There are two things you don’t talk about in polite company: politics and religion. They are almost guaranteed to cause a row. The same should be true when discussing a gamble. If you’re betting using a faith or political schism as your hook, you might be in trouble.
We dodged one of these last week when India and Pakistan, old enemies who have drawn battle on religious lines met on the cricket field. Such has been the poor relations between the two that they only play each other in ICC tournaments.
But there might be an opportunity too good to turn down in the near future. But we will have to play politics. That’s what Australia’s players, their industry body, and the Australian Cricket Board are doing at the moment. They are having a right old ding-dong.
The first two groups want a bigger slice of the money pie. Cricket Australia don’t want to give it to them. This is, of course, all rather dull. And ordinarily, we couldn’t give two hoots about the threat of industrial action by Australia’s players.
That threat, by the way, is still very real with David Warner, their vice-captain and most marketable player, giving it the big one in the media the other day after the latest rounds of contract talks failed. Warner has said that Australia’s players would rather not be paid than be paid the derisory amount they are being offered.
So, what’s this got to do with betting? Well, Australia and England, rivals in the old-fashioned schoolboy sense, are due to battle in their biannual Test series for The Ashes, the most prized trophy in sports in the two countries.
The series takes place in November. Warner has said that they are prepared to miss the Ashes series, leaving Cricket Australia with little choice to field a reserve team.
You see. Now it is beginning to make sense. Indeed, there could even be fallout if there is an agreement in place by then. The negotiations have clearly affected Australian players.
Their performance in the Champions Trophy, one might argue, was as if the industrial action had already begun. They failed to get out of the group, being pipped by minnows Bangladesh.
So even if they want to play and are ready, they might not find that their reserves of fight and will are quite what they used to be. You can’t just turn it on when you fancy for Test series of such importance. These are months in the planning.
England have a horrible record Down Under. But they are beginning to look like value at +300 with Paddy Power. Australia are no fun at all at -161 with Sportingbet. Just imagine the scenes if you took that England price now and the Aussies fielded a bunch of fair dinkum blokes you had never heard of. The market would flip.