If you are wondering why I've been so quiet for four days of a thrilling Test match ... there is a good reason. For those one or two on the planet who haven't heard, my first book of poetry has been released this week - went on sale last week online and in bookshops last Saturday. I've been dealing with press people and organising the event and also trying to soak up the achievement "in the moment". A few balls in the air there! Anyway, my first public appearance is on Thursday in Armidale and then the launch of the book by that old (out)swinger Tony Bennett, on Saturday.
You can buy a copy from http://sixninespoetry.blogspot.com/ via the security of PayPal.
But I have been keeping tabs on the game.
Like others after the 1st Test, I had tabs on Benn and Roach and this has proven a fortunate call. Benn bowled with lovely control here in Adelaide and continues a long line of domination over Australian batsmen by left hand, Greek Orthodox bowlers, which stretches back to Underwood and Bedi and had Dan Vettori as it's most recent tormenting head. Its been ten years since a Windies spinner took five wickets in a Test innings and it was fitting that it came from a man with Michael Holding's build. His partner in crime, Roach, will be a name to be reckoned with over the next ten years. This is the fast bowling future and between them, they form a pair who should be the cornerstone on which West Indian Jacks can build their cricket house.
Full marks to Bravo. I didn't rate him but his first innings was a fine one and to hear him talk after play, you can put down those rumours that West Indians don't give a fiddler's flick about Test cricket.
While on the subject: three things I've known about today have left me shaking my head about the game.
First - Chris Gayle played a Test cricketer's innings today in Adelaide. It was an innings of such care and belief and affection for his team mates and the region he represents that it's hard to reconcile this Chris Gayle with the bloke I've watched in the long game before. Still, this bloke was the same one who controlled events yesterday so brilliantly, setting fields to support his bowlers and talking them up. It seems, in the end, even the one day wonders think Test cricket is so special that when they say it's on its last legs and about to be waved farewell, they really don't want it to happen. How else could you explain the four hundred plus minutes of Don Quixote in Dreadlocks we have witnessed since late yesterday? This should bring the crowds back ... if only they knew to appreciate it.
Second - in the completely opposite vein, Test cricket scheduling has revealed that in the now home of cricket, India, in which the No.1 Test playing side in the world reigns supreme and where all things devious and destructive lie and plot against the greatest form of the game ... there will be no Test cricket played during the next two years! Scheduling of "other" tournaments and games will not allow Tests to be played. Whether the plot against Test cricket is some dormant desire for revenge against former imperialists or not, how can the ICC sit on their polished, fat backsides and allow this to take place. Money is power and power corrupts and absolute power ... destroys Test cricket.
Third - even at the grass roots level, cricket allows itself to be a victim by accepting behaviour well below standards won over many a generation. If cricket really is a metaphor for western civilisation then we are all deep in the dirtiest pans of the sanitary truck. Tonight, as the figurehead of a local club, I have have fielded threats and abuse from a small, volatile group determined to replace the truth with myths whose rewritten history makes them pure. Their brave anti-accolades have been delivered like mice, well anony-mice at least, as though a hidden enemy would confront me more. Sad, isn't it.