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It's footy season here in Australia, which means, blessedly, there's no cricket. Love the game like a man loves a hamburger that he's paid to eat, but my, the game's on too much. In Australia cricket fills the summer like wallpaper coating Manhattan. It goes from late September to late March, and is totally ubiquitous. And not in a good way, like with oxygen, but ubiquitous like ads for reality television, shows about celebrity wannabes singing and dancing on ice, a pox on these things and their makers.
Cricket's not on in Australia at the moment. Even the World T20 passed like a house guest, an extremely shy uni student from Bangladesh who stayed in your granny-flat, kept to himself, and was gone in a week. Who was he again? Never mind. And so a cricket column this time of year is somewhat problematic.
What to do?
And so after a fine meal of honey prawns, jasmine rice and glasses of sauvignon blanc, I said to Wifey, I said, "Wifey? What can I write a cricket column about?" And she said, "Cricket! Cricket? Jesus Christ! It's not still on, is it? Don't they ever go on holidays?"
And I thought, yes, they probably do. And that I would write some sort of fantasy jibber-jabber about what Australia's cricketers do on holiday. And not knowing anything about what they actually do (fishing for tarpon in the azure waters of Mauritius?), in my mind's eye they'll be doing this:
Dave Warner: With his celebrity triathlete fiancé, Candize Falzon, Warner will go into hermetic semi-seclusion in a Buddhist kick-boxing training camp in the jungles outside Chang Mai, Thailand.
Ed Cowan: Will be painting Cricket Australia board members' houses after winning a contract in front of Alex Doolan.
Alex Doolan: Will be scouring texts in London's Society of Genealogists to ascertain whether he qualifies for England courtesy a British cousin-in-law or bloke he met in the pub.
Michael Clarke: Pilates. Dinner at Bondi. And repeat.
Pat Cummins: X-box. Movies. Sucking face with chicks.
Xavier Doherty: Painting houses with Ed.
Ben Hilfenhaus: Big Hilly will play golf at Tasmania Golf Club and eat massive steaks. And that's it.
Clint McKay: Fair dinkum, I can't even make up something. Who knows? The man's an enigma. They keep picking him in the short-form games. He keeps going okay. And repeat. But the bloke? He likes to surf. He's mates with John Hastings. They call him "C-Mac". After that, he could be a block of sedimentary rock.
Phillip Hughes: Our Phil will set the bowling machine up to super-max, practise facing fireballs all winter, go on to smash county cricket and Sheffield Shield quicks, earn selection for Australia, and be riddled out by Pakistan's part-time offies.
Nathan Lyon: Pat Cummins' wingman at Sydney's "be seen" nightclubs.
Ryan Harris: Whatever he wants to do, the Rhino. Whatever he wants to do. And good day to you, sir, if you're reading.
George Bailey: Dunno.
James Faulkner: Dunno, either.
Mitchell Johnson: Will cover his entire body and face in tattoos in Thailand, catch a tropical disease, earn a black belt by defeating his girlfriend in the Oceania Karate Championships, and frighten the absolute bejeezus out of Pakistan in the one-dayers and Tests in Dubai or whatever United Arab Emirate they're playing them in.
Steven Smith: X-Box.
Mitchell Starc: X-Box with Smithy.
Shane Watson: Watto will spend the entire winter stretching and doing Pilates, and do a hamstring after bending down to pick up his petrol cap after dropping it filling his car at Caltex Cronulla.
Brad Haddin: Our Hadds will return to his home town of Queanbeyan and tear up Campese Field in a stolen 1978 Torana. That or he'll just go to the beach with his kids. Your call.
Shaun Marsh: Heap of X-box.
Glenn Maxwell: Heap of X-box, too.
James Pattinson: Will convert to Buddhism and retreat to semi-seclusion in a commune outside Ballarat. Though he probably won't.
Peter Siddle: Will convert to Buddhism and retreat to semi-seclusion in a commune outside Ballarat.
Matthew Wade: X-Box.
Chris Rogers: Will cycle the route of the Tour de France, read many interesting books, and return to shore up the Australian top order with his particularly odd, angular, doughty, 35-year-old batting style. And good luck to him. Indeed good luck to them all.
Matt Cleary writes for several Australian sports and travel magazines. He tweets hereFeeds: Matt Cleary
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Matt Cleary reckons he watched more of the 1978-79 Ashes series than any eight-year-old. Despite this punishment - Geoff Boycott batting for days - Cleary was hooked. As a journalist he's written about sport, travel, beer, wine, swimming with stingrays in the Alice waters of Bora Bora, and touring Australia on a four-month lap, playing golf. Yet he counts doing ball-by-ball commentary for ESPNcricinfo as the most fun he's had with a keyboard. He writes for several of Australia's sports and travel magazines, notably Inside Sport, Inside Cricket, Golf Australia and Rugby League Week. @JournoMatCleary