WE'VE seen it all this summer, from bat throwing and big hitting to classic catches and clumsy streakers.
It all comes to a head this weekend for Australia's favourite summer sport, as we look towards a vitally important few days for both our international team and the domestic sides.
Day One of the last Shield fixtures kicked off yesterday around the country, with every team a chance of making the final which starts next Friday.
The Victorians lead the pack on 28 points, two ahead of South Australia and Western Australia, and four points clear of Tasmania and Queensland. NSW sit in last position on 23, but have just as much chance of making the final as any other state.
As for the Maroons, our disappointing loss last week at the Gabba means our trip to Perth is a must-win six-pointer.
Even then we are no guarantee of making the final, with other results deciding our fate for the third time this summer.
I think it's a tribute to the strength and competitiveness of our domestic format that the final two teams will be decided in the last four days of cricket this summer.
India is the other focus in cricketing circles this week. I'm sure everyone, fan and foe, has got wind of the 'Mohali-gate' homework scandal for four of our national players.
An Indian tour at the best of times is always a tough assignment and this one is no different.
Unfortunately the results have been less then desirable, leading everyone from experts to armchair critics questioning our chance of success in the coming Ashes tour.
While I think it's certainly no need for panic stations just yet, the next few months will be remarkably important.
For some players who are involved in both the Test series, and the Indian Premier League (IPL), it will mean a three and a half month stint on the sub-continent.
Spending so much time in conditions polar opposite to that of the English summer is hardly ideal, but that's the nature of the international calendar these days.
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