Friday, October 07, 2005

Dream Team

Here's a result: having been in the right time-zone to watch the Ashes live at a reasonable hour, I'm now in a close-enough time-zone to watch the Super Series not-quite-live. For the first time ever, the ICC has (done what every punter in the pub would do if they could and) selected a World XI - and sent the best individual players out against the best Test and One Day International side, Australia, over three ODIs and one 6-day Test.

Two games in, Australia have dominated. In part, as a side they're playing for restored pride having just lost the Ashes; while certain individual team members are playing to secure their future in the side after notably poor performances on tour...

But dream teams almost always fail to deliver their on-paper potential. For one thing, the players aren't used to playing together; their styles have had no time to mesh. For another thing, they're playing for fun, show-casing their talent but lacking the "we have to win" mentality that comes with playing for your own national team in matches that count for international rankings. And in this particular case there appears to be another factor: the selectors have chosen (on the whole) the biggest names in the game, the box-office draws; senior players (on the whole) in their own sides, who have earned their reputations over many years of consistent brilliance...and therefore aren't as fast in the out-field as younger up-and-coming players. In short, this side hasn't performed in the field, making half-hearted stretches towards balls that they would have caught in previous years.

But it has been highly entertaining nonetheless, and the crowd at Melbourne's Telstra Dome have helped create an amazing atmosphere. As long as no-one expects them to be close-run contests, the Super Series looks set to have a happy future.

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