"Howard's future in retirement? I've come up with three options:
(a) A ceremonial role (eg: patron, no.1 ticket holder, mascot) with one or more of the Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia or the Australian Olympic team...."
- Rick Eyre, 1.12.07
For a variety of reasons I didn't do a normal cricket blog after Boxing Day 2009. I continued to pass comment on Twitter over the past month, however, and over the past few days I have been summarising, with annotations, my cricket-related tweets between December 27 and the present. Some tweets have been omitted for reasons of clarity or sanity, none have been internally edited.
For no obvious reason I haven't done a blog entry about cricket since my end-of-year piece on December 30 (apart from a item spruiking my book "Today In Cricket" and why haven't you bought it yet?). Worse still, my daily Test match entries conked out after the opening day of the Australia v Pakistan First Test.
Oh run ye, oh run ye, to the striker's end.
The Frank Worrell Trophy is settled for 2009. Australia 2, West Indies 0, with one draw. Sounds decisive on the surface of it, but the truth is that, for the two latter Tests at least, the Windies surpassed expectations. Australia played like a team hovering between third and fourth-best in the world.
On Thursday, day two of the WACA Test against the West Indies, Dennis Lillee was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Chris Gayle celebrated by smashing the ball onto the roof of his grandstand.
Michael Clarke, co-star with Tiger Woods in many an Aussie version of the Gillette ads, made less runs than Woods has paramours, but with the West Indian eleven lacking Chanderpaul and Barath, it is going to be hard to see them matching the eventual Australian score.
"Australia supports Israel's right to self defence and its right to self determination. We understand that it is hard to feel confident in a peaceful future when your people are coming under daily rocket attack. We acknowledge that there are nations and forces in your region that are committed to Israel's destruction. Australia's Government was a champion for the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Our commitment to Israel's security has not wavered since that time. It's why we opposed the referral of the Goldstone Report to the UN General Assembly."
Australia, chasing 330 for the win, lost no further wickets as Michael Clarke, perhaps its most dependable batsman in this situation, dropped anchor in partnership with Brad Haddin. Still, it was a little surprising to see Chris Gayle call a halt to the match with five overs to play. Apart from surrendering that final (albeit unlikely) shot at going for the kill, this Test was Gayle's finest as West Indian captain, and not just for his own bat-carrying 165 not out in the second innings.
Monday December 7 2009 was the day when all criticism of Christopher Henry Gayle must cease. Gayle did everything that should be expected of an opening batsman-captain leading by example. Even if few of his team-mates did much to follow.