A very weird and long cricket season is almost over. Almost over in that the mostly unheralded Sheffield Shield season approaches its conclusion. As it does so nearly unnoticed, the notably fake footy that is the AFL NAB Challenge, whatever that means, is roaring through meaninglessly and under great observation.
The former is a competition with much prestige and history in this sports mad country, the latter has no ladder, no finals, no winner, and almost no purpose. That, however, is the nature of things in this country. Unless it is the pointlessly vacuous Big Bash League or the nationally important above everything else The Ashes, cricket occupies a territory that could be described as a kind of unsatisfied tolerance by the general population.
People have it on, they are generally interested in selection and the outcome, but seem, on the whole, to be fairly unhappy with the product. Genuine cricket fans will usually be happy with the Test summer, will follow the One Day matches, but will turn their noses up at the shortest form in its domestic setting. The two types of fans have opposing tastes.
This cricket summer has tested everyone. With three short, ordinary Test series with a couple of weird One Day tournaments and a handful of T20s, the cricket has seemed to linger around like the tiny sticky sparkles from the big packet your kids burst and spread throughout your house. If you haven’t experienced that, they definitely linger. Boy, do they linger.