It sorta felt good but it felt kinda wrong too. An outburst of sweaty passion on a sweet summer evening. But when it was done, there was nothing. No afterglow, just a vague sense of emptiness.
You certainly didn’t feel like lighting a cigarette afterwards.
Boxing Day, and some genius with a marketing degree who likely earns twice the average wage decided they’d stage a Sydney Hobart Twenty20 cricket match in the evening because, y’know, there’s that Sydney Hobart boat thing happening too.
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Two bizarre things happened in sport this week. First Novak Djokovic bought the entire Serbian supply of donkey cheese. Then if that wasn’t weird enough, a Twenty20 cricket tournament broke out in the middle of the Test cricket season.
The Big Bash League started on the weekend, with Shane Warne’s form and crowds both way below expectations. Warney probably flopped because it’s a little late in his career, but the crowds failed because the tournament is much too early.
The cricket calendar is upside down this summer, due mainly to South Africa’s desire to play at home on Boxing Day. So what happened was, we hosted them early, then found ourselves with a two week gap between the third Test in Perth and the start of the Sri Lanka series.
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It’s time Australia started taking Twenty20 cricket seriously. We begin our ICC World Twenty20 campaign this week ranked ninth, wedged between Bangladesh and Ireland on the official ICC rankings. We meet Ireland first up and they could very well beat us.
It has become nothing short of treasonous in recent years to admit you enjoy watching T20 cricket, let alone to suggest that Australia should dedicate more resources to the super-abbreviated form of the game. But that’s exactly what we should do. T20 cricket at the international level should be given more primacy, more credence and more money.
At the moment, T20 is an ever-growing cash cow for Cricket Australia. But the domestic Big Bash league gets all the marketing money, while the national team is almost an afterthought. The T20 squad’s two week camp in the lead-up to this major ICC-sanctioned tournament was the first time we’ve ever had a proper build-up to a major T20 tournament. No wonder we’re easybeats at international level.
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I went to the KFC T20 Big Bash League game at the Sydney Cricket Ground in character. My self-assigned role was to play the sporting curmudgeon, a cricket connoisseur abhorring the form of the game designed for people who don’t like cricket, and left-wing romantic appalled by the abominations of corporate consumption capitalism at its most bone-headedly tasteless.
Attending my first live Twenty20 event was an exercise in leisure and education, meaning that I was looking for fun but brought my notepad along.
Following the pedestrian flow through Surry Hills to Moore Park and breathing humid evening air spiced with vehicle and restaurant emissions, the collective feeling was unmistakeably that of summer carnival.
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Cricket’s Big Bash domestic T20 league kicked off on the weekend, and if you’ll excuse the pun, the thing was a smashing success.
TV ratings were huge, with over 900,000 tuning in to the match between Shane Warne’s Melbourne Stars and Dave Warner’s Sydney Thunder. That’s the fourth highest-rating show ever on Australian Pay TV.
OK, so the bums-on-seats weren’t as numerous as some predicted, but with people still working and using the precious evening hours to go Christmas shopping, that was to be expected. Just wait till January.
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Cricket is the new footy. That’s the implicit message from Cricket Australia, who yesterday expanded the Big Bash state Twenty20 competition to eight teams, including two each from Sydney and Melbourne.
Traditionalists, of course, are spitting the kind of bland old-fashioned flavourless chips they always spit when anything changes in their goldfish bowl.
But they can no more stem the tide of Twenty20 cricket than they can force people to the opera en masse instead of to the iTunes store to buy the latest Lady Gaga “song”. And that’s not agenda pushing. That’s fact.
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Herald Sun golf reporter, Mark Hayes, opened his Monday piece on Scott Laycock’s win in the inaugural Surf Coast Knockout, with the statement that it occurred “on a day that stands to change the face of Australian Golf”.
He was referring to the world first knockout golf format. The championship was decided by three rounds of stroke play. On the fourth and final day the top 32 players competed in a series of six hole matches in a knockout draw to determine the winner.
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