For the first time in my life, the Australian cricketing summer has snuck up on me. Given what’s happened in the last week I’m guessing I’m not the only one. But now the real cricket starts. And all of those feelings swirling around inside the head of most Australian cricket fans are going to have a focus point.
If you’re like me you’re filled with trepidation. I’m petrified at the thought of Slats and Brayshaw’s breakfast radio routine on a day that will require the most sensitive approach. I am frightened that the memory of Phillip Hughes will become a meme, a livestrong wristband; a public declaration by people to show they ‘care’ for their own self-esteem or worse, clicks on articles. I am worried I will become a person who judges how other people mourn someone; tasteful mourning? What do I know about tasteful mourning?
I’m worried that the Australian’s just cannot be ready to play test fucking cricket less than a week from burying one of their own. I cannot pretend to understand what they have gone through in the last weeks. The most significant death I’ve ever had to deal with was my uncle who died after a relatively short battle with cancer. I ended up giving myself alcohol poisoning.
If I lost one of my good friends? Fuck me who knows. David Warner, who held his friends hand as he struggled for his life so recently will have to face up to someone hurling a ball at his head at more than 140km/h. To have the mental fortitude to block out the dark thoughts; I cannot fathom it because I would not have it.
I am heartened by Michael Clarke’s likely involvement. Not just because of it means Shaun Marsh won’t play, but mostly because his leadership this last week has been inspiring. His willingness to simultaneously support the Hughes family through such a difficult period revealed a fundamental decency that most Australian’s had failed to notice.
His ability to simultaneously be a rock for his team whilst surely showing most Australian men how to mourn a loved one oddly gives me hope that the 12 guys turning out for Australia will feel capable of doing so. Oddly enough, the idea that Clarke is playing tomorrow makes me feel I have permission to enjoy cricket; I mean, if he can put his mind to playing test cricket, I can put my mind to sitting on my arse.
I am glad India is involved. Because if any team is going to allow me to move beyond Hughes’ passing to a healthy animosity for an opponent it is India. But will I feel bad when I crave aggressive bowling? Can I demand Mitchell Johnson try to break someone’s fucking arm when the possible ramifications are so fucking clear in my mind? Fuck me it’s all a bit much.
So the cricket is back. I hope I enjoy it.