Bolt from the blue
Something new for the blog, Six and Out. Might be six news items, might be six players or six stats, or just six things of interest. Might be weekly, might not be. This week, to get things started, it is six news items.
When the story first started up I was sure it was all just a bit of fun hype to detract from the current inability of teams to sign actual players due to the ongoing pay/contract dispute. But it now seems that the Melbourne Stars are genuinely chasing Usain Bolt to be a part of their squad for the second edition of the BBL. Still undecided how I truly feel about it. On one hand it would highly entertaining to see Bolt get his wish to take on Chris Gayle head-to-head, but if it cost a genuine cricketer the chance of a contract then I don’t think its the right move. Twenty20 is, of course, meant to be fun but ‘celebrity’ signings threaten to push it from ‘fun’ to ‘farce’ – we all remember the NSW/Andrew Johns experiment from several years ago.
The exile is over. Chris Gayle and WICB have finally sorted things out and he’s returning to the West Indian squad for the upcoming ODIs and T20s against England. Gayle hasn’t seen international duty since March 2011, and it would be fair to say that he’s been missed by both the team and fans alike. Coming off a huge IPL, the West Indies will be hoping his form continues and can help them turn their tour around after losing the test series.
The Australians are on the search for a new bowling coach after Craig McDermott left the job recently. Waqar Younis has shown interest, but its Allister de Winter (assistant coach for Tasmania and the coach for the Hobart Hurricanes) who’s getting the first crack, getting to tour with the Aussies in the UK later this month. The position won’t be officially filled until after they return from the UK, but should de Winter get the gig, the Hurricanes will have to find themselves a new head coach for next season – you would assume the Tasmanian head coach, Tim Coyle, would be the first place they’d be looking.
Kevin Pietersen stunned most when he announced his retirement from international limited overs cricket. Given the choice he probably would’ve just retired from the 50-over game, but the ECB require that a player is either available for both ODI and T20, or neither. So neither it was. England tour India at the end of the year, and the test match portion of the tour ends around the same time that the second edition of the BBL is expected to begin raising the question as to whether Pietersen could make an appearance down-under over the summer. Initial indications seem to be that he won’t instead opting to stay home with his family, but you never know. Personally I’d rather see the Eddie Maguire in the UK trying to recruit Kevin instead of hanging out in Norway with Usain Bolt, but that’s just me.
The nations capital will gets its first taste of international cricket involving the home side early next year. It’s all part of the centenary celebrations for the capital. Manuka Oval will host a game in the Commonwealth Bank Series, with Australia playing either Sri Lanka or the West Indies. There were suggestions a while back that Canberra might have even scored more than a single match, possibly even a test match, as part of the celebrations but that, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look to be on the cards.
The upcoming summer will be the last that will see Vodafone plastered on the front of the Australian test shirt after the telco has pulled out of all sporting sponsorships in Australia – including the title sponsorship of the reigning V8 Supercar champs. The 2013-14 home Ashes series will be the first series for any new sponsor, and I’m pretty sure Cricket Australia hope that big draw-card will help them in securing a new long term sponsor and partner to fill the gap left by Vodafone.