Before we headed up the freeway to Melbourne and the MGC to see our first Twenty20 Big Bash League game Ben told me that I had to pick a side.
Both teams playing, the Renegades and the Stars were Melbourne based teams so I couldn’t decide based on hometown loyalty.
Ben patiently explained to me who was in each side and when I heard Muralidaran’s name mentioned I vehemently declared, “I cannot go for a chucker”.
Muthiah Muralidaran is member of the Melbourne Renegades, a team that at the time I felt was aptly named. After all Muralidaran is known for rebelling against the accepted, overarm with a locked straight elbow bowling style that is unique to cricket.
“But the Stars have a chucker too” Ben told me, “Lasith Malinga”.
I didn’t care. I would not go for a side that Muralidaran was a part of and I chose the Stars.
The Twenty20 Big Bash League is about as far as you can get from the starched white uniforms, tea breaks and ingrained formalities of the test form of the game.
Green and white, the colours of home team the Melbourne Stars, thunder sticks were handed out to supporters as they entered the MCG and throughout the match supporters were encouraged to be loud and get involved in the game. Live music was a feature of the event with The Collective playing before the game and Jessica Mauboy at half time. In fact every sporting cliché that I could come up with was utilised at this Twenty20 cricket match. There were fireworks and flames with every 6 hit by the home team, cheerleaders danced on the ground before the game and kiss cam picked out cute couples as well as some unlikely lovers from the crowd.
An important draw card for cricket fans however is the chance to see retired players back at the pitch.
Shane Warne is a recognised tosser off the field but as long as he’s not a chucker on the field, I can cope with his botoxed face and celebrity shenanigans. His arrival on the ground was greeted with the traditional ‘Waaaarrrrrrnnnnnniiiiiiiieeeeeeeee’ cheer and bow, most enthusiastically by the punters in Bay 13. But by the end of the game he was getting booed by the same crowd.
After a heated discussion with Renegades’ batsman Marlon Samuels, Warne appeared to purposely throw the ball at him. Twenty20 differs from test cricket in many ways but notion of sportsmanship should still remain. Samuels then threw his bat in Warne’s direction.
While watching the Stars and in particular their petty reaction to taking a flogging it became apparent that a team filled with big names stars might not be a good idea.
So I’ve chosen my Twenty20 team and I’m sorry to say that I go for a chucker.