Fans of the Australian cricket team awoke to the news on Thursday that Ryan Harris was returning home from the IPL due to an achilles heel injury. Actually, scratch that, on Thursday the news about Ryan Harris went something like this:
* Ryan Harris is injured.
* He is returning home 1 day after he was named in the Australian Ashes squad.
* He is out of the Ashes series.
* Yet again the Cricket Australia board of selectors have stuffed up.
Unfortunately for journalists of print, web and social media only one of those four “facts” were correct. As we found out AFTER the idiotic headlines (kudos to the Courier Mail for the picture of Harris with his head in his hands wearing a Queensland cap lamenting him being out of the Ashes campaign):
* Ryan Harris has an injury to his achilles heel.
* He left India on Tuesday; viz., one day in advance of the naming of the Australian Ashes squad.
* He is expected to be fit, in his words, in “a couple of weeks” OR, in the words of Cricket Australia, in six weeks. Neither timeline put him out of the Ashes squad.
* He was selected by Cricket Australia in the full knowledge of him returning home. Indeed he has returned home so that his injury can be managed by Cricket Australia doctors.
Now I know that:
* I have been a very harsh critic of the Cricket Australia selection panel and in particular John Inverarity; and
* We are all very excited about the forthcoming series: well one part excited and nine parts worried
BUT can everyone just calm down for a minute? I fully understand the social media explosion that goes with something like this happening: indeed on other occasions I have been stoking the fire. However, for the print media to beat this up the way they have smacks of another agenda or, at the very least, an attempt at expectation management of Australian fans (in the expectation of a comprehensive loss).
It seems that the print media in this country has already written this team off: having pillored Cricket Australia for the team they selected for India with the benefit of the hindsight of a 4-0 result (the same print media were very enamoured with the team before it departed these shores as I remember it) said media are now pilloring a team that has been selected seemingly solely with an eye on winning. Such writing is reminiscent of that of the English press when Australia were belting the Poms in ’89 and ’93. I never expected it from our press.
Am I missing something completely here? Cricket Australia have picked a team that is experienced in the conditions and, in my opinion, can win the Ashes. The Poms are cocky and think we are crap. What better time to get behind our team and bask in the glory of beating them? The reporting of the naming of the team and that of Ryan Harris’ injury suggests another agenda: I for one hope that changes sooner rather than later so that we can focus on getting our urn back!