The current Ashes series lacks chest hair. Just over a week out from the first Test, there have been no serious shots across the bow from either side. Instead, we see the English side taking a lovely weekend Belgium trip to touch each others` feelings whilst the prettiest pace bowling attack in Australian history struggles to bowl out Sussex`s 2nd XI. Craig McDermott, the archetypical angry red man, would be have been fired-up last year for this series. Instead, the most inflammatory comments we`ve seen from the Aussies emanates from (reputedly) the angriest player in the side, Peter Siddle;
“I`m pretty sure there`s going to be a little bit said on the field and Pietersen is a pretty confident lad, he likes to say a bit, so I`m sure there will be a few run-ins between us and him.
Tough words, Vicious. Maybe next you`d like to send Pietersen a letter telling him how angry you are with him?
Thank God (McGrath) Siddle is there, though. Australia looks likely to field a bowling attack of Johnson and Lee in the first Test of the series and had Shane Watson been fit, he`d be in the side too. The orgiastic jostling for position in front of mirrors before play would have ruptured the very fabric of the space-time continuum with the sheer overpowering force of its metrosexuality.
The lack of sledging has not gone unnoticed by others. Perennially incapable of truly retiring from the game, Shane Warne has taken it upon himself to not only slate the current English number 3 Ravi Bopara (fresh from three consecutive Test hundreds) but to actively push for the selection of players who are injured/past it (Vaughan) or are so new to the game, they`re bound to struggle (Adil Rashid).
“Bopara is a good first-class cricketer, but he is not an international cricketer. I think he`s got all the talent in the world, but I just don`t think he`s got the temperament. He can be put off his game too easily and he`s too worried about how he looks.
“Let`s hope England aren`t relying on Bopara [for the Ashes] because they could be in trouble.”
Criticising another for being overly concerned about looks? Oh Warnie, you are the living end.
The conclusion to be drawn from such inaction? Neither side is truly sure how the series is going to pan out. So they`re worried about saying something which will be remembered down the years as a `grovel moment`. It`s a sad state of affairs because Australian players used to back themselves and the needle between players not only provided spice for the series but worked in putting the opposition off their game.
Sort yourselves out, Australia.