The most important day on the calendar is almost here. Christmas? Bah humbug! I'm talking Boxing Day - which plays host to the first day of first Test between Pakistan and Australia, and the first day of the second Test between England and South Africa. Two days from now, the only place I'll want to be more than the MCG is Durban.
Chris Gayle has suggested that Ricky Ponting should be bounced out by Pakistan. Unfortunately, when most bowling attacks try this, all that ends up happening is that Ricky pulls and hooks his way to a century and I have to put up with watching the celebration (or turn off the TV). Melbourne is Ricky's favourite ground - I think everyone knows that now, thanks to the Channel 9 commentary team drilling it slowly into our brains like a form of Chinese water torture. And frankly, without Akhtar, and on a pitch that is not the WACA, Pakistan should really be aiming to play to their own strengths. However, if Ponting manages to get fit for this game, it would be nice to see him get hit once or twice.
I do think, though, that they should shake up Phil Hughes if Ponting doesn't pass fit for the next Test. Short and at the body is the way to go with the banana boy. I should probably let you know now that I don't rate Hughes at all, and didn't from the first. However, he did just score a century in Shield cricket, against a fearsome Victorian attack lead by...Andrew Macdonald. Sorry, the only thing dangerous about Ronald is his hair, which might ignite at any moment and set the dressing-room on fire.
Meanwhile, over in the land of the braai, Nelson Mandela and the closest-knit team in world cricket, England are looking to develop a patent on the heartstopping draw. They can't just manage this sort of thing in a nice, calm, boring way, can they? No, they have to ensure they make the headlines by pushing themselves to the brink of a crushing defeat and getting Paul Collingwood and *insert name of tail-ender* to pull them back. This is obviously a cunning plan by that Professor of Cunning Andrew Strauss. They look like they might lose a series, so what does Prof Strauss do? He manufactures a batting collapse (assisted by Sir Kevin) and gets Collingwood (who has no titles but does have an MBE) to set up a morale-boosting victory, thus securing a certain series win from game one.
Oh, and AB took an awesome catch at slip in that last match - springing far to the left, diving low and forward and snaffling a ball of Trott's gloves just before it hit the ground. It's the little things in life that makes one happy.