You have to love the English, if they aren't quite doing as they wish they are very quick to either steal your thunder or just have a good old whinge. Here we are a few weeks out from the World Cup, after a pretty darn emotional Test match in Sydney and Jonathan Agnew throws his 2 cents in to the mix. He is of the opinion that Australia should stop sledging and being Australians to honour their fallen mate.
How the Australians choose to honour the legacy of Phillip Hughes is completely up to them as he was a member of their team, not the world's team. I won't continue with the Hughes angle as that would completely defeat the purpose of my argument, but I want to say that I have no issues with the way Australia play their cricket and in fact, I love it. Everyone seems to sit nicely on their moral high chair looking down at the Australians for enjoying a bit of a chirp, which has gone on for decades but now we seem to think that every conversation between an Aussie player and an opponent is an overly aggressive threat. It's just how they play cricket, we've all experienced it at the local field and as a kiwi, it's great that it's how our nearest rival plays. I mean, when we see David Warner chirping away at one of the Black Caps then we know the Black Caps have made it.
It was just odd that someone who is apparently has a respected opinion could make such comments from such a distance, we've got no idea what was said in the many conversations between Aussies and Indians in the recent Test series. Heck, maybe the Australians made the decision to continue to play the hard nosed, hugely competitive Aussie way to honour their mate. Their mate who very much a true blue Aussie.
But I don't stop there in my England bashing! Ah it's good fun and they just keep giving us ammunition. Kevin Pietersen won't play for England again, no matter how good he thinks he is or what he says. He's pretty lucky to be in such a position with the Big Bash where he's always mic'd up and he sporadically appears in the commentary box, where he's expected to be himself and talk some shit. I thought before KP hit the Big Bash that he might have come to terms with his new job as a cricketing mercenary, but apparently he hasn't. Sure, England might benefit by having KP in their team but that would come at the expense of a young player and future planning.
The decision to give KP the flick and the anti-KP campaign was definitely a bit harsh, but England are embarking on a new era which we will see at the World Cup. Had KP not been so vocal in his protest of what happened, he might have left that door open with some match winning performances and solid leadership which would have shown England officials that he still has something to offer. Instead he went on the attack and that door was slammed shut, now he's just walking controversial comments machine.
The Surfing Nationals at Piha has thrown up a interesting bit of action as the Open Men's division took a wee break, putting the spotlight on the ladies. Ladies, well young ladies with six of the semi-finalists in the Open Women's division under the age of 20 which is obviously awesome for surfing in Aotearoa. Auckland surfer Gabriella Sansom was the best of the ladies with a score of 11.83 out of 20 to lead the pack of not only young guns, but also the entire ladies competition. The competition moves in to its business end over the next few days with the top seeds (Maz Quinn and Billy Stairmand) in the Open Men's division getting their first taste of competition. Get out to Piha and enjoy some high quality surfing!
Sean Marks was at the White House! Bless Sean Marks who is the low key basketballin' hero for Aotearoa as an assistant coach of one of the premier NBA teams the San Antonio Spurs. He's in the back row, second from left ... right behind Tim Duncan, the great Tim Duncan who looks like he's hit the bong a few times in the White House toilet. In fact they all look kind of odd don't they? Odd, in a very cool way.
The standard post-World Cup exodus is in full effect for Aotearoa's best rugby players. Jeremy Thrush is heading to Gloucester in England while Ben Franks looks likely to head to London Irish, is this interesting? No. Is it of any great importance? No. Should you care? No.
What is slightly more interesting is that Michael Boxall couldn't imagine life without Jeremy Brockie, so he's going to join him in South Africa come the season's end. I wouldn't expect Ernie Merrick to add to his squad right now though as he's pretty happy with what he's got, but expect many A-League clubs to be active in the player market which could make the back end of the A-League a whole lot funkier.