January 11, 2012

Australia v India 2011-12

Cashing in on the possibility of the 100th

Andrew Hughes
Brad Haddin can't believe Michael Clarke dropped a dolly at slip, Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day, December 1, 2011
"And they said my dives are more like Italian footballers' attempts to get penalties"  © Getty Images
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Saturday, 7th January Although India’s rickety cart, minus wheels, driver and horses, did eventually come to a crashing halt, the prayers offered to the God of Revenue Maximisation by the SCG treasurer were answered and the mirage of the golden century was still flickering come the morning of the fourth day.

I reckon if you could calculate it, you’d find that Sachin’s failure to score a hundred is one of Test cricket’s most valuable assets. Cricket boards around the world will soon start factoring it into their budgets, wondering if they can get away with charging a “Sachin Century Possibility Premium” when India arrive.

I feel about the Sachin ton a little bit like I used to feel about Christmas as a child. It took so long to arrive that by the time it did, there was no possible way it could live up to the anticipation and you knew that it probably wouldn’t, but still that didn’t prevent you from giving your fevered imagination free rein.

Perhaps when it comes, the century will bring the cosmic cricket forces into balance and herald a new golden age. Jaded old cricketers will throw off their cynicism and come running onto the pitch to embrace. Ian Chappell and Ian Botham will sing “I Got You Babe,” in the centre of the WACA and doves will take off from all directions as petals fall on the outfield. In the days after the century, maybe Pakistan will be allowed to host Tests again, the World Test Championship will return, the DRS system will be made mandatory and Bob Willis will finally get his own chat show.

It is, of course, possible that none of these things will happen and that the event will pass with just a wave of the bat and an extra digit in the records. But you never know. And in the meanwhile, can I interest you in a commemorative signed photograph of Sachin almost scoring his hundredth hundred? Yours for only $99.99

Monday, 9th January I have an apology to make. I have over the months made the occasional cheap jibe at the expense of a certain Sussex performer. I have called him Luke Wrong. I have averred that if he’s an international cricketer, then I’m a Dutchman. I have suggested that he patents the straight up in the air shot, an art in which he even surpasses the master, Shahid Afridi. Well I was wrong. Call me Ronald van Humble.

Today he heaved nine sixes and eight fours in a rampage of willow-wafting that had me so astonished that I fear I may need surgery to return my eyebrows to their correct position. The list of impressive blonds called Luke that I have seen in my lifetime now extends to two and given that Luke Skywalker was, I have to reluctantly accept, a fictional character, the Luke from Grantham is probably at the top of the list.

Tuesday, 10th January Brad Haddin has copped some flak for suggesting that India are fragile and that they break quicker than anyone in the world, but I think a little understanding is called for. Having been a regular in the Australian team for the last three years, he’s seen a collapse or two so he knows what he’s talking about. Indeed, coming from an Australian cricketer of recent vintage, his comments could be taken as a kind of compliment; like one cowboy builder with a record of collapsing structures admiring an even bigger ruin brought about by another firm of dodgy constructors.

Then there is the psychological factor. We all remember from our school days that the loudest name-callers have often borne the brunt of such bullying themselves. People are saying nasty things about Brad; that he can’t catch, that he doesn’t know which end of the bat to hold, that Brad’s a silly name, that he wears his baggy green all wrong, that he can’t tie his shoelaces, that his mother cuts his hair; this kind of thing; so in time honoured schoolyard tradition, he goes and picks on someone else.

No, the Indian players shouldn’t worry too much about the fact that an Australian called Brad is saying these things; they should worry about the fact that he’s right.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Trevor on (January 12, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

The humour and topic is stale. For heaven's sake; no one even cares anymore about Sachin. As great a cricketer as he has been, we are all moving on…….get with the program Andrew!

Posted by uncanny_nanny on (January 11, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Two wrongs don't make a Wright!!

Posted by Jetha Elvitigala on (January 11, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

Brilliant and hilarious as always. The last line was one of the best. Keep it up!

Posted by kamranAkmal on (January 11, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

Thank god for giving us Haddin... Attention can finally divert from Kamran Akmal now ;)

Posted by KSS on (January 11, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Andrew Hughes -2012 does not seem to be a good year for you. I am sure ur in for another apology very shortly!!!!

Posted by Sam on (January 11, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

Hmmmmm.....the last line was very precise!

Posted by vikram on (January 11, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

Hilarious as usual, Andrew! However I don't understand how a one-off T20 slog performance changes your opinion about Mr. Luke Wrong.

Posted by Sunil Jambekar on (January 11, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

There are many other Brads in Kangaroo Circus who can bat and catch much better than this Brat!

I think he should start worrying about his Goalkeeping now rather than the fragileness of Indian batting...

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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