Champions League 2009 October 22, 2009

Brad Hodge Squarepants

 
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Law enforcement catches up with Brad Hodge for his role in a cartoon cricket match © Cricinfo Ltd
 

What the Jimmy Anderson was that?

I had cleared my schedule for this clash of the blue Titans. I accumulated several road traffic violations whilst dashing back from my daughter’s school in order not to miss the opening exchanges, and in the face of considerable protest I vetoed her proposal that she be allowed to watch some cartoons. Top-class sport is all about sacrifices, I told her and in any case, the misadventures of Mr Squarepants couldn’t possibly compare with the tough, gristly contest that was about to ensue at 1530 BST on Eurosport UK.

I will admit that there was more at stake than just the chance to watch some all-Aussie action. For many long years I have been boring people senseless with my theories on the inadequacy of the English domestic game versus its Australian counterpart. Aussie cricket is tougher, I would explain to the nearest set of ears, because there are fewer teams, so the talent is more concentrated, you see. I would then elaborate on the Academy, annual rainfall in the Australasian region, the administrative methodology of Cricket Australia, the teachings of Master Langer and so on and so forth until their eyes glazed over and I once more found myself checking the wine list on my own.

So the Champions League was the perfect test and when Somerset and Sussex crashed out while Victoria and New South Wales strolled to the semi-finals, I could savour the warm glow of unbearable smugness. All that was needed for my theory to be proven and my self-satisfaction to be engraved in stone was an epic tussle between these Australian giants, a no-holds-barred, no-mercy sledgefest, a battering of limbs and wills that would have us wincing and hiding behind the sofa at the sheer unrelenting ferocious professionalism of it all.

Part one was bang on. The Bushrangers snarled, scrambled and shouted, but the Hughes blade hummed, Warner walloped the leather off the white ball, and after a spirited 20 overs worth of entertainment, a hefty target was raised for the Victorians to tackle. Looking at their line-up, I thought this was going to be one hell of a run-chase: David Hussey. Cameron White. Brad Hodge. Aiden Blizzard. Some others. Hell, Billy Doctrove was so excited, he started to get a little jiggy on the sidelines (surely those long delays during referrals to the third umpire are crying out for a contemporary dance interlude).

But then something strange happened. Perhaps they were trying to retain the interest of bored five-year-olds or perhaps the Bushrangers just aren’t very good, but they appeared to be acting out a classic Spongebob episode. Specifically, episode seven of series eight, in which our inept invertebrate hero takes up Twenty20 but is hilariously unable to score at faster than three-and-a-half runs an over. They swung. They missed. They lost a wicket. They swung. They missed. And so on. Watching Victoria’s innings was like sitting staring at an acorn, waiting for it to turn into a tree. No, it was worse than that. It was like watching Worcestershire.

So now I have a new theory. Fifty per cent of Australian cricketers are useless under pressure, and Cameron White clearly belongs to the species Felis Catus. Someone email it to the Times and we can call it a dossier.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Itchy on October 23, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Can't believe I read the article to the end and have now wasted more time making a comment - I'm going to bed!

  • Siddhartha on October 23, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    @redneck lollz that was a funny comment but comeon have some faith in SA ther are not that bad

  • Prabakaran on October 23, 2009, 7:01 GMT

    Forget about yesterdays let us see what will happen tody.... I accept this concept and also i hope India will beat Australia in the upcoming series 7-0.

  • redneck on October 23, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    @Ben mate as a south aussie myself,i dont think even the wile e coyote is a fair comparison. more like kenny from south park!

  • Ben on October 23, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    My advice to you is to make sure you never watch a game involving the Redbacks (South Australia). Now thats a team which can capitulate like few others, especially when it comes to 20/20. If Victoria are Squarebob Spongepants, SA would be something similar to Wile E. Coyote.

  • spideybuff on October 22, 2009, 18:00 GMT

    Victoria let the pitch beat them. From before the game all the teams were complaining about the pitch and the low scores...yet NSW made 170 on it.

    Triniad would have probably done the same and attack in the same way.But the teams who were at Delhi, fell for the hype and let the pitch beat them rather than play each ball on merit.

  • suresh on October 22, 2009, 14:56 GMT

    forget about yesterdays let us see what will happen tody....

  • David on October 22, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    @Victor Trumpet, the toss wasn't worth 80 runs, nor did the pitch change so drastically between the 20th over of NSW's innings and Vic's 3rd that they should be 6-3 already. Can you really not bring yourself to admit that Vic was comprehensively outplayed?

  • Dave on October 22, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    "Like watching Worcestershire"

    Christ, glad I gave it a miss now.

  • Winnie on October 22, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    I don't know what the flog has happened to Cameron White. He used to be the biggest swashbuckler of the lot but he barely goes at a run a ball even in ODI's these days. Doesn't he realise they don't want him in the test team? Twenty/20 is it for him. Before he gets more delusional and aspirational about the baggy green test cap, someone needs to tell him.

  • Itchy on October 23, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Can't believe I read the article to the end and have now wasted more time making a comment - I'm going to bed!

  • Siddhartha on October 23, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    @redneck lollz that was a funny comment but comeon have some faith in SA ther are not that bad

  • Prabakaran on October 23, 2009, 7:01 GMT

    Forget about yesterdays let us see what will happen tody.... I accept this concept and also i hope India will beat Australia in the upcoming series 7-0.

  • redneck on October 23, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    @Ben mate as a south aussie myself,i dont think even the wile e coyote is a fair comparison. more like kenny from south park!

  • Ben on October 23, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    My advice to you is to make sure you never watch a game involving the Redbacks (South Australia). Now thats a team which can capitulate like few others, especially when it comes to 20/20. If Victoria are Squarebob Spongepants, SA would be something similar to Wile E. Coyote.

  • spideybuff on October 22, 2009, 18:00 GMT

    Victoria let the pitch beat them. From before the game all the teams were complaining about the pitch and the low scores...yet NSW made 170 on it.

    Triniad would have probably done the same and attack in the same way.But the teams who were at Delhi, fell for the hype and let the pitch beat them rather than play each ball on merit.

  • suresh on October 22, 2009, 14:56 GMT

    forget about yesterdays let us see what will happen tody....

  • David on October 22, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    @Victor Trumpet, the toss wasn't worth 80 runs, nor did the pitch change so drastically between the 20th over of NSW's innings and Vic's 3rd that they should be 6-3 already. Can you really not bring yourself to admit that Vic was comprehensively outplayed?

  • Dave on October 22, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    "Like watching Worcestershire"

    Christ, glad I gave it a miss now.

  • Winnie on October 22, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    I don't know what the flog has happened to Cameron White. He used to be the biggest swashbuckler of the lot but he barely goes at a run a ball even in ODI's these days. Doesn't he realise they don't want him in the test team? Twenty/20 is it for him. Before he gets more delusional and aspirational about the baggy green test cap, someone needs to tell him.

  • Dan on October 22, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    It's simple really. Victoria have dominated Australian domestic cricket for years now, in particular the Twenty 20 format, however they continue to live up to the label of 'chokers'. I'm sure Cameron White and his boys would be feeling utterly humiliated after that loss, as they should be. Their bowling, in particular Siddle, was atrocious! They may have misread the pitch but it's quite clear they missed Dirk Nannes big time, while NSW were fortunate to be missing nobody at all. The psychological damage was done after 10 overs of NSW's innings and it showed in Victoria's meek surrender with the bat in the face of a Test bowling line-up. The scarring of countless domestic finals blown is still raw for this Victorian line-up.

  • Rene Kita on October 22, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    David Hussey. Cameron White. Brad Hodge. Haven't we seen these fellows being spanked by all comers in the national team? Why would they suddenly learn twenty20 playing for Victoria?

  • Mayur Baruah on October 22, 2009, 10:05 GMT

    Hey hang on! M an Indian but its wasn't that bad a match to be called boring i guess...yes the run chase was nothing but you never ever mentioned it was due to some good and accurate bowling by the NSW bowlers that took hell out of the Victorians !!

  • Karan on October 22, 2009, 9:49 GMT

    Certainly, I expected to see a good reply by the Bushrangers after they were set a target of 170. Right from the very first over, it didn't seem as if they were there to win it, or even trying to win it. In my point of view, they should have had a go at the target rather than just chewing up all of those 120 balls and scoring 90 odd runs.

  • John M on October 22, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    I'm sorry that Victoria let you down. I really think that their biggest mistake has been persisting with Hodge. In the meantime Patrick Star has been crying out for selection!

  • rob heinen on October 22, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    There's one more premiss to add to your theory. It is quite understandable that from the english point of view - litterally! - you missed it. It may sound obvious and implicitely you already acknowledged it, but I wouldn't like leaving it out. Here it is: Even the bottom 50% of australian cricketers will beat any english team at any time.

  • Neha J. on October 22, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    Your theories on the Aussie game being stronger than its English counterpart interest me. I'd love to hear more about these aspects you mentioned, viz the rain, the fewer teams etc. Please elaborate. Rest assured I won't get bored. Thank you!

  • ss on October 22, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    like u - even i was looking for a tough game but i ended up going to sleep after the first 5overs of the victoria innings (around 10.30pm in Srilanka).....useless match...hope today's semi is better!

  • victor trumpet on October 22, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Yes and absolutely nothing to do with who won the toss and batted first.

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  • victor trumpet on October 22, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    Yes and absolutely nothing to do with who won the toss and batted first.

  • ss on October 22, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    like u - even i was looking for a tough game but i ended up going to sleep after the first 5overs of the victoria innings (around 10.30pm in Srilanka).....useless match...hope today's semi is better!

  • Neha J. on October 22, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    Your theories on the Aussie game being stronger than its English counterpart interest me. I'd love to hear more about these aspects you mentioned, viz the rain, the fewer teams etc. Please elaborate. Rest assured I won't get bored. Thank you!

  • rob heinen on October 22, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    There's one more premiss to add to your theory. It is quite understandable that from the english point of view - litterally! - you missed it. It may sound obvious and implicitely you already acknowledged it, but I wouldn't like leaving it out. Here it is: Even the bottom 50% of australian cricketers will beat any english team at any time.

  • John M on October 22, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    I'm sorry that Victoria let you down. I really think that their biggest mistake has been persisting with Hodge. In the meantime Patrick Star has been crying out for selection!

  • Karan on October 22, 2009, 9:49 GMT

    Certainly, I expected to see a good reply by the Bushrangers after they were set a target of 170. Right from the very first over, it didn't seem as if they were there to win it, or even trying to win it. In my point of view, they should have had a go at the target rather than just chewing up all of those 120 balls and scoring 90 odd runs.

  • Mayur Baruah on October 22, 2009, 10:05 GMT

    Hey hang on! M an Indian but its wasn't that bad a match to be called boring i guess...yes the run chase was nothing but you never ever mentioned it was due to some good and accurate bowling by the NSW bowlers that took hell out of the Victorians !!

  • Rene Kita on October 22, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    David Hussey. Cameron White. Brad Hodge. Haven't we seen these fellows being spanked by all comers in the national team? Why would they suddenly learn twenty20 playing for Victoria?

  • Dan on October 22, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    It's simple really. Victoria have dominated Australian domestic cricket for years now, in particular the Twenty 20 format, however they continue to live up to the label of 'chokers'. I'm sure Cameron White and his boys would be feeling utterly humiliated after that loss, as they should be. Their bowling, in particular Siddle, was atrocious! They may have misread the pitch but it's quite clear they missed Dirk Nannes big time, while NSW were fortunate to be missing nobody at all. The psychological damage was done after 10 overs of NSW's innings and it showed in Victoria's meek surrender with the bat in the face of a Test bowling line-up. The scarring of countless domestic finals blown is still raw for this Victorian line-up.

  • Winnie on October 22, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    I don't know what the flog has happened to Cameron White. He used to be the biggest swashbuckler of the lot but he barely goes at a run a ball even in ODI's these days. Doesn't he realise they don't want him in the test team? Twenty/20 is it for him. Before he gets more delusional and aspirational about the baggy green test cap, someone needs to tell him.