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Never has an Australian cricket season begun in such a climate of uncertainty as 2018-19, with the national team deprived of its only world-class batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner, and under new management with a point to prove about value and values. Captain Tim Paine and coach Justin Langer faced having to redefine what the baggy green cap and blood a new generation of cricketers. Standing in their way, on his own personal crusade, was Virat Kohli, the world’s most charismatic cricketer, leading India, the world’s Test number one.
Gideon Haigh, cricket columnist for The Australian, watched every ball of a jumbo international summer, shadowed throughout by the moral cloud of Sandpapergate, and shaped remarkably by Kohli, as perhaps by no visiting cricketer before him. This compilation of Haigh’s columns captures all the day-to-day excitement and intrigue, as Australia’s defence of the World Cup and the Ashes loomed.