It’s January and Australia is set to play cricket on another continent. This is an act of gross sacrilege that has pillaged Australians of their irrefutable birthright: to forever have ODI cricket at home in summer, behind a paywall.
In the modern world of cricket, many obstacles can prevent people from seeing play.
It could be poorly negotiated broadcast deals, cost of living constraints, or if you’re Jos Buttler, Vernon Philander’s waistline.
But despite unstable landscapes and dad bods, Australians have always been able to rely on one thing in summer – the playing of international pyjama cricket on our own soil, provided it’s not in the middle of a Big Bash game or Darwin.
In fact, it’s even decreed in the constitution that our summer months involve excess ham, family disputes, and gully fieldsmen for Shane Bond as he bowls at Damien Martyn for a crystal decanter and two points in the Carlton series.
But despite this, Australia currently finds itself on the subcontinent preparing for India. So why are we breaching our own laws by leaving Australians to starve for a week on nothing but 25 Big Bash double-headers?
This unprecedented disgrace arose after the all-powerful BCCI called in a small favour from Cricket Australia, which was to do what they say at all times and forever, which coincidentally is also in our constitution.
India claim they were owed a series after the two countries fell short of their quota of 75 per annum, a claim for compensation akin to a rich conman being exposed on A Current Affair and then demanding the $3.78 royalties.
Nevertheless, Australia has accommodated the BCCI’s small request, costing Aaron Finch’s men the advantage of familiar conditions at home – that being half-filled cavernous stadia with no Bay 13 or clear air.
After much robust negotiation of taking orders, CA bosses saw it as no biggie to alter the Earth’s orbit around the sun by shifting our local summer to autumn, especially when it came with the rich reward of three inconsequential games and reinforced sub-ordinance.
Making matters even more foreign, the Aussies will then jet to South Africa at the completion of the series – and while this is still subject to fact-checking, I’m pretty sure this can also be blamed on India.
For confused locals, seeing an Australian cricket team arrive in South Africa in January could only be plausibly explained as a $1 Tiger mystery flight, or a stop-off for some biltong or another Marnus.
However you see it, foisting away pyjama cricket from Australia in the summer months is a strike to the heart of our national fabric, a symbolic disassembly of our identity, and furthermore, pretty crap.
It’s like the fall of the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, except instead of Iraqi citizens pulling it down with ropes, it withers and topples from exhaustion after shaking hands with 750 dignitaries while holding the really heavy Hero Honda and Pantene present The Oppo and ByJu Trophy.
In fact, Australia haven’t played an ODI in January outside a local timezone since time was invented. Such is its cultural value, it even took a major government intervention in the 1970s just to get games in Western Australia.
Sure, the series is worth big crore, but it once again raises the question: why can’t we just lend some from Pat Cummins?
Is this travesty the thin edge of the wedge? Will Australia be soon outsourcing all home ODIs to India? Then Boxing Day in the Himalayas? The Australian Open at Sourav Ganguly’s house? The Big Bash in Tasmania?
Hopefully, this won’t be a problem for long. At the current rate, Australia will soon become a remote state of India, with the country sold to a rich Bollywood magnate as the latest IPL franchise. But until then, it’s sacrilege.