It is 2015, and we have been inundated with all sorts of strange Back to the Future references in recent weeks. Forget the Cubs, hoverboards and bad acting; the biggest sporting achievement of that year, well to New Zealanders anyway, took place between 8th and 12th November in Brisbane.
And look at that; 30 years on, and almost to the day, New Zealand is about to embark on a three match tour of Australia with the strongest side since that of 1985.
Things were going so well a couple of weeks ago too. Almost all of the squad had just put in a very impressive round of Plunket Shield cricket and, by modern standards, had a decent lead-in before this Gabba test. As things have transpired that build-up has turned into being a bit of a shambles. Last week’s game at Canterbury-Bankstown was called off early, but not before the Cricket Australia XI had made a handy start, reaching 503/1.
But that pitch was nothing like what awaits in Brisbane so it was probably fair enough to cut the losses and head up to the Pineapple State, and a bit of humidity acclimatisation.
There is a contrast. In 1985 New Zealand played a couple of four day matches as well as three day and two day games. Martin Crowe’s undefeated double century against South Australia, for example, proved to be a useful lead in to the first test.
What is reminiscent of the 1985 team is that New Zealand enters this series with a more experienced batting line-up. The starting XI tomorrow has 44 centuries between them, On the other side S Smith has 11, Warner 12, Voges and Johnson have one each. Imagine a 44-25 scoreline at any stage over the last 30 years.
The hype got a kick-start yesterday when David Warner decided to get his retaliation in early. He has had a crack at McCullum; calling him immature for an article he wrote in a UK tabloid a few months ago.
Typically late and unimaginative, Warner has a bit of a point in that McCullum probably needs to dial back the sanctimony a bit, but Warner calling someone, anyone, immature is a bit comical. But we like a villain and Warner has reminded us he’s still got it in that department.
Not to mention that thing on his upper lip.
What is stranger however is when Mitchell Johnson, 34, decided he would weigh in the Nice Guy thing.
— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) November 4, 2015
Have McCullum’s comments really had that much of an impact?
It has been a while since these two played test cricket against each other. Highlighting just how long it has been is that the answer to one of the coolest pub trivia questions is that Trent Boult made his test debut in Hobart. Forget the pink ball distraction, this is the real deal.
Australia has not been beaten at the Gabba for 28 years, and that West Indian team of the last 1980s was rather handy. Lock yourselves in.
In the meantime here is a bit of YouTube porn