Press Tent: ‘Oh Australia’ Edition

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We may be based in South Africa, but here in the Press Tent we try to be impartial. As Australia put up as much of a fight as a henpecked husband who has been told to mow the lawn, we have failed.

That was, objectively, hilarious and brilliant. So, sorry if this week’s edition has some added gloating.

#CooksFault

Nothing upsets Australians more than their cricket team losing at home, and with their team doing so in comically inept fashion there will be a lot of staring at belly-buttons over the next few weeks.

Over in the Sydney Morning Herald there was a silver-lining. Australia may be absolutely shit-awful, but they are not destroying Test cricket. The person doing that is Alastair Cook.

Malcolm Knox had a deadline and a blank page to fill. It had pissed down with rain all day in Hobart. So he tuned into India vs England for 30 minutes and set to work on saying it was the Poms that were to blame for falling interest in Tests.

England had the position and the opportunity to force a result. But, in what retired Australian Test cricketers would call batting and leadership of unacceptable selfishness, Cook and Hameed strolled on towards a partnership milestone,” Knox wrote.

This reading of the game can only have been reached by someone who absent-mindedly turned on the match in the desperate hope of finding something to write about while the precipitation fell in Tasmania. England went into the last day of a Test in the third innings of the match with a small lead and ended up four wickets from victory on a placid surface. Not bad, that.

Through their aggression, Australians destroy themselves. Through their defensiveness, England and India destroy a game. Which would you have?”

Well Malcolm, as it has been literally one Test since England lost all 10 wickets to Bangladesh for 64 runs to lose in humiliating fashion, England have decided to have both.

Mongrel Spirit

Ben Dorries, the man famous for inserting himself in his, oh so hilarious, feud with Stuart Broad back on the last Ashes tour, has decided that the problem with Australia’s cricket team isn’t a lack of runs, wickets or catches.

What they need is something that is called “mongrel spirit”. Apparently the teams of Steve Waugh and Allan Border had it. But then they also had loads of runs, wickets and catches.

Australia must summon the blood-and-guts cricket spirit of Steve Waugh, David Boon, Merv Hughes and Ian Healy when it picks a radically new side for the Adelaide Test,” Dorries wrote.

Waugh (10,927 runs at 51.06), Boon (7,422 runs at 43.65), Hughes (212 wickets at 28.38) and Healy (395 dismissals) apparently won matches because they really cared.

Dorries goes on to name some cricketers that have mediocre records in Shield cricket as the solution to this absence of caring about playing for their country.

This is the left-field, trench-warfare team with a bit of mongrel that Australia must call on to look South Africa in the eye and restore hopelessly lost cricketing pride,” Dorries implores.

The downtrodden Aussies must largely look past batting and bowling averages and instead delve deep into the hearts and souls of its baggy green custodians.”

Or, you know, they could pick players who are going to score runs and take wickets.

There is no “I” in “Petersen”

Alviro Petersen has been charged with match-fixing in South Africa. The former Protea opener has furiously denied any wrong doing, but this is big news. There was an AFP wire story that was reproduced all over the world, and one of those places that ran the article was the Dhaka Tribune in Bangladesh.

The only problem was the picture editor put an image of Kevin Pietersen under the story. This was brought to the attention of Pietersen who tweeted an image of the newspaper.

It didn’t take long for the offending publication to apologise for the stuff up, tweeting to Pietersen to say sorry.

We offer our sincerest apologies to @KP24 for using his photo incorrectly in a news.”

What is the letter “i” between friends?

Haseeb Hameed, the saviour

While Australia were wallowing in self-pity, our English friends were getting a bit carried away with themselves. The 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed made his Test debut in Rajkot and played very well indeed. He made 31 in the first innings and 82 in the second.

It was enough for the British press to declare the kid the solution to English cricket’s opening batsman problem for good.

The Daily Mail had a headline that read: “Haseeb Hameed’s remarkable rise is right to draw parallels with cricket great Sachin Tendulkar as the youngster dazzles on England debut.”

In the Telegraph there was more excitement. Scyld Berry proclaimed that as long as Hameed manages a single run in the Test in Vizag this week he will be England’s long term opener along with Alastair Cook.

Haseeb Hameed, after the most dazzling of debuts, has only to avoid a pair in the second Test to consign Alex Hales’s career as a Test opener to Wisden. Hameed’s preternatural maturity aged 19 has made him Alastair Cook’s 10th opening partner since Andrew Strauss, the best, and probably the last,” Berry wrote.

Calm down, boys. Let’s give the kid a few more Tests before we decide he is the second-coming of Sachin.

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