Tag Archives: cricket

The new stars of Australian Cricket

MEDIA RELEASE cricket-australia-logo

For immediate release

19th November 2016 – 8am

Debutantes receive Baggy Green Caps in preparation for 3rd Test

The 3rd test team to play South Africa starting on 24th November in Adelaide has been named with some surprises signaling a change in direction for Australian cricket.

The team is Steve Smith (C), David Warner (VC) Usman Khawaja, Buddy Franklin (WK), Tim Cahill,  Mitchell Starc, Israel Filou, Steven Bradbury, Nathan Lyon, Black Caviar, Cooper Cronk and Digger the Staffy x Cattle dog (12th man).brad-with-cap-2

With two non-humans in the squad Cricket Australia expects some raised eyebrows from traditionalists but Chairman James Sutherland states the selection is entirely within the rules.

"I'll be fielding close in at short leg. They won't get past me." said Black Caviar
“I’ll be fielding close in at short leg. They won’t get past me.” said Black Caviar

“There is absolutely nothing in the rules that forbids including non-humans in the squad. There are rules about gender but no mention of species. Both Cavo and Digger are males and are fitting in well with the others. We’re expecting big things from both of them.

“Black Caviar is extremely intimidating in the field – especially when fielding at short leg. Digger is very fast in the outfield and returns the ball with tremendous enthusiasm.” Sutherland said.

The squad will commence training at Rosehill Racecourse before flying out in two shipping containers on Wednesday.

Perhaps Steven Bradbury, the Gold Medal winning Aussie Speed skater from the  2002 Winter Olympics was the biggest surprise of all. He has been chosen for his ability to come back from last to win at all costs.

I know I'm in for my fielding but I plan to score runs too." said Digger
I know I’m in for my fielding but I plan to score runs too.” said Digger

“I’m delighted to be chosen and am going out today to buy a bat. I’m taking big Davey Warner with me to help choose and we’re looking forward to shopping together.” Bradbury said.

Other newcomers like Cahill, Cronk, Folau and Franklin have been watching footage of games from the 1970’s involving stars like Doug Walters, Max Walker and Greg Chappell in order to learn the game quickly and properly. Israel Folau has been particularly taken with the skills and demeanor of Doug Walters who he is trying to emulate in every way.c14c0533d3153f19e8a071cae91067c7-2

“I never thought I’d take up smoking and drinking but I’ll do anything for Australian Cricket. Dougy was doing 40 cigs a day when he scored a century in both innings against the Windies. If that’s what it takes I’ll do it.” Folau said.

Tickets to the game go on sale on Monday wth CA adding a new ‘pet friendly’ seating zone for fans of Digger and Caviar to watch their debut.

ENDS

Media Contact: Phil Dye 0412 678 179

 

 

Why Ponting must be sacked

While Ricky Ponting has seen Australia through some lush times as cricket captain, his time is most certainly at an end. His performance during the fourth test in India has been unconvincing, and his willingness to throw away what could have been a glorious win in order to maintain his captaincy during the first test against New Zealand in 10 days time is little less than deluded.


There was a time during India’s second innings of the fourth test that Australia, ebullient after the run-out of Tendulkar, should have pressed home their advantage with the quicker swing bowling of Lee and Watson.

Yet to the dismay of commentators and fans alike, Ponting fell into the hands of the Indian batsmen by bowling first Cameron White (who took a thumping), then Michaela Hussey (who didn’t boost the score, yet didn’t bother the batsmen) and then Michael Clarke (who seems to be losing 1kg in weight every time he bowls a ball).


The reason for this bizarre selection of bowlers was solely due to Australia’s dismally slow over rate. While the entire team risked a fine for slow over completion, Ponting risked suspension for the next match, which just happens to be against New Zealand in 10 days time. While I’m quite sure the team would have copped a fine simply to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ponting let Harbhajan Singh and Mahendra Dhoni belt a partnership of over 100, setting Australia 382 to secure a win…a big ask in any country, let alone India. A big ask so Ponting could avoid suspension.


When Watson was finally invited to bowl well after the damage was done, he not only stopped the avalanche of runs, but almost immediately secured the valuable wicket of Harbhajan Singh. Had this occurred 90 minutes prior straight after the tea break, Australia could have been chasing a total of less than 300 with a day to spare.

Yet this has happened before. In January 2008, Ponting was forced to use similar tactics to avoid suspension and a team fine in the 3rd Test against India in Perth.


Australia lost the test and still copped a fine. Perhaps the fine would have been worth a win. Ponting’s perspective – that being captain in an upcoming test is more important than chasing victory in the here and now is questionable. His inability to monitor the over rate should have selectors searching for a math’s coach quick-smart, while his insistence on part-timers, and his confounding reluctance to bowl the unpredictable Katich, or even the quicks off a short run, should leave the Australian Cricket Board asking some serious questions.


As Australia enters its hot and lazy summer of cricket, change is most certainly nigh.

Why we love Monty!

This piece first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in January 2007 during the Ashes Test between Australia and England.

It is no coincidence that the release of the new film version of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ last month coincided with the exact day that English spinner Monty Panesar bowling his first test delivery on Australian soil. OK, OK, that’s drawing a long bow and the two events clearly aren’t linked, but there’s something very similar in the lovable character of Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web and the man we’d really like to call our own but can’t.

There’s obviously something special about Monty Panesar. Not special in the same way as Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath, but special all the same. The chap in my bottle shop reckons he’s the ‘next big thing’ and a Google search shows 1.7 million pages mentioning the bloke. Day one of the 5th test in Sydney showed parts of the crowd sporting beards and headwear just like Monty. Youtube even contains a song about him. It must be serious.

But what is it about this man that makes even non-cricket followers admire him? Like the character of Wilbur is Charlotte’s Web, Mr Panesar seems the epitome of enthusiastic naivety. Just as Wilbur the pig was left out of the barnyard family for being a ‘runt’, Monty was left out of the first two tests for reasons only the English cricket administration understand. When Wilbur is finally embraced into the barnyard family, all he wants to do is play, and Monty is seemingly the same now he’s been given his chance in the English test team.

Commentators during the third test in Perth were giggling about the fact that he wanted the ball even though it wasn’t his turn to bowl; that even after he’d been hit for 19 runs in the previous over, he was putting his hand up for more. He’d bowl every over in the Sydney test if we’d let him and maybe he should. Bugger the strategy, it’s the passion we love, and Monty is showing a passion and unbridled joy of the game we haven’t seen in a long time.

But what really makes Monty Panesar so popular? A far cry from those fashionable, clean-shaven, sports superstars we see so much of these days, Monty seems the antithesis of fashion. Perhaps it’s the fact he seems oblivious to all the latest trends that make him ‘cool’. He’s clearly his own man. A devout Sikh, Panesar wears the patka (a mini-turban) with a dignity that makes the coiffured hairstyles of millionaire sportsmen like Matt Giteau or David Beckham look silly. Maybe I’m getting old, but I just don’t get this current fixation millionaire sportsmen have with their hair. Give me Monty and his patka anytime.

Yet there’s more to it than his passion, his patka and his facial hair. We live in a world of comparisons, and perhaps it’s the natural comparison we make with our own king of spin that makes him so popular.

Now as cricketers go, Warnie is a genius; there’s no doubting that. Yet in the numerous retirement accolades Warnie has received from the world’s batsmen, it’s his label as the ‘king of sledge’ that’s the biggest worry. As the volume on the Channel Nine stump mike is turned up (not in the live broadcast mind you, but in the pre-recorded, swear-checked ‘G’ rated version), we hear Warnie gabbling in a non-stop sledge to English batsmen. His verbal diarrhoea ranges from their ‘hopeless’ batting style to the size of their bottoms to their hairstyles. It’s amazing his team-mates can focus on the game let alone the batsmen! Like the gabbling of the geese in Charlotte’s Web, it portrays a tiresome arrogance; an arrogance that’s slowly wearing thin with Australian cricket supporters. Sure, it’s great to win; yet to win with integrity and grace is even better. As demonstrated in the Champion’s trophy last year when the head of Indian Cricket was jostled off the winner’s dais by the Australian team, Aussie cricketing grace is sadly lacking.

In Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte the spider tries to save Wilbur from being Christmas ham by writing certain words in her web. It’s not that Wilbur is ‘Terrific’ or ‘Some Pig’ that saves his life. Ultimately it’s the word ‘Humble’ that saves him from the smokehouse.

Here lies the secret of Monty’s popularity. Even in our brash and stylised world of cult celebrity, marketing hype and strategic media-managed sound bites, we still have some innate eye for legitimacy. ‘Humble’ would be too simple a word for a 21st century, university educated, representative cricketer like Mr Panesar, yet in the amazing support he’s generated from the Australian public, there’s clearly some lessons for our own cricketing heroes. A touch of humility could well be one of them.