You may well have heard of the ongoing "culture wars" dividing modern society (basically just a glorified term for the actions of certain men who want to play computer games without being told to tidy their rooms) - but news has reached the Light Roller this month of a far more serious rift. The normally carefree troupe of globetrotting hipsters known as the Australia cricket team has split into rival factions based around their preferences for coffee.
Clearly, dealing with life in the biosecure bubble while on their tour of England has taken a toll. Discussing the situation in an emotional, socially distanced interview
, Kane Richardson
spilled the beans (organic, hand-picked) on the group's descent into caffeine-fuelled nihilism, hitting out at diminutive legspinner and haircut wearer Adam Zampa
for being a "coffee snob" who had never extended him an invite to the famous Love Café.
(As watchers of The Test
will know, the Love Café was founded in response to the crisis that engulfed Australian cricket following the 2018 sandpaper affair. Zampa and Marcus Stoinis
are the designated "rare units" who front the operation, with the goal of fostering a more caring, sharing environment within the national team. There is also an aim to teach Stoinis how to play legspin but they haven't got round to that part yet.)
Richardson revealed that he has taken to patronising the newly established outlet of batsman-barista David Warner, adding warmly that "to me it all tastes the same". Marnus Labuschagne has also tried to claim a slice of the market with what connoisseurs describe as a homespun brew that looks a bit funny but gets the job done - though given he is only open for business when not batting in the nets (or throwing for Steven Smith in the nets), success is believed to have been limited.
Furthermore, rumours that Smith was considering switching to coffee from tea, in a move that could help unite the warring parties, have been dismissed by well-placed sources who point out that he could never betray his preference for exotic leaves.
While captain Aaron Finch has so far managed to maintain appearances of elite mateship, mainly by overseeing a series of team-bonding latte art sessions, there are fears more serious cultural issues may once again be percolating through the Australian system. Dressing-room feuds such Warne v Waugh or Katich v Clarke are nothing new, but the emergence of this latest beef/vegan-friendly meat substitute could tear the squad apart. What might be the consequences, for instance, of Pat Cummins starting up a cold brew movement, or Glenn Maxwell experimenting with kombucha?
Remember, as the old saying goes, a team is only as strong as its weakest pot of vacuum-brewed single-origin fair-trade Sumatran.
Australia's old guard, meanwhile, continue to cherish their status as unappointed moral arbiters of the sport, diligently policing "the line" wherever they go. Ricky Ponting
has been quite clear about which line he doesn't want R Ashwin to cross during the IPL - that is the notional, "spirit of cricket" perimeter beyond which lies the lawless world of running out a non-striker for backing up (NB: completely within
the Laws). However, it seems after a chat with Ashwin, he has now noticed the actual, physical white line that non-strikers keep sauntering past, too. "I think something has to happen with the laws of the game to make sure batsmen can't cheat
," said a perplexed Ponting. Quite right, too, Ricky. But what possible solution could there be?
From the IPL to the Svenska Cricketförbundet - quite literally, in the case of Jonty Rhodes
, who will head for Scandinavia after the completion of his stint with Kings XI Punjab in the UAE. Tempting as it is to make the joke that Sweden is one of the few places whiter than South African cricket, Rhodes has spoken openly in support of transformation and his own experience of privilege growing up - and we wish him great success in helping to establish the game in what looks to be an inhospitable foreign clime. Here's hoping he is able to assemble a capable team quicker than you can say ubiquitous flat-pack furniture manufacturer and is back at an ICC event in the very near future, leading a bunch of tall, chiselled Nordic types who are all absolute guns in the field. Just don't ask questions about how they will handle the knockout rounds.