Like a young woman on her first Contiki trip to Europe, the Australian Test side did something overseas they wouldn’t normally do.
Finding themselves thousands of miles from home and seemingly liberated from the stifling social expectations of their peers, parents and boyfriends, they chose to recklessly experiment.
While the Aussies did not enter a three-person sexual liaison ala the plot to Vicky Cristina Barcelona, they still did get up to some pretty weird shit.
Whether it was dumping Alex Doolan for someone who considers it acceptable to play a reverse sweep shot in Test cricket (while batting at first drop, no less), or Michael Clarke employing a straight hit, and other odd-ball fielding tactics, the Australians tried things in the UAE they wouldn’t normally do at home.
And while this experimentation will not likely result in an awkward conversation at the sexual health clinic three months down the track, it has a more immediate impact. Chiefly, it lowers the prestige of the Baggy Green.
It’s clear the Australian selectors wrote off these Tests as irrelevant. With plenty of fan sentiment capital in the bank following the successful Ashes series and tour of South Africa, they chose to experiment in a series watched by a few.
But it backfired. The Australian cricket team were caught off-guard by the reaction to their 2-nil shellacking at the hands of Pakistan in Dubai – but they shouldn’t have been. Michael Clarke should not be “bemused” that his captaincy was questioned upon his return.
As the pin-up boy for the iPhone generation, Clarke should know better. Dubai may be in another time zone, but with things like the Internet, Foxtel and live score apps, the action on the pitch has never been closer.
Maybe the Aussies could’ve gotten away with this in the eighties. Not now. Not with the Internet, social media and weird shit like Snapchat and Tinder.
Just like rugby league players are slowly (ever so slowly) learning that “what happens on tour” no longer “stays on tour”, what you do overseas is now just likely to be noticed as if you were doing it in front of someone’s nose.
While this technology may be simultaneously ruining / making our lives better, it is also making location and distance irrelevant.
Australia is no longer beset by the tyranny of distance. The sooner Boof, Clarke et al realise this, the better.
By Ben Shine, with staff writers