December 6, 2013

The Ashes 2013-14

Will the real Cricket Australia please stand up?

The first day at Adelaide Oval featured an off-field controversy when Cricket Australia tweeted a photo of four turbaned men in Teletubbies costumes, with the caption "Will the real Monty Panesar please stand up?" The tweet was removed, but Martin Samuel writes in the Daily Mail that Cricket Australia cannot sink to such levels.

It was a cheap shot, immature and insensitive, and if Cricket Australia and some local boneheads cannot see this, it merely proves there is more to multi-cultural integration than having a token Aborigine speak a few wise words before the first day of each Test match. This is not about gestures, but attitudes - just as it was when white Spanish motor racing fans greeted Lewis Hamilton with black faces and curly wigs.

In the Guardian, Vic Marks writes that the selection of Panesar was a bold move, not only because England rarely play two spinners in Australia, but also because of Panesar's troubled year.

A further consequence of a selection like this is that it spices up the dynamics of the touring party, which may well be beneficial. England may have a rough idea of their personnel for Perth. But there is no certainty anymore. Now even senior players are put on their mettle.

Malcolm Knox in the Sydney Morning Herald considers Australia's batting and notes that batsmen can feel under increased pressure to succeed on pitches expected to offer the bowlers nothing.

Australia batted against itself on Adelaide's drop-in wicket, each man knowing only he could get himself out. Times past, winning the toss on such an easy-paced surface would have meant the lower order could pack away their gear for the day and find a nice place for a snooze. But most of the Australian batsmen are playing for their futures every game, not to mention the Ashes, and this was a day thick with pressure.

And in the Guardian, Russell Jackson shares his thoughts on the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.

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