January 29, 2009

Australian cricket

Heat treatment

Martin Williamson





The heatwave hits Melbourne as a family enjoy beach cricket © Getty Images
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Club cricketers the world over – especially those in England – are used to playing in the cold and the wet, but the current heatwave blasting parts of Australia has proved too much for even the hardy locals.

A day after the organisers defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic had to pull out of the Australian Open in Melbourne with heat cramps, South Australia took the decision to scrap most of the state’s men’s and women’s grade cricket because of the abnormal conditions. With temperatures well into the 40s – so hot that insects were dropping dead in their thousands at the Melbourne tennis – the news might be seen as a sign that Australians are going as soft as their national team’s bowling attack.

But Cricket Victoria showed that the old hard approach remains. A senior CV official, sitting in his air conditioned office no doubt, dismissively brushed aside a request from South Australia that the start time of the Sheffield Shield game at the MCG be brought forward to 9am to try to avoid the worst of the day’s heat. More drinks, less whinging was the gist of his reply as he took another ice-cold can from his desk-side fridge.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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