Thursday, 19 February 2009

Richie Retires

The recent news that Richie Benaud is set to retire saddens me, not so much because Ritchie is retiring, but because of the bunch of commentators he’s leaving behind. I liken Richie to Bert Newton - they both look a bit like frogs, they’re old blokes in the TV industry and I don’t completely understand their appeal, but they’re pretty good at what they do. I like Richie as he doesn’t over-commentate like so many of his colleagues - he doesn’t pretend to know why the ball deviated at 11.3 degrees off a crack, as opposed to some others like Ian Chappell or Mark Nicholas who try to wow us with their knowledge. I love the non-stop natter of cricket radio commentary, but on TV, I love the sound of the crowd, the leather on willow, the Channel 9 cricket theme song - not the commentators! Ritchie never said more than he needed to, and when he did say something, it contributed.

And another thing, whilst we’re ranting, why is it that the commentators throughout the Twenty20 commentary have to continually tell us how good it is, how it’s such a different game, how kids bring their parents along yadda yadda yadda. We know! That’s why we’re watching it!

I’d like to see James Brayshaw do more cricket - he’s big in Victoria, has some insight and is interesting to listen to. But for some reason he’s hosting the new Channel 9 show “WipeOut” - it beats me how a modern-day version of “It’s a knock-out” got through a programmers’ meeting, but anyway… Brayshaw would be much better than some of the others - you can pretty much bet against anything Healy says. If he says in his monotone that Bracken is going to try and bowl a yorker, Bracken will bowl a bouncer. If he says Ponting is due for a big score, call up John the bookie and put $10 on him for under 10 runs. As for Mark Nicholas, well, he’s OK, but if I'm allowed a moment of patriotism, does Channel 9 really need to pay Nicholas to come out to Australia for 6 months of each year chasing the summer, simply to hear his Westminster accent? Not that he’s bad, he’s quite good, but there are certainly better commentators in Australia. As for Michael Slater - as a batsman, he was great - fearless and exciting. Nowadays he’s clearly been through a few too many media-training courses for Sunday morning TV.

I’ll miss Ritchie and I think we’ll feel his void when he’s gone.


Monday, 16 February 2009

Cricket on Wii

Finally it looks like cricket is coming to the Wii!

Cricket is one sport tailor made for Wii, and there has been much speculation for a long time about if and when cricket will debut on Wii. There is this youtube group and the very popular Wii want cricket campaign.

EA Sports has called the game 'Cricket 9' and it is accredited to Electronic Arts in Canada, which was responsible for the 2008 NHL and FIFA games.

However a platform for the title isn't specified . I hope it comes to X-box too.


Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Children Are Our Future

Having gotten used to Australian dominance for the last decade or so, our recent slump in form has me kind of worried about the state of Australian cricket. The selectors, who are not the most popular of people here at HTB, have decided that it is time to blood some young talent in an effort I suppose of starting afresh and rebuilding the side and restoring our glory.

This was evidenced initially by the selection of Dave Warner into the shorter form games, with debatable success. 

I think the gutsiest call though has come with the selection of Phil Hughes as the replacement for Matthew Hayden on the South African tour. I think it's particularly gutsy because of the elevated importance of tests over one dayers and Twenty20 matches. Where a throwaway selection happens all the time in one dayers, and Twenty20's test match selection, particular a tour squad selection is a much more considered thing, due to the importance of the matches themselves over one dayers. Sure you have the odd injury related call up to anyone of citizenship who is playing in the local competition, but when you're named in the touring squad and it's clear you're the only option they're selected, this is a deliberate thing.

Phil Hughes is a starter for Australia, and he will be the youngest player since Craig McDermott to debut for Australia. His form has been sparkling, and he totally deserves his spot. He's a young and exciting player, and I praise the selectors for taking a punt on what could be great investment for the future.