Mis-match of the Millenium

Cricket News by Shane Dell 06/07/03

It will be the mis-match of the millenium when the Aussie Juggernaut take on Bangladesh in Darwin during the first Test of a scheduled two Test Series set to begin on 18 July and cricket fans could be forgiven for thinking the Australian’s would be more than likely to take a “second string” side or even a team consisting mainly of young propsects into the Series, but Cricket Australia, who are taking this Series more than seriously, so they say, recently announced a full strength squad from which the starting Australian team will be chosen.

Although Bangladesh have played a number of lead-up matches in Australia going into this Series, all of which they were comprehensively flogged, no-one and I repeat, no-one believes they have a hope in hades of even providing half decent entertainment to an otherwise International cricket starved Northern population of Australia. No doubt, Cricket Australia believes they may be able to further the cause of Bangladeshi cricket by playing these matches against what can only be described as a team not worthy of Test status, but do they seriously think a Series with Bangladesh is exactly the medicine for the willow and leather starved Northerners?

If they do, then they are only kidding themselves. Like most sporting fans, our football mad Northern population likes a fiercely fought contest between two equal strength sporting combatants, but to serve up such a mis-match as Cricket Australia will in Darwin and Cairns, shows nothing more than contempt for the sporting public in these regions and is an experiment likely to backfire with fans likely to ignore these “showcase” events. No doubt, the curious will attend, probably in the hope of alleviating the boredom of a Northern Winter, certainly not for 5 days of nail biting cricket......maybe not even three.

I wonder what would happen if Cricket Australia were silly enough to schedule such matches to be played at the MCG or SCG.

Advancing the cause of cricket is good, especially in areas where International cricket receives very little following or exposure, but serving up a Series against a team like Bangladesh can only further stymie the opportunities available for the expansion of cricket in this country or any other. Cricket fans are not dills, even if they do live in the North of Australia.

If Cricket Australia wants to broaden the reach of this sport, then a Winter Series against someone like the Windies or South Africa is exactly the medicine likely to achieve the desired result.

Australian Test Squad:

  • Stephen Waugh (capt)
  • Ricky Ponting (vice-captain)
  • Andrew Bichel
  • Adam Gilchrist
  • Jason Gillespie
  • Matthew Hayden
  • Brad Hogg
  • JustinLanger
  • Brett Lee
  • Darren Lehmann
  • Martin Love
  • Stuart MacGill
  • Glenn McGrath


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