The Sheffield Shield season is back and sadly due to COVID, it hasn’t been a great start.
With only WA, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland playing each other with Victoria and NSW waiting patiently and the WBBL impacted by COVID, the domestic season is in a tough spot.
Firstly, the season has been a downer with the first two matches being boring draws. The only headlines coming out of the matches were Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Hilton Cartwright, Jake Carder, Tim Ward, Jordan Silk, Jimmy Peirson and Bryce Street hitting hundreds and nothing else.
Sadly, Karen Rolton Oval is not known for its bowling and known for its batting. The ground has seen 3592 runs over the two formats that have been played on what I can only call a highway.
Joe Burns’ comments said it all: “I think I speak for everyone when I’m sick and tired of playing at these grounds that are just crap wickets. It’s nice to come here [Adelaide Oval] and have a good contest between bat and ball.”
To be fair it has been tricky because with the Adelaide Oval preparations being delayed and the COVID issues it is a tough ask, but with a big Ashes series coming up you need to see a balance between bat and ball even if it is a batting-friendly pitch, it would be good if spin has an opportunity to flourish.
It is great to see in the Shield game between Queensland and South Australia that the bowlers are finally being given an opportunity to work the batsmen over. And watching the first day, it was a great watch to see batsmen’s techniques finally getting worked out as well as seeing Brendan Doggett and Daniel Worrall taking seven wickets each.
The good news stops there though, with Cricket Australia’s crown jewel of women’s cricket, the WBBL, being in limbo due to COVID and the first game had much intrigue as the men’s big bash. They took a punt with starting in Tasmania and it was probably the common-sense move if you think about it, but as we all know no matter which state you are in, the moment there is one case of COVID then expect to be locked down because they are more fearful of this than Tony Greig facing a prime West Indian fast bowling attack.
It will be played under COVID rules and no crowds, which is a shame for the people of Tasmania as they miss out on an opportunity to see the greats of women’s game in the flesh and it’s a huge loss for Cricket Australia because crowds mean money and it would’ve provided revenue for Cricket Tasmania and income for people working at the grounds.
(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
With everything else going on relating to COVID, poor pitches, the T20 World Cup campaign about to start and a tricky start to the WBBL you would be forgiven for not realising that Earl Eddings, Cricket Australia chair, has quietly resigned. Cricket fans and administers should be rejoicing over his resignation due to the fact of his polarising views on schedules and the development of cricket in Australia with massive favouritism towards T20 cricket than the longer format.
Domestic cricket is in a tricky situation in 2021 and will be until COVID is under control across the country. Until the Ashes start, Cricket Australia can put their feet up because the start of the 2021 season has been a shaky one to say the least.
Having vied with Steve Smith for the title of Australia’s best bat since his whirlwind 2019 Ashes series heroics, Marnus Labuschagne was an option for many to take on the vice-captaincy role in the Test team following Pat Cummins’ elevation to the captaincy.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain says the tourists can’t risk a slow start to the Ashes next week and need to throw Ben Stokes straight into the fray. Meanwhile, Marnus Labuschagne talks about his cricket ‘obsession’, and Warnie’s at it again, with Nathan Lyon in the cross hairs, in this edition of Ashes Scout.