started to follow Tamil Nadu's Ranji Trophy campaign GO TN GO from the corner of my eye a fair while back. A woman has to have her secrets, no? ;)

New Zealand
From what I remember 2011 was actually a tremendously successful year for NZ cricket. Crushed Pakistan and South Africa in the World Cup, had a good away series in Zimbabwe and put the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the 16-layer kiwi Pavlova with a Test victory against Australia in Hobart. Ross Taylor's first campaigns as a captain were certainly shone upon by a bright star. You go LRPL!!! Add to that some tender sprouting in the batting department and, from the viewpoint of an outsider, the exciting discovery of Doug Bracewell, and you'll feel strong and refreshed enough to bear another year of Chris Martin.

[insert big chin scratch] Pakistan played away from nearly any public attention, which weirdly coincides with Misbah's unflamboyant batting and leading style. In the quiet of the night they went about their business with focus and application, found structure and strength. The grapevine murmurs of team unity even, despite the return of show pony and supreme butt exposeur Shahid Afridi. However, the jail sentences for the spot-fixers have shocked me, and a part of my heart wishes they had not been necessary. Out of the three I miss Mo Asif most, since he is not to return to international cricket; not that I can imagine.

The Redbacks won the Big Bash 2010-11 and I swear it was glorious and furious win, with the specialty of a triple spin crown in the form of Adil Rashid, Aaron O'Brien and YES Nathan Lyon, who got picked from the lawnmower and thrown into the cold water , where he swam like a fish as if he had never done anything else. The rest is history: after a stunning Big Bash campaign and just a handful of First Class matches he got selected for Australia A and subsequently earned his Test Cap. There he is now, successfully defending his position as Australia's current No. Test spinner. We shall pull the veil of silence over the remaining Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers adventures of 2011.

South Africa
Vernon Philander. Is there anybody speaking about anything else?

Sri Lanka
World Cup final. Kumar Sangakkara's Cowdry lecture. After which the world stopped caring about Sri Lanka as a cricketing nation. The series against Pakistan, had it not been for a few unremittingly cheering Pak fans, would have been drowned out by the noise caused by the clash of the bigger teams, and the series against England went entirely unnoticed. Had they not pulled the landslide victory against South Africa in the Saffish Boxing Day Test out of the hat, we would by now be wondering what this Sanga dude is about. Sri Lanka have a mountain of work to shovel away, best wishes from the Old World.

West Indies
Beat India in India. Now if that isn't a clear indicator of the New Wave Of West Indies Cricket Domination (NWOWICD) you can call me Klaus-Peter. I'm expecting a lot more of this blazing hot stuff from them in 2012.

Back to Test cricket. Everybody immediately thinks of Brendan Taylor's heroics and Keegan Meth's lack of teeth. I seem to recall that even Elton was back in the runs. People will also not forget how Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh. Nobody remembers the defeats that came thereafter. Because we want Zimbabwe to enjoy a place in the sun. The perception of this team has always been a weird one, people are cheering on the victories and ignoring the defeats. This is how much we wish Zimbabwe to be successful. With Graeme Cremer back in the fold -hurrah!!!-, the Zimbies will hopefully be able to take the next step on their return to old glory :)

I wish you all love, peace and apple pies,


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Anonymous said...

Very entertaining post. Not sure about the West Indies Beat India in India. Care to elaborate?

Wes playforcountrynotforself said...

Hello Anonymous, it might have been just one match but let's be honest, many countries struggle or fail to achieve even that, plus, if you look at the overall picture, WI showed a fighting performance with a lot of promise in India, and the thumb is clearly going up for them. Thanks a lot for your comment :)


Ian said...

Good work Steffi, short and too the point. Was a roller coaster year...especially for Australian cricket fanatics.