Aussie cricket’s absurd waiting game as details of India summer tour still yet to be finalised

There’s an almost absurdist humour developing around the daily exchange over India’s highly anticipated appearance in Australia this summer. And with every week that passes there is a growing anxiety that something, somewhere, has gone wrong.

Who better to turn to at a time like this than Samuel Beckett? The playwright wrote the handbook on waiting and is the only Nobel prize winner to appear in Wisden.

In his play Endgame, Nagg tells Nell a story of an Englishman who asks a tailor to make him a pair of pinstriped trousers for New Year’s Eve.

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The wait goes on for when Virat Kohli and Tim Paine will resume hostilities.Source:AAP


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The customer makes repeated attempts to pick up the pants but there is always some unforeseen problem and it is not until well into the next year that the frustrated man is presented with the trousers.

Customer: “God damn you to hell, Sir, no, it’s indecent, there are limits! In six days, do you hear me, six days, God made the world. Yes Sir, no less Sir, the WORLD! And you are not bloody well capable of making me a pair of trousers in three months!”

Tailor (scandalised): “But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look … (disdainful gesture, disgustedly) … at the world … (pause) and look … (loving gesture, proudly) … at my TROUSERS.”

When the schedule arrives, whoever has done the heavy lifting with governments, health departments, airlines, customs, hotels, buses, security and hospitality will have every right to demand similar context for the schedule as the tailor for his trousers. The world’s a mess and an Indian summer — should it occur — will have all the pinstriped perfection of a well made pair of pants.

We know how you feel, Virat!Source:FOX SPORTS

Weeks have passed with Cricket Australia advising they are expecting to make an announcement only to be frustrated by circumstance and bureaucracy. At first the Indians were to land in Perth and the tour to advance from there. Then the destination became Adelaide before a month or so back settling on Brisbane as each of the first two places proved too difficult.

You have to laugh because, to borrow another line from Beckett, there is nothing funnier than unhappiness.

The existing mud map has the Tests beginning in Adelaide before progressing to Melbourne, Sydney and concluding in Brisbane. It’s ambitious in the extreme. At this stage, movement from Melbourne to Sydney in the time frame available is impossible. Players could be given an exemption, but would the same be done for broadcasters? Commentators are expendable but camera operators who can follow a ball that can travel at 150kmh towards a bat and advance in any direction thereafter are not.

ECB chiefs concluded in a recent end-of-summer debrief that the key to cricket in a time of coronavirus is to plan early and commit late (a practice that has served the likes of AB de Villiers well over the years).

The Aussies helped the ECB negotiate a brutal northern hemisphere summer.Source:AFP

Cricket’s major nations have concluded they must co-operate if the international game is to survive. The West Indies and Pakistan sacrificed much to put on Test series in the England summer. The Australians went well out of their way to play white-ball matches in Manchester and Southampton. The ECB said the incoming tours saved the English game from oblivion, but it still lost the best part of $200m.

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The government is so frustrated by the incompetence — and worse — of the board that it’s threatening to take over. Such a move would, under ICC rules, see South Africa suspended from cricket.

The ECB has offered to do its bit and stump up the $700,000 or so to charter a plane to play white ball games in mid-November. But there is little faith in CSA’s ability to get their kit together.

England has also indicated a willingness to travel to Pakistan in the new year for a quick T20 tournament. As no major cricket nation has been in those parts for more than a decade, such a tour would have almost historical significance.

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Afghanistan’s first Australian Test was scheduled for November but has been cancelled because things became too difficult with the IPL butting up against the start of the Indian summer.

Afghanistan cricket chief executive Nazeem Jaar Abdulrahimzai said this week that they understood the situation but were, understandably, disappointed.

“It looks like that not enough effort was made for us considering India will play in Australia,” Abdulrahimzai told me.

“We were looking forward to the Test match but do understand their busy schedule.”

The harsh economic truth is that by playing India, Australian cricket should hopefully be in the position to host Afghanistan in the future, but not if the situation is reversed.

Patience will be a virtue for Afghanistan.Source:AFP

Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, who have not been invited down under for the best part of two decades, may be able to counsel the Afghanis on patience when it comes to things in Australia.

Meanwhile, Australians can turn to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot for more counsel on the India tour.

Vladimir: “He didn‘t say for sure he’d come.”

Estragon: “And if he doesn‘t come?”

Vladimir: “We’ll come back tomorrow.”

Estragon: “And then the day after tomorrow.”

Vladimir: “Possibly.”

Originally published asWaiting for Virat: Test of patience a wicked tale of absurdity

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