Confession that heart’s not really in cricket anymore

AT THE risk of being kicked out of Australia, I'm going to confess that I've sort of gone off the game of cricket.

It was not always so.

Summer for a Gladstone boy used to mean:

1. energy-sapping humidity that made the short walk to school a sweat-soaked death march;

2. refreshing afternoon thunderstorms; and

3. epic games of Monopoly.

Then along came one day international cricket, and the Monopoly board was swiftly kicked into the bin.

My mates and I lived and breathed cricket. We watched it on telly, listened to games on the radio, read about it, talked about it and sometimes fought about it.

I knew every player's nicknames, their batting and bowling averages and what brand of cigarettes they smoked.

We swapped cards and stickers, played table-top Test Match.

And in the afternoons, we risked heat-stroke playing backyard cricket until it got so dark you couldn't see the bowler, let alone the ball.

But the honeymoon ended in 1981 when Trevor Chappell was told to play lawn bowls with the Kiwis.

Then when Kim Hughes was named Australia's captain, I simply walked out.

There followed a long affair with the Sheffield Shield, with frequent attempts to reignite the passion for international one day cricket - but my heart really wasn't in it.

The final straw was my inability to join in the cult worship of Shane Warne.

In fact, I actually smiled when someone smacked his bowling all over the paddock - a crime which I believe now attracts the death penalty in India.

Today, I couldn't name three Australian players, if my life depended on it.

But the door hasn't completely closed.

Perhaps one day I'll click the 'friend' button on their Facebook page and we'll start talking again.

If only for the sake of the kids.