The West Indians coming to town never fails to get people excited and this Australian summer it will be no different, as they will inevitably be feted in front of packed stadiums up and down the country. But enough about the Big Bash, this West Indian Test tour already looms as the most irrelevant sporting exercise we can remember outside of the last ODI series featuring India. Which incidentally this Australian summer also includes, almost certainly because money.
This is how we imagine most board discussions between Cricket Australia and the WICB go:
And this, it shouldn’t be forgotten, is supposed to be the highlight of the cricket season, including both the Boxing Day and New Year’s Tests. But nobody cares, nobody will turn up outside of the traditional first day at Melbourne and Sydney and frankly the whole thing is already looking like a worrying pointer to a future where Test cricket will become an afterthought, rather than the main attraction.
Which, frankly, all sounds pretty depressing to us, and whilst we love and worship all things Big Bash here at 51allout, we still concede that it is more akin to a shot of cheap gin, which is what passes as a digestif in these parts, rather than the meal itself. And so begins the arduous task of attempting to analyse this upcoming series, in the vain hope that something, anything, of note or interest might be extracted from it. Other than another eleventy billion runs for Steven Peter Devereux Smith of course.
Aussie Matt: Barring out of season series, is this the least anticipated Test series in memory, and what does that say about the future of Test cricket outside of the Ashes?
James K: The only people who care less about this series than the fans are the West Indies players. So for that reason the West Indies as a thing are basically fucked, more so than Test cricket in general. That said, even they’ll do well to be bowled out in an hour and a half at any point. Always nice to get that in early doors.
Nichael Bluth: I like to think of this series as Channel Nine’s ultimate challenge. Imagine having to try and persuade the general public that this truly is the Greatest! Series! Ever!
English Matt: Five words to disagree with you: David Warner versus Kemar Roach. That’s the REAL big bash. And I’m not even joking.
AM: If not for tons by Adam Voges and Devereux, the Windies could nearly have stolen victories in each of the two Tests these teams played earlier in the year. Is there any chance of them somehow springing a surprise result here?
EM: Well they could make it through to day three at least once, so yes.
AM: I think their best hope is a rank turner in Sydney and Devendra Bishoo running riot. Although more likely the series will be played on utter roads and the Windies will be pounded into submission on each. Made to grovel, some might have said. Which will actually be really, really, boring to watch.
NB: No. Three crushing defeats are on their way, probably without Australia having to even get into second gear. And without Watto cocking things up in new and amusing ways, there’s going to be very little enjoyment on offer. It might be worth considering some sort of contingency plan, such as spending five days at a time googling Alison Brie.
AM: Giving the captaincy to Jason Holder seems to be a rare positive move for West Indian Test cricket in recent times. Are there any other similar decisions they could make that would increase off-field perceptions, and on-field performances?
NB: Cancelling the tour due to safety concerns?
EM: Jason Holder is a Good Egg and I firmly believe he has the leadership qualities to take forward this team. Unfortunately, I also believe that unless the Windies discover a new superstar fast bowler (or world-class batsman, and I don’t mean Chris Gayle) this team will continue to be regarded as Zimbabwe-esque also-rans.
AM: I think their problems go the other way, they need world class spin bowlers and players of spin. At the moment they are average in both fields, especially without Chanderpaul. If they improved in that area they’d be harder to beat at home, and at least competitive in Asia. They’d still be shit everywhere else mind.
EM: My point is about perception and image rather than performance. Someone who can be a hero, an inspiration, an icon.
AM: Shaun Marsh is really, really, really, shit, and doesn’t deserve to be recalled. Discuss.
EM: Could be worse, could be Samit Patel.
NB: I think you’re missing that this is actually a humanitarian gesture on Australia’s part. If Bryce McGain hadn’t retired, he’d probably have got a morale boosting gig too.
AM: Given that the reasoning behind his return makes absolutely zero sense, especially since it directly contradicts the arguments that were used against selecting Klinger just a week or so beforehand, I suspect you might be right.