Posts Tagged “Sport”
The last couple of months, there has been a World Cup in India. A Men’s cricket ODI World Cup, to be precise.
I’m sure it will be remembered for many things: The collapse of defending champions England, the host nation’s almost undefeated run, and Australia’s victory in a tournament that, for once, they weren’t favourites in. Not to mention a batsman being timed out for the first time ever.
The tournament also included many upsets, but I think for me the most memorable thing will be the upset that didn’t happen. An upset which certainly should have happened, but was foiled by a truly remarkable innings from the great Glenn Maxwell.
Last week, I wrote about Bazball and the ongoing Ashes series, including some predictions of how it might go. So I wanted to keep a running commentary on how those predictions are going, and the unexpected ways the series twists.
It was about this time last year that we first heard about Bazball. The English Test cricket team had had significant away losses to both Australia and the West Indies, but now they were at home with a new captain, a new coach, and a new approach.
At first it seemed like it couldn’t last, but then it turned into an almost unstoppable winning machine: In the lead up to the Ashes they had won eleven out of thirteen matches under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, while also seeing some truly remarkable individual and team performances.
Now the approach faces perhaps its sternest test, against the old enemy and newly minted World Test Champion Australia. The team that last week dug deep and took first blood.
Covid-19 has completely changed our world, and we don’t know how long the disruptions will last or what will come next. When people talk about living during a “historic moment”, this is what they’re talking about.
So I wanted to record some of my personal impressions, starting from the time when the novel coronavirus felt like a distant problem affecting other people, not something which would change my life.
Two weeks ago it was International Women’s Day, and I was part of a large crowd from many countries watching the final of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup 2020 at the MCG. Promoters, players, and fans alike were eyeing the record book, and #FillTheMCG had been trending on social media. Unlike England, Australia had been fortunate to qualify in a rain-hit semi-final, and were facing India in hope of a home title and a chance to confirm their dominance over women’s cricket.
It all seems so distant now: Australia have banned crowds over 100 and enforced social distancing, there is a blanket “Do not travel” warning for foreign travel, the borders are closed to outsiders, residents returning from overseas must self-isolate for fourteen days, and I myself have been in isolation with a mild fever (probably not Covid-19). As a result, I’ve been a little hesitant to write about it, but I think it’s worth remembering.
After a protracted negotiating period, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association have been unable to come to an agreement over a new Memorandum of Understanding. This means that, as of last Saturday, the majority of Australia’s cricketers are unemployed, including some of the best players in the world. And given the polarised nature of the dispute, with both sides questioning the good faith of the other side and doubling down on their own position, it seems unlikely it will be resolved soon.
In the current pay dispute I would say the public has been fairly supportive of the players. But one comment that sometimes comes up is how much they are paid. To some commenters, they should be playing for the honour of representing their country, and just agree to the terms offered and get back to entertaining us. And certainly headline figures suggests sports stars are making far more than the average layman. Is it too much? Is it unfair?