There’s no way around this: in about 20 minutes Australia commences its journey to find out whether we will live or die as a nation.
Such are the stratospheric implications of the Ashes, the Sporting Regard is calling on Australia to abandon intellectual notions of balance and sober analysis. Instead, it’s time to embrace and encourage the hysteria that comes with this series – the apocalypse has truly arrived.
There is a very rhythmic and symmetrical parallel between climate change and Australia’s sporting decline, and it is simply this: both are well on the way to destroying their respective constituencies.
The difference is Australia’s sporting malaise is happening far quicker, and far more violently.
Both the doomsdayers and yaysayers have been correct. In the next 50 days of test cricket, played out over 6 months, we will find out who will live and who will die.
You would also adopt Lehmann’s que sera sera, beer and fags approach too, if you were coach.
In 50 days of cricket, the Australian team can redress a decade of national failure: not just sporting. Not only would they redress our collective failure as a nation, victory would propel us to the dizzying heights of the sporting promised land once again – perhaps higher.
If we ever wanted to prepare the national consciousness to flourish in the Asian century, this is surely the way. As they say, economics is about confidence. What better shot in the nation’s arm than an Ashes win on English soil?
By the same token, an abominable loss could destroy the nation state of Australia as we know it. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that New Zealand could invade and that Western Australia might consider secession (we already discarded Simon Katich from the national setup – which is reason enough).
Failing that, a heavy loss will at least plunge us further towards the banana republic Paul Keating warned us about.
One thing’s for sure: if we win we live, and if we lose, well, Australia might have to consider cremating the body of its own collective sporting consciousness, much like the English did in 1882.