Michael Clarke, as you probably know, will be commentating on the Tests full-time for Channel Nine this summer. Give him his credit, he's actually a good commentator.
Well, he is. Love him or hate him, he's a really insightful analyst.
Clarke, as you probably also know, has a book out. Could you possibly have missed this fact amid the plague of publicity? In the book, Clarke claims that he's pretty good mates these days with Simon Katich, almost eight years after the infamous SCG dressing-rom dust-up, in which Clarke admits in his book to having used the "c" word.
(And for once, the word starting with "c" wasn't Clarke referring to himself in the third person.)
Katich, meanwhile, will work on ABC radio grandstand this summer. If you missed it, while commentating on Sunday on the Matador Cup state cricket One Day final, Katich completely refuted the claim that he and Clarke were perfectly amicable chums.
"We've hardly spoken, since it all happened. [Our friendship] is non-existent," he said.
Katich was never picked for Australia again once Clarke became captain. Coincidence? Katich thinks not, and he was more than a little sceptical of Clarke's motives for wanting to paper up a chasm-sized crack.
"I guess at the moment he's obviously trying to sell a book, so..." he said.
So here's what's going on here. Australian cricket has a civil war on its hands. Or to be more precise, many recently retired cricketers from Australian cricket's most successful 20-year era, are at war. And this will now spill into the commentary box, simmering away just under the surface.
Here are some of the factional splits that will underpin every moment of airtime this summer.
- Simon Katich and Michael Clarke clearly can't stand each other despite the Michael Clarke book which he really wants/needs you to buy;
- Shane Watson and Michael Clarke, former captain and vice-captain, also dislike each other. Watson will play in the Big Bash this year, which is on Ten, so Clarke won't commentate. But their paths will cross;
- Shane Warne and Michael Clarke love each other. The love-in will feature all summer long in the Nine box;
- Kevin "KP" Pietersen loves Warney. KP is a new recruit to the Nine team, snared from Ten;
- KP and Clarke are also great mates. They also both have loads of tats;
- Nine anchor Mark Nicholas and Clarke are amazingly good mates, as this hilarious mock page from Michael Clarke's diary amply demonstrates.
- Ian Chappell is still angry about Steve Waugh's captaincy. This has nothing to do with this story but we thought we'd include it anyway;
- Mark Taylor's contribution to the civil war will be via the ancient art of Fujitsu.
What happens next is that a bunch of guys who worked together for a decade or more, will now be forced to share the same buffet lunches in the media lounges situated behind the commentary box. This will be the most interesting place to be this summer.
The cricket itself? It might be good too, but it won't have nearly as much spice.