Opinion

SUMMER CRICKET UPDATE

The third Cricket Test has begun in controversy with the gifted Australian captain, Pat Cummins, being stood down over the omnipresent Coronavirus issue. 

He was classified as a ‘casual’ contact. 

He wouldn’t be impressed and nor are the cricket supporters who are asking what happened? 

It is a simple story. 

The captain was dining with the Adelaide Strikers fast bowler, Harry Conway, when, apparently, a Sydney grade cricketer came over to their table for a chat and shook hands with the Australian captain. 

A short time later, the young Sydney visitor received a text message from SA Health saying he had returned a positive test. 

He, of course, would be feeling as shattered as the captain. 

Neither of them broke any rules. 

The protocols were observed. 

The players were allowed to eat inside restaurants so long as they were in groups of six; but now, they will eat only outside. 

Cricket lovers have every sympathy for the Test players, who have lived in this “bubble” for months and months. 

It is sensible that they be given certain social freedoms. 

The one anomaly, surely, is that Pat Cummins is double vaxxed and, as I understand it, tested negative on the morning of the match. 

Nonetheless, in his absence, the Australian batsmen, having laboured initially, were superb. 

The much maligned David Warner was yet again outstanding, patient and precise. 

As for Marnus Labuschagne, his dedication to the game and his craft has fashioned, for Australian cricket, a virtual run-getting machine. 

But away from all of that is an extraordinary story about a 19-year-old finger spinner who has been chosen in the Australian Under 19 team for the World Cup next month, in the West Indies. 

We haven’t won the Under 19 World Cup since 2010 under the captaincy of Mitch Marsh. 

The squad, then, featured the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa and Nic Maddinson. 

The coach is Anthony Clark so the team is in good hands. 

But enter the man with the unpronounceable name, Nivethan Radhakrishnan, who moved to Sydney from India in 2013. 

He signed a newcomer’s contract with Tasmania, but he is the only known ambidextrous cricketer in Australia’s Junior Talent Pathway. 

Interestingly, he went to Tasmania because he was a net bowler for Delhi Capitals, in the Indian Premier League, coached by the legendary Australian and Tasmanian, Ricky Ponting. 

The young man took 20 wickets in the New South Wales Premier Cricket Competition last summer and has already represented Australia at Under 16 level. 

He must be able to bat a bit. 

He has made 620 runs this season, opening the batting for his club side in Tasmania. 

According to Russell Gould, who’s story interested me with the details of this young man, it was his father’s idea to try to bowl with both hands. 

The cricketing neophyte has reportedly said, “There was no one bowling with both hands on TV or in League cricket in Chennai… …I was like well, why not?” 

As my too long departed friend, the former politician Sir James Killen would say, “if that is not a good story, we are in trouble”.

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