Cricket, unlike football, does not really have a tradition of being played over the festive period. This is particularly true in the Indian subcontinent, where Christmas is not as big a deal as it is elsewhere in the world. However, due to being in the southern hemisphere (and thus experiencing summer), there is a long history of Boxing Day Tests, usually at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, being played in Australia. This tradition is as strong as the festive football tradition in England, with kids growing up watching the Boxing Day Test. Test matches are similarly also scheduled during this time in South Africa as well, and both countries currently do have touring nations – the Aussies play host to their near-neighbours New Zealand, while England have made the far-longer trip down to the southern reaches of the African continent.
Thus, there are two Boxing Day Tests scheduled this year, and enough action is thus available for fans to enjoy. Even if that is not the case, they can pop online and have a bet or two – there are bonuses thru bet365 application which may not be available elsewhere.
In South Africa, England will be looking to get their red-ball credentials back on track after a summer of white-ball achievements. A chastening loss in the Ashes brought them right back down to earth following their World Cup-winning exploits, while they were also given the once-over in New Zealand last month. The South Africans are going through a transitional period, especially behind the scenes at boardroom level, but have appointed a bunch of accomplished former cricketers to important positions in an attempt to stem the rot. Time will tell if this will work, as no matter how much work they do off the field, the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt and Mark Boucher are not going to take the field for the Proteas. Over in Australia, there was a hope that this Test series against New Zealand would be a lot closer than recent iterations, but that was soon dispelled after the Australians hammered their neighbours in the first Test at Perth. While New Zealand prevented Steve Smith from scoring, his doppelgänger, Marnus Labuschagne, piled on the runs instead. Seriously, it’s hard enough dealing with one of Smith, now Australia have two of them? Ridiculously unfair, methinks.
Elsewhere in the cricketing world, India beat the West Indies in two short T20I and ODI series, but the Caribbean side put up a strong showing across both series, showing that the future could be bright for this once-dominant nation. India, on the other hand, show no signs of stopping in their quest to rule all three formats of the sport, and Virat Kohli has now started to take his game to the next level in the shortest format as well. Bear in mind that he is no mug in T20s; the Indian captain scored four centuries in one season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) a few seasons ago, but had not exactly set the world ablaze for India in T20Is. Well, that is now changing, and with the T20 World Cup in Australia next season, it will take a brave man to bet against Kohli and his boys in blue.