Understanding the Matador

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It’s spring in Australia. The AFL and NRL Grand Finals have passed, Bathurst is coming up. The men in their baggy greens are on a low-key overseas tour (or perhaps one that is cancelled). But around Sydney, a new sporting competition is starting up. There’s no glitz and glamour as the best domestic cricketers from around the country (well, let’s face it, most of ‘em started in New South Wales anyway) begin another season.

So before you go along to a random suburban cricket ground to drink overpriced beer, buy an overpriced sausage sandwich (courtesy of a Matador BBQ), and chat to the three men and a dog who actually attend Australian domestic cricket (of which this author is one), here’s how you can understand what goes on when pro cricketers spend some time in the suburbs of Sydney — presented in checklist form.

The ‘Vintage Nathan Reardon’ Checklist
☑ Starts scratchily.
☑ Hits a big six.
☑ Gets out.

The ‘Jon Holland on a Slow Pitch 5-fer’ Checklist
☑ LBW as someone plays across the line to one that doesn’t turn.
☑ Inexplicable bowled.
☑ Caught off an underedged cut shot (possibly dropped by Matthew Wade).
☑ LBW as someone squares themselves up.
☑ Random catch in the deep.

The ‘New South Wales at Full Strength’ Checklist
☑ Drop your best performer from the previous year.
☑ Select 7 bowling options to play all the internationals, ruining team balance in the process.
☑ Look unbeatable on paper.
☑ Steven Smith makes 50+.
☑ An international (*cough* Shane Watson *cough*) gets out softly.
☑ Mitchell Starc bowls too fast for everyone.

The ‘Confusing Tasmania’ Checklist
☑ Mainland reject turns in the performance of the tournament.
☑ You wonder why Tasmania never win anything after an innings/spell like that.
☑ James Faulkner gets drunk.
☑ Tim Paine breaks a finger.
☑ Xavier Doherty bowls.
☑ Jonathan Wells gets another recall (note: locked for 2015, he’s in Perth)
☑ You realise your horrible mistake in thinking #2

The ‘West Does It Best’ Checklist
☑ Play an amazing young bowling attack of people you’ve never heard of.
☑ They all collectively get injured.
☑ Justin Langer talks about yoga and/or martial arts.
☑ A member of the Marsh family underperforms.
☑ You remember Michael Beer…
☑ …which makes you fall in love with a spinning all-rounder named Ashton.

The ‘Jamie Siddons WellingtonSouth Australia’ Checklist
☑ The opener reinvents himself as a top order biffer, makes 200.
☑ They win.
☑ The team’s best player inexplicably leaves, and a star batsman decides he’s actually European after all.
☑ The players remember they’re actually coached by Jamie Siddons.
☑ They lose everything, but at least they have JeetsCalFerg.

The ‘Five Unlimited Certainties of Existence’ Checklist
☑ The Universe.
☑ Death.
☑ Taxes.
☑ Human Stupidity.
☑ Greg Chappell’s Ego (and you’re unsure about the first four).

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