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Too Much of a Good Thing?

By Alasdair McClintock on January 5, 2015 in Sport

Photo: Merv Hughes

Photo: Merv Hughes

It is not an easy time to write about cricket. Given the recent tragedy involving young Phil Hughes (may he rest in peace), it feels a little wrong to be having a dig at it, but I’ve got a deadline and am bereft of any other good ideas, so here we go.

Previous to that horrific event I got the feeling a lot of us were beginning to tune out from the game we once loved. I personally afforded it only a cursory glance, and although I admittedly got caught up in the drama surrounding our rise back to number one in the Test rankings last year, the constant stream of one-dayers, Twenty20s, IPL and the brief Test series against Pakistan (forgive me if I’m forgetting something) since, has ensured the ‘Summer of Cricket’ has little to no appeal to me – I just had a bloody ‘Winter of Cricket’!

I know I am not alone in this. Plenty a beer has been downed with allies as we wonder why we have to sit through seven one-dayers against just one opponent, and why Cricket Australia seems so intent on jamming Twenty20 cricket down everybody’s throat.

Twenty20 is the harbinger of the degeneration of our society. It is a quick fix. It is Twitter, online pornography, ending long-term relationships via text, all rolled into one. It is all flash and no substance. It is acronyms instead of full sentences. It is just plain fricken lazy and indicative of the current societal trend to behave like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka when it comes to our entertainment – “I want it now!”

At least we used to be able to watch Test cricket with a modicum of enjoyment, but the whole calendar has become such an orgy of willow and leather, different coloured balls and fried chicken, even Test matches have lost some of their allure. Heck, Glenn ‘The Big Show’ Maxwell is playing Test cricket these days! Has that bloke even faced a hundred balls in one dig?

Despite the promises of drama a series against India usually provides, both on and off the field, I couldn’t really give two hoots about the current series. There’s a World Cup in Australia next year, you say? That’s great, but I’d rather stay up late to watch the rugby incarnation being contested in England.

In a sad, twisted way, Cricket Australia needed something like the Hughes incident to get people caring about cricket again. Crowds have been down and despite what Channel Ten may be claiming about the success of Big Bash ratings (it’s because there is nothing else on, guys), people were switching off, and they will again, because the emotion and good sentiment won’t last.

The powers that be are becoming victims of their own greed, and in ruthlessly milking the great game for every drop of entertainment, they have created a product so watered down it is like drinking Ribena at your stingy mate’s place. Sure, you get a little bit of sugar, but given the complete lack of taste and substance, was it really worth it?

* On a side note, whoever stole the bat I put out for Phil Hughes in Bronte, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are just a dishonourable thief who didn’t know the significance, not the most despicable person in the world. Please give it to some kid. Unless you are a kid, then keep it, I guess, but put it to good use.