Victoria in this case is not the deep south, home of Warnie and Hunters and Collectors. Victoria was, quite a long time ago now, the most astute cricket watcher I have known. She was quite a cricketer herself and I remember one lovely afternoon at Austinmer school nets batting and bowling to each other with a terribly juvenile abandon. Real fun.
And it is only because Victoria managed to maintain a kind of fandom for Australian cricket that I justify my continuing affection for the Australians, that, and the simple fact that we tend to love that which we see everyday and without pay tv I watch Australian cricket.
Victoria would say that what goes around comes around and that this is hardly the first time the Australians have been outplayed. She’d remind me of the awesome string of losses in the eighties when the mighty Windies crushed us time and time again and even if it was awful didn’t we learn to love Holding, Garner, Marshall, Walsh? She’d point out that nowadays even Colin Croft is now held in nostalgic reverence.
Victoria would tell me that the Australians have occupied the imperial centre for the past twenty years and that, as Yeats said, the centre cannot hold forever. And even if it is England who is doing the business, cricket is a matter of teams not nations. The England team has outplayed the Australian team: there has been no clash of civilisations, whatever the hyperbole of channel nine.
It’s simply two teams playing a game and it will the end the same way these things always do: with one team beating another. That’s what she’d say, and she’d say it with glee.