There may have been only a handful of us, not even enough to fill a first eleven, let alone field two teams, but the rivalry was no less fierce, and no less intense. We were backyard cricket warriors representing our nation with pride.
We actually never played in the backyard because the local reserve was handy and big; bigger than the MCG, except for the grandstands of course, of which there were none. After school we occupied a portion of the grass and played cricket until the sun went down, or until we were called home by our mothers. Those long summer days and warm nights when we played cricket in the park, then went home and watched it on the television, were wonderful times.
The West Indies dominated world cricket all through my childhood, but Australia's regular defeats did not diminish my love for the game; a love which has only grown stronger through the years.
I never played cricket competitively, never joined a club, but I have become an armchair expert thanks to over four decades of listening to experts describe and talk about the game. I have an opinion on everything related to cricket, and at times I know better than the national selectors.
Australia is touring India at the moment. The test match series stands at 1-1 with 2 games to play. I know exactly who should be in the team to help ensure our victory against very strong opposition in hostile territory, but the selectors aren't listening to me. I'm not saying I could do a better job than them...well, maybe I am - but I have no influence and no authority.
I'm just a passionate fan of the greatest game on earth. I know whoever takes the field on March 16 for the 3rd test will do Australia proud, and I can barely wait for the battle to begin. Go Australia!