From the debate surrounding Will Pucovski’s potential Test selection, to Pakistan’s COVID troubles and poor decisions by the media, let’s dive into this week’s talking points from the world of cricket.
Why Will Pucovski? Why not?
It’s the question that’s on everyone’s lips at the moment: should Will Pucovski be selected in the final XI for the Adelaide Test?
The answer to that is: why not?
Sure, the easy road to go down would be to keep Joe Burns at the top of the order, and with the Queenslander being the third-highest Test run-scorer for Australia last summer, you can see why the stats lean in his favour.
However, Burns’ average of 32 for the five Tests played against Pakistan and New Zealand last summer is bolstered by the 97 he scored in the first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane.
Add in things like Burns being bowled for a first-ball duck at the Boxing Day Test and a poor record in the Sheffield Shield so far this season, and then the door for Pucovski’s selection begins to open.
This is particularly true when the young Victorian’s outstanding start to the Sheffield Shield campaign is taken into consideration, including two consecutive double-centuries against South Australia and Western Australia.
It’s hard to ignore a batsman like Pucovski, whose two double-centuries have taken his average for the three first-class innings he’s played this season to 247.5. Coupled with an impressive overall first-class average of 55.48 and it looks like a no-brainer that Pucovski should be picked in Burns’ place.
The two warm-up games between Australia A and India have been described as a “bat-off” between Burns and Pucovski to see who will partner David Warner come December 17.
If Pucovski continues on his great form in those two games and perhaps outperforms Burns, then it would be dumbfounding to see the selectors choose not to include him in the final Test XI, regardless of how complementary Warner has been of his current opening batting partner.
The Pakistan team need to sort themselves out when it comes to COVID
Late Thursday afternoon, New Zealand Cricket revealed that six of the touring Pakistan squad had tested positive for COVID and that some players had breached isolation rules.
It raises questions as to whether or not the tour will go ahead given that New Zealand’s Sport Minister Grant Robertson told Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme in September that matches might not be able to be played if a member of a touring party tested positive for COVID.
— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) November 26, 2020
What’s concerning here is that this is not the first time Pakistan have had troubles with positive COVID cases as ten players tested positive before the tour of England in August.
Granted, these are difficult times, to use the now clichéd phrase, and all sporting teams are vulnerable to COVID, but when members of a team breach their isolation rules,= in spite of another outbreak of the virus among players, there is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.
Unlike the first time, these six players have tested positive for COVID on foreign soil and so Pakistan are at the mercy of the New Zealand government and the countries’ health authorities, who are well within their rights to call off the tour should the risks become too great.
Pakistan will be hoping that they can keep this outbreak under control to stop this from happening.
Time for some media outlets to up their game
In the Sunday Herald Sun last weekend, there was a piece headlined “Meet the Other WAGs”, with the subheading, “Footy season is over for the year, opening the media landscape to WAGs of the non-football kind to grab the spotlight.”
It gets worse when it continues with, “Cricket, motor racing and tennis all have competitors who are supported by talented and accomplished significant others.”
Yes, this is another case where you could sit back and say “well, what do you expect from a Murdoch tabloid”, but these sorts of articles should never be excused because of that.
As unacceptable as these articles are at any time of the year, the timing of this one is particularly woeful given that the WBBL finals are on this week and the WNBL continues its season.
Women’s sport should not be seen as being less significant than the men’s game, especially as this is far from the case, what with a record-breaking Women’s World T20 final at the MCG in March, to give just one example.
Speaking of the WBBL, on Thursday night, their free-to-air broadcast partner, Seven, decided to show a cricket special of The Front Bar on their main channel at the same time as the second WBBL semi-final, which was being shown over on 7mate.
While in our multi-channel digital age, there should be no problem tuning in to channel 73 rather than channel 7, Seven should still be put under some scrutiny for relegating the WBBL to a secondary channel.
The maximum exposure should be given to the live cricket match, not a cricket talk show that can be scheduled some other time or perhaps even on 7mate.
I doubt this sort of scenario will happen with the men’s game this summer, so why should it happen to the women’s game?