Apart from the game that is cricket, there is also a language called cricket too. It is of course spoken by cricketers, coaches, management and even the fans sometimes as you may have guessed already. Let me elaborate. Say, you're a top notch player of a Test team and you have a Bangladesh or Zimbabwe tour coming up. Of course you know that they are going to be shit, that you are going to beat them one way or the other and that you don't really need to worry too much about it. But of course you can't say that to the media or whoever else that asks you something about it. So, instead, you say something like;
"We are aware of the fact that they don't have a great record against us, but still we can't afford to relax or take things for granted. They do posses a good team that is hungry for success, so we will have to be at our best and play to our potential"
But, this is what you really wanted to say;
"We know that they are a shit team, they have done shit against us in the past and we know that it's not going to be any different this time either. So we gonna party hard, go on some shopping and sight seeing before the series starts, and then go there and give them a good spanking. Of course we're not telling you that though"
That, my friends, is Cricket the language and what it is sounds like when it's translated to English.
Now, a New Zealand side has come here again and the first Test starts today. On the eve of the match, Mahela Jayawardene, or MJ as we like to call him has written a piece to crapinfo here using Cricket instead of English. So, for you guys I translated it into English.
It's been a busy and satisfactory season for us so far, and up next we have New Zealand, a team I really like playing. I got my first century against them, in Galle, in 1998. I have a couple of very good ODI hundreds against them as well, and the one in the World Cup semi-final two years ago was an especially memorable knock. Hopefully I can continue to have the same kind of success over the next month or so.
We had to play a shit load of matches this season and we've done tremendously well so far and luckily we have NZ coming up next, a shit team that I really like bashing. You know, I scored a majestic century - my first - against them in 98, and since them I've done really well against them. Remember guys, I scored one in the World Cup semi final as well. I'm good you see. I'm really good at minnow bashing and hope that I can continue it this time too.
It's not just because I have had success against them that I like playing New Zealand. They are tough opponents, they play hard and keep coming at you, and they are a very tough team to beat. We know New Zealand might lack in terms of superstars and big names, but they have a very good bunch of players who play very well as a unit and feed off each other's success, and they can't be taken for granted. We need to beware of that talent and concentrate on doing well.
But it's not just because I've done excellently well against them that I like playing them. They really are a shit team and even lesser players than I am can spank them more or less the way we want. See, they don't really have any players we should be concerned about, so we can afford to relax a bit and have fun.
It's unfortunate that we haven't played New Zealand as often as we would have liked to. It's the same with some other countries as well. We need some sort of system where we play cricket on a consistent basis against all opposition, home and away.
It so bad we haven't had the opportunity to play NZ more often. If it was the case we could have bashed them a few more times and I could have scored a few more centuries and up my average. I think the ICC must have a system where we get our fair share of minnow bashing.
It would have been great to play a three-Test series, but then it's a long season. We have already played a series against Pakistan, and have a lot of one-day cricket and a number of other tournaments around the corner, so it's difficult to get all this into the picture.
As a Test cricketer I am compelled to say that it's good if we had a three Test series, but fuck we played so many matches and I'm tired now. We barely saved our asses against Pakistan because, well, they are Pakistan and did a Pakistan. Otherwise we would have gotten our asses handed to us. Either way, we're tired.
The tight schedule means that we have to switch off from Pakistan mode and on to New Zealand fairly quickly. But it's not that difficult; it's all about mental preparation. There are a lot of positives to be taken from the Pakistan series, and we need to translate that into good form in this series. We need to recognise that New Zealand is a different challenge, identify that difference, prepare for it and go ahead and enjoy ourselves.
See, the schedule is so tight we couldn't even take a breath. Just when the Pakis left, the Kiwis had arrived. Luckily it's NZ and we don't have to worry too much. As I said, they are useless so we can afford to relax a bit.
Going into the series as favourites involves a certain set of challenges. We need to guard against being complacent, and do the things that we have been doing well for the last two or three years. We have played some really good Test cricket, and we have to continue doing that. It's about doing the things that matter right: building partnerships, building pressure, winning sessions. If we concentrate on doing that, the results will come our way.
I really hate the media though. Already we're being termed favorites - not that we didn't know that - and the buggers would start bashing us in no time if we loose a game. I don't think we will, but even if we loose a few wickets quickly, they are gonna be on our backs. So we might need to watch our backs a bit.
New Zealand's Test batting line-up is a bit inexperienced but there is a lot of talent in their team. They have good quality spinners backed up by some really good fast bowlers. So it should be an interesting challenge, one that we are looking forward to.
NZ batting line up is crap. There is hardly an experienced guy - they are full of little kids whom we think we can have a good time spanking. No game at all. Did I tell you that I love minnow bashing?
The last time they came here they managed to draw both Test matches. It was a disappointing result for us; we had the opportunities but we didn't convert them. We realise now what mistakes we made, and this is a good chance to correct them. We are a more mature team now, and we have played together for quite some time, and the guys have been playing some really good Test cricket.
The last time they were here we should have won but we fucked up. Oh hell I remember what people said back then. We better not do the same again. Hope everyone will get together and get it over with.
There are a few New Zealand players we haven't seen a lot of, but there is video analysis; and we have inputs from a few of our A-team players, who were in New Zealand a year and a half ago, and are in our senior squad now.
They have a few new guys in their team whom we haven't played against, but them being Kiwis I bet that they are the same as their senior lousy bunch. Our A team guys who toured there last year told us the same.
What we do know for sure is that Daniel Vettori is going to be the biggest threat for us: a talented spinner and their most experienced player. His experience will come handy in our conditions. Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram and Ross Taylor are the other guys who they will rely on. Those are the standouts for us.
Only thing is we gonna have to bat a bit carefully against Vettori. The bastard bowls good sometimes, but hope we'll do good this time. The other players in their team I know are Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram and Ross Taylor. Others, I don't know the names.
We have seen a lot of Jesse Ryder and Taylor. We know that they are a bundle of talent. So there have been plans drawn for them, how to control them. That's a great challenge for our bowlers, to be bowling against good young talent.
Though they are shit, lately Jesse Ryder and Taylor had done well against some good teams so we asked our bowlers to get rid of them somehow. If those bastards bat well we'd have to do the same and knowing how crappy our batting is, from time to time, I really don't want that.
For us, we have only had good news leading up to the Tests. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan are all fit and available, which makes for a happy selectorial headache. Luckily the headache is Kumar Sangakkara's, not mine! As selectors and captains, you don't mind having to make such decisions. The headache of the bad kind is the one when you don't have the guys out there. No doubt we will have some tough calls to make: whether to drop Ajantha Mendis or Rangana Herath, how to fit Dilshan and Prasanna in, and so on. But as a team we don't want to shy away from them. We made tough calls against Pakistan too. We will make decisions that we think are right for the team, against the given opposition, and under the match conditions at hand.
Luckily we have Murali back in and it's a relief after how pathetic Mendis was the last time. PJ and Dilshan are also coming into the team, so guess it'll be OK even if I fail a couple of times. With all this Sanga is going to have a hell of a time picking a team - who to leave out an all. Damn I'm happy I don't have to make the call anymore. I still remember the ass whipping I got for dropping Marvan in the last World Cup. Over to you now, Sanga.
Hope Mahela will personally thank me for helping him express himself so that he doesn't have to put his ass on the line. Couple of thousand dollars will do, Mahela.