An Australia team versus a South Africa team – this time it’s international cricket

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The main thing we take from day one of the first Test between Australia and South Africa is that the five one-dayers they played in South Africa recently weren’t proper international matches and so they probably shouldn’t have bothered.

Australia’s bowling attack for those matches was a recurring theme in our weekly Cricket Badger newsletter (sign up here). Plenty of players were injured, but a few were rested too, meaning Australia got to showcase the full extent of their pace bowling weakness in depth.

Chris Tremain, Joe Mennie, Daniel Worrall and Scott Boland. The names are so unfamiliar, it feels a bit like you’ve somehow found yourself reading an article about 1980s baseball players. They all got panned and Australia got panned. And what did it prove?

Ten years after we first predicted it, squad rotation is now part and parcel of international cricket. But while a rested fast bowler here or there is one thing, there is a threshold beyond which matches cease to have any real meaning. At what point is a team international in name and attire only?

Management of resources is part of the game, but with different teams taking different approaches, you’re not always seeing like pitted against like.

Never mind the mismatches, if a weaker nation beats a deliberately compromised but otherwise stronger nation, does that even count for much? If the defeated team can easily explain away their defeat, that devalues the contest and denied even the opportunity to record an unarguable victory, the weaker nation’s fixtures are diminished.

Outside of World Cups, one-day matches have always been a little more transitory, but as this Australia v South Africa Test series wears on, it’ll be intriguing to look back on the one-day series that immediately preceded it and ask whether it really was genuine international cricket.


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    1. Don’t know. We apologise for this sounding slightly arsey, but we tend to think that all of the batsmen could have scored more runs had they not been dismissed when they were.

      Getting Hashim Amla for a duck is generally handy. Quinton de Kock had the air of a man who could have scored a lot of runs.

      Do we have to name a third?

  1. After yesterday’s piece in which you focused on Kraigg Brathwaite’s double-g and in which several comment-makers made fun of West Indian name spellings…

    …it made me smile to observe that England’s very own Nigel Llong is umpiring in Perth.

      1. “Llong” is the Welsh word for “ship”. However it isn’t pronounced the same way as “long” so don’t think that’s relevant really, just felt like sharing. Now, a cricket-themed hashtag… #justsaying

      2. That’s exactly the kind of contribution we look for on this website. Excellent work, gwd80 (if that is indeed your real name).

      1. Fairness really doesn’t come into this – thank goodness.

        In any case, Buttler is not involved in the very match to which the current piece refers, whereas Nigel Llong is.

      2. Idea for TV programme: international cricket elite umpire Nigel Llong to star in technical support call centre comedy alongside former chess grandmaster Nigel Short, working title The Llong and Short of IT.

  2. Kraigg is the cricketer with the double G
    They keep each other company
    Llong is the umpire with the double L
    It used to be three but off stump fell

    1. Llong actually looks a bit like middle stump has fallen (the horizontal line of the uppercase L looks a little like a dislodged stump between the vertical lines of the uppercase and lowercase L), but otherwise chapeau/bravo/etc.

      1. That’s quite beautiful – lol <— that's me raising my arms in gay abandon at your wonderful observation, AP.

  3. I was just reading the ‘Notes from the editor’ in the 1997 Wisden. Engel (for it was he) was moaning about the transitory nature and general irrelevance of one-day cricket. “In the sub-continent the success of the one-day game has wreaked havoc..The 1996-7 Duleep trophy final in Mohali, a first-class match of some significance, was said to have begun with an attendance of one.”

  4. The Aussies collapsed from 158/0 to 244 all out.

    That’s all 10 wickets for fewer than 100 runs. The Aussies.

    Has anyone around here ever seen anything like it? With their own eyes, I mean.

    1. Nothing cheers me more than a bit of Aussie-based schadenfreude.

      England could lose 5-0 in India. If Australia got whitewashed at home to South Africa, it would ease the pain.

      Although things might be different given Steyn’s shoulder knack.

  5. Ged
    I saw them do that at Lords a few years back, the year when they were especially shit. It all happened between lunch and tea on one of the weekend afternoons. I’d had a fair bit to drink so I can’t remember the details.

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