Aussie cricket schedule a shambles before Ashes
SO, the Poms are here.
Stealthily, without fuss or fanfare, the England cricket team has touched down on our golden shores in Perth for the return Ashes bout.
Across the media, it's barely rated a mention. Or not that I've seen.
Instead, all the glitz and glamour of the Ryobi Cup has stolen the limelight as little Davey Warner has plundered attacks on a ground the size of a tennis court - and a wicket about as flat - at North Sydney.
Watching how easily he belted sixes reminded me of my childhood - but, unfortunately, not when I was playing cricket.
Sometimes when a few mates and I would get bored playing tennis at the local courts we'd 'bowl' at each other by smashing the tennis ball from about 22 yards and the 'batsman' would try to launch the flying ball out of the courts with his racquet.
I hit some of the only sixes of my life in those intense sessions, but they never seemed to appreciate that much down at the local tennis association.
Anyway, it was hardly ideal preparation for my plodding knocks on a Saturday and I expect it's probably the same for 'Davey' and the likes of Usman Khawaja, who was left to push his Test case in the Ryobi final.
Great dig by 'Uzzie' to smash a ton and it's not his fault that the one-day final was fixtured just three-and-a-half weeks out from the first ball of the Ashes in Brisbane.
The Poms, on the other hand, arrive after winning the Test series and sharpening their games on the county circuit.
Not so long ago the county system was a laughing stock in Australia.
But it's rapidly become a solid proving ground for South African, Welsh, Irish and Aussie players - and any other nationality the Poms are happy to claim as 'English' these days.
In any case, England's players are match-hardened and will have another three warm-up games for the first Test - the same as the Aussies. Well, except those players still touring India for another meaningless one-day series.
You know, just first-choice Ashes 'keeper Brad Haddin, the great white hope Phil Hughes, former great white hope Shane Watson, the next Shane Watson (but hopefully better) James Faulkner and our 'once in a generation' bowler Mitch.
You should all know Mitch.
Those guys could play two four-day matches before the first Test - that's if it doesn't rain.
How, after all the Argus Review chest-beating, we still have a sub-par preparation for the crowning jewel of all cricket series is beyond ridiculous.
For the record, I enjoyed the Ryobi Cup - it was great to see it on free-to-air TV again.
The last time I can remember that Richard Chee Quee was flaying attacks on a Saturday morning when I was a kid.
But if we get rolled again in the Ashes, I won't take much comfort from Davey's tennis shots.
If we get rolled again I won't take much comfort from Davey's tennis shots