We are just a few days away from the first test between Australia and world No.1 South Africa. The Australian cricket summer is about to kick-off with a bang with mouth-watering top of the table clash in the ICC Test rankings table.
Ever since Kerry Packer’s World Series, cricket in Australia always had something extra in store for the cricket lovers from all over the world. That peculiar nature of ODI cricket in Australia might have been over with the modernization and evolution of cricket but still many things are fascinating about the cricket in Australia, which makes it very special, and a treat for the cricket lovers all over the world. The wonderful settings in the grounds really make it a spectacle to relish even on the TV screens. The huge green grounds with a lot of white seagulls make it such a wonderful contrast of natural beauty. The seagulls flying to avoid the ball are always a joyous sight. The huge modern MCG, WACA and GABBA a long side the antique history of SCG are a nice blend of new and old venues. The timings of the start of play, which has made cricket in Australia very unique experience, being in Pakistan, the cricket starts very early in the morning and that experience of cricket on very early chilly winter mornings is truly matchless.
There is no better sight in cricket that a fast bowler comes charging, hits the deck hard and keeper taking the ball with his gloves pointing up high in the air. With the pace and the bounce in the Australian wickets, you get plenty of such sights even from medium pacers hitting the goodish lengths even. The sub-continental batsmen might hate the pace and the bounce but it is a wonderful sight indeed. Other than very famous pace and bounce of Australian wickets, the silent feature is the huge versatility in the wickets throughout Australia. Everyone almost gets a chance to have his say at some point of time in Australian summer. It all starts in GABBA in Brisbane; don't the fast bowlers lick their lips watching that pitch. The ball just flies after hitting the deck. It is one of the quickest and the most bouncy wickets around the world. Then, in Adelaide Oval batsmen are the kings, a feather bed of a batting wicket even the Sub-Continentals score runs in tons there. In Hobart, there is a good true wicket for stoke play but obviously not as flat as Adelaide Oval. Now moving to the Western shores of Australia, WACA wickets in Perth liven up the pacers whole-heartedly. WACA has the quickest and the bounciest wicket of the cricketing world without a shadow of doubt, once Sabina Park, Kingston used to match it but now times have changed. In glorious MCG, it starts as good batting wicket but shapes very much into a turning track. In historic SCG, the tweeters have their say big time. Over the years Shane Warne has warmed the hearts with his mighty leg-spinners and bamboozling flippers both in MCG and SCG.
The commentary team of channel 9 is one of my chief reasons for my special love for cricket in Australia. Never ending passion and exuberance of Tony Greg and Bill Lowry on just every wicket or boundary is simply unmatchable. The witty analysis of the two of the greatest captains of all-time Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell always makes it an intriguing watch. Taylor and Chappell combine together some very witty captaincy brains that no academy or coach can impart to the young cricketers all over the world. The ageless wonder, Richie Bernard keeps on thrilling, season after season with his splendid comments. The chirpiness of Ian Healy and Mark Slater never bores a minute. Then there is flamboyance of Mark Nicolas, which makes it, really an icing on the cake. Even if someone has the authority on all cricket commentators of the world, I doubt one could fabricate a better commentating team then this channel 9's legendary team.
Over the years, the tri-nation World Series cricket has been the hallmark of cricket in Australia. It has produced some of the greatest moments of ODI cricket. A good long streak of games presented a very fine opportunity to the touring team to show its metal and every side in the world got that chance just after a few years. It is pretty saddening that the World Series, which had a history of 30 years, abandoned by Cricket Australia in 08’ though last years, it was putt together once more but disappointingly, it was one off event not on the regular basis as it used to be.
Probably, I have missed the great Australian spirit of fight and never say die attitude, which has exaggerated my romance with the cricket in Australia. Australia being a great sporting nation, imparts an attitude as tough as old boots to the cricketers. At the end, it all comes to the contest in the cricket which charms the most. In Australia the battle between the ball and the bat is pretty even, as compared to Sub-Continent where just batting prevails mostly.