Good riddance: Shane Watson quits

The vice-captain of Australia’s cricket team, Shane Watson, has stepped down from his post. Not from the team, just the post.

It’s good he did it, because that saves the selectors one job, of sacking him as vice-captain. Watson saw it coming and didn’t want to be humiliated.

But he may earn the ultimate humiliation anyway – he may not be in the team at all, the team that goes to England in June to defend the Ashes.
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AFL: exclusive to home-born Australians

AUSTRALIAN rules football is a difficult game to understand. Difficult for anyone who has not grown up with it, difficult for anyone who has got used to other football codes because the structure and rules appear to be more loose than in other games.

One of the ways in which people grow to understand, become interested and then start following any game is dependent on the publicity that goes with it. With the AFL, the publicity is highly insular, nothing more so than the blather that passes for match commentary on radio or TV.

I grew up learning rugby union from the late Bob Harvey, one of the Sri Lankans who commentated on the sport on what was then Radio Ceylon. Most of my cricket was learnt from the commentary of John Arlott, Brian Johnston and Allan McGilvray, on the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Tony Cozier from the West Indies was another of those who contributed a great deal to my understanding of cricket.
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Phillip Hughes rides again

At times, the manner in which a batsman makes runs provides evidence of his ability. But the reverse is also true: at times, the way a batsman scores is indicative of reasons why he should not be picked.

Phillip Hughes of New South Wales has again been awarded a contract by Cricket Australia. On the tour of India in February and March, Hughes failed repeatedly. He showed an inability to tackle spin – and that was about all that was doled out by the Indian team.

Hughes’ scores in the series were 6, 0, 19, 0, 2, 69, 45 and 6 as Australia was hammered 4-0 in the four-Test series. During the knock of 69, he was like a cat on hot bricks. He survived 166 balls through sheer luck, and zero ability. He was as jumpy as he had been during his previous five innings.
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Black money drives the IPL

Back in 1967, the then Indian finance minister Morarji Desai had the brilliant idea of raising taxes well beyond their existing level; the maximum marginal tax rate was raised as high as 97.75 percent.

Desai, who was better known for drinking his own urine, reasoned that people would pay up and that India’s budgetary problems would be more manageable.

Instead, the reverse happened. India has always had a problem with undeclared wealth, a kind of parallel economy which is called black money. The amount of black money increased by leaps and bounds after Desai’s ridiculous laws were promulgated.
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Brownwash leaves Australia shattered

Last month, Australia completed a miserable cricket tour of India during which it lost all four Tests, the first time this has happened since 1970.

On that occasion, a strong Australian team went to South Africa and was creamed 4-0; the South Africans were captained by Ali Bacher and included legends of the game like Graeme Pollock, Mike Proctor, Peter Pollock, Barry Richards and Eddie Barlow.

But in India, a weak Australian team came up against opponents who were not that formidable. The one thing that was clearly observable was the fact that the shorter forms of the game have had a bad effect on the Australians’ ability to stay at the crease and grind out the runs.
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