Weighing up waste: India 2013 worse than the last Ashes?
Will Shane Watson take the field at the Gabba for the first Ashes Test?
Once the Australian cricketers return home and the last of the bruised fruit has been flung inside the arrivals lounge, let us make a pact as a nation to never speak of the horror of the last five weeks ever again.
The four Test tour of India was filthy, forgettable and farcical.
It was sporting ipecac of the highest order that regularly evacuated the contents of the once formidable underbelly of the Australian cricket fan-base.
If I know us Aussies well as the bunch of easily-agitated cricket-loving convicts we are, then I reckon there’s going to be a fair amount of tense pitchforking and forthright questioning as the fallout continues over the coming days.
In what parallel universe did the selectors envisage Glenn Maxwell making an effective contribution to a game of cricket that compelled them to give him Test caps?
Will Mickey Arthur continue to grace us with his presence on Facebook at least?
And, most importantly, was this the worst series by an Australian cricket side ever?
Maxwell may have bought someone flowers at Cricket Australia, and there’s a possibility that Arthur might have a proclivity for Pinterest. It’s really all up in the air.
And as for the series shame rating?
Without the advent of a Delorian nor the motivation to read, it’s difficult to make a definite determination without being witness to all of the series Australia has taken part in, as well as the general circumstances and expectations of the eras in which they occurred.
However, with my lifetime of cricket to look back upon, one previous series does stand out for its attributes as a source of immense torturous pain inflicted by sinister opposition, and that was the Ashes series of 2010/11.
Was this summer of self-esteem deprivation at the hands of the Motherland worse than the particular torching we’ve just received on the subcontinent?
Let’s stack up the garbage and see which piles highest, starting with the India tour.
It was the first time in the host country’s history of 80 years and 70 home Tests that they had won four matches in a series, making this Australian side the worst team to tour in terms of the final scoreline.
Two of these defeats were inside three days, with one of them by an innings.
There wasn’t even a scrapped-for draw or meaningless dead rubber victory to sweeten the super-sour deal.
Plus, of course, there was the disciplinary breach by the now-monikered Mohali Four, their shock suspensions, Shane Watson’s spit-and-fly and the perplexity of him being treated to the captaincy in the aftermath.
A thoroughly forgettable sojourn from go-to-whoa, agreed?
But with this series failure occurring offshore without the maximum exposure of playing on our patch, is its significance reduced based on the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ argument?
And do the powdery pitches that were served up also mitigate?
Would Michael Clarke have made a big enough difference in the last Test to help the team save some face?
Let’s hold it up in the light next to the Ashes depression of a few years back.
On home soil, and at the hands of our oldest and most despised rivals, Australia was soundly trounced to the tune of 3-1, with each of these defeats by an innings.
And what about these thoroughly discomforting scenarios that had us reaching for the psych shock therapy.
There was day one of the Boxing Day Test at our revered cathedral of the MCG, where the team was bowled out for a paltry 98 before England closed play with slipper firmly squashing throat at 0/157 in front of 84,345 fans.
Then there was the last day of the SCG Test when our hallowed arena of many past patriotic glories was viciously violated by being transformed into a Little London by hordes of travelling English supporters, all of whom were duly rewarded for their drown-out of the 25 local fans in attendance when their team steamrolled the Australian bats to complete another innings humiliation.
The series performance by the home team was so frowned upon that it triggered a extensive review of Cricket Australia’s policies and procedures in an attempt to never have to endure such prolonged taunting from prawn-fried Englishmen in our own backyard again.
A serious reaction to what was a gross butt-caning on our own patch.
But does the fact that Australia pinched a ‘live rubber’ win in Perth save the bacon of this series from being our worst?
And does Ricky Ponting’s absence through injury for the last Test also soften the blow?
I’m sorry to make you all revisit these degrading episodes, but I think we should weigh up the waste.
Which of these two is the hardest to forget?
Let’s work it out, so we can start never speaking of it again.
Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man here: @eld2_0