A dull and dreary morning full of fog and little sun is merely are a harbinger, a metaphor if you like, for what lies ahead of me today. Another dull and dreary day at work with, for the most part, dull and dreary people.
I have been up and about early, slipping out to the airport to pick up a friend who flew back from Sydney and miraculously made it in through the fog, albeit two hours late! Sydney was fogged in most of the early morning as well and one can only imagine the frustrations of travellers desperate to get on board their planes and depart to their destinations. Such is plane travel in the winter.
I have made it home in plenty of time to relax and consider everything the day holds for me in the hours ahead and as I mentioned before, it doesn't paint a pretty picture. I will no doubt find my way to my usual section sorting small parcels and being the Tuesday after a public holiday it is likely to be busy. Not much to look forward to.
The long weekend passed in a blur; so quickly that I barely remember how I spent it. Linda's eldest girl and here fiancé stayed her Saturday night and lingered long into Sunday which precluded any sort of exploration or adventure for the day although it was very pleasant to have them here and we played tennis with them yesterday which has left my shoulder feeling a little worse for wear but is nothing too much to worry about.
My day was brightened considerably though when reading the comments made to the media of former English cricket all-rounder Ian "Beefy" Botham who claimed the imminent ten matches to be played over two series, one in England then one back here in the Australian summer would be a white wash for England, a ten nil drubbing the likes of which Australia has never experienced before. I almost gagged with laughter whilst eating my Weet Bix!
I certainly think the English team will retain the Ashes in both series and it may well be the "Beefy" is taking the opportunity to bask in the glow of this unusual and rare period of English dominance over the men from Downunder, a contest with has been markedly lopsided in favour of Australia for the past twenty years or so and is getting his metaphorical punches into the Australian solar plexus whilst the going is good and before the worm turns as it invariably will. But a ten nil whitewash? In your dreams, Beefy!
England is a deserved favourite and the weakness of the Australian batting line up should see the Old Dart retain the urn comfortably but one would think that somewhere, somehow, Australia's excellent bowling attack will put them in a winning position on one or three occasions. Well, I hope! England aren't that good.
The demise of Australian cricket has been much talked about about and dissected over the past few seasons but I feel talk of the game in Australia being doomed is far too premature. Most of that talk seems to come from the Soccer, sorry, "Football" supporters who seem to be threatened by anything in this country that is deemed to be more popular than the arrogantly nicknamed "world game"which they so fervently revere and support.
Cricket is still very popular in Australia, in fact I was reading figures recently that it is still one of the most popular sports in the country on participatory level, although numbers of juniors have dropped off slightly and television figures are down but these things do ebb and flow a little.
The wheel is a little wobbly but it hasn't come off, a little bit of tinkering with the game at an administrative level and a realisation that you can't be the best forever should see the game right into the future.
Australian cricket's current plight revolves around the seeming inability to produce champion batsmen, surely a worry but when one considers the ilk of the players of the recent golden era and the ability of some players who despite their talent couldn't force their way into the national team, you may come to realise that it was almost an abnormal period for the game here. Is it any wonder the well has run a little dry?
I think the production line of great players has hit an air bubble, not a landmine. Time of course will tell and it is imperative, as far as cricket lovers like me are concerned, that the game is continued to be loved in this country. But I don't think there is much to worry about on that score.
I always have believed that any country which is willing to spend large amounts of capital on any game will reap the benefits at the other end. British sport at the moment is a prime example of this. Network Nine has just paid almost 600 million dollars to Cricket Australia for television rights, a sum, if used correctly by the board should see cricket prosper in this country for years to come. It is after all a part of our national DNA and the only true national sport in the nation. Soccer has a long way to travel before reaching such heights.
And so, facing a summer of continuous defeat, albeit with an occasional ray of victorious sunshine will be hard for a cricket tragic like me to bear. The slings and arrows of our English counterparts, freed from the bondage of mediocrity and the insults of Australian cricket lovers, will no doubt take the sweetest revenge and bask in the glory of much cherished victories over their old rivals. But they should be aware that we shall not go meekly into the night. We will not fade away. We will fight them on the beaches and in the streets. They will not beat us down until the last one of us lies bleeding in the gutter with a jackboot pressing on his neck. We will never surrender.
Melodramatic? Yes. The truth? I hope. But the one thing which can be counted on and which every English cricket fan should know, including you, Mr Botham, is that Australian cricket will be back one day. And we will let you know it when the time comes.
Have a nice day.