The Champions Trophy and Australia A tour
Beers, beards, beat ups and Belfast
Me: Steve, how are you?
Steve Rixon: Good but I’m sick of being in Belfast. We couldn’t get our mojo going in the damn Champions Trophy so Mickey sent me over to Belfast to chaperone Pete Crimmings around as he plays for Invitational XI’s in Northern Ireland.
Me: You mean Pat Cummins, I think. When are you linking up with the Ashes squad?
Steve Rixon: Well I’m hoping to get down to Taunton next week to get around the boys and touch base with Mickey as we finalise the opening combinations. Rather than a single opening combination we are going to have opening combinations all the way down the order. We’ve decided to divide the top 7 into 3 sets of openers .Yep , we will start off with the first opening combination of Cowan and Rogers, then there will be the second opening combination of Hughes and Khawaja, Pup will bat as normal at number 5 then Watson and Haddin will be the third set of openers.
As openers they hate sitting around watching their teammates out in the middle, waiting for their turn to bat. So when the real openers, Cowan & Rogers, go out to bat I will take the rest of the batsmen out the back and simulate match fielding. When a wicket falls in the Test I will get a signal from Mickey, something like “Fark! Cowans out for 31 again!” and the next opening combination will abandon the fielding drills and charge to the dressingroom to don their pads, thigh guards etc as if the 10th wicket had just fallen and it was a ten minute change of innings. The not out bloke on the field, Rogers in this case will feign some sort of injury [something like an Iraqi soccer player, or a Bernard Tomic ‘headache’] and come from the ground retired hurt. Then the second opening combination Hughes and Khawaja will stride to the crease as the ‘new’ openers and face the first ball of the innings (in their minds.) Clarke is a proper Test batsmen so he doesn’t need anyof this stuff –he’ll just come in as normal at 5. The members of each opening combination who have retired hurt will then partner up and form new combinations to ‘re-open’ the innings at a later stage. Clarke should be able to retire hurt at any stage of his innings due to his back issues so overall we are pretty chuffed with plans. In their minds all the players get to ‘open’ in particular Watson and the team benefits by having him actually bat at 6 and bowl – like a true allrounder. I just hope Swann doesn’t ‘open’ the bowling to Watson. Ah well no plan is perfect but Mickey and I did spend the whole Champions Trophy nutting this one out so it better work – we didn’t bother coming up with a back up plan.
Me: Hmm interesting plan, but will it still hold with Darren Lehmann as coach?
Steve Rixon: Nice hypothetical there mate, Mickey Arthur is the coach. You know, the South Afircan guy
Me: So you haven’t heard that Mickey has been sacked and replaced with Darren Lehmann?
Steve Rixon: What? No! Fark! Why am I always the last to know about these things? Just like I was the last one told about Warner in the Walkabout. Luckily I was able to come up with some top draw spin at the last minute with that ‘wig as a beard, taking offence at impersonating Hashim Amla’ defence. Joe Root was lucky it was Clint McKay that was in the Walkabout to break it up. If it had been the King of Northbridge, Adam Voges, I’m pretty sure Root would have copped a Perth handshake for his troubles. That’s a glassing you know
Me: Yeah. Did you ask Rhys Muldoon to tweet after the Warner incident and put a positive spin on things?
Steve Rixon: No I didn’t. I’m pretty sure he knows nothing about cricket.
Me: So what is Dave Warner going to do with all this spare time now that he’s banned from playing cricket?
Steve Rixon: Well I’m actually going to teach him how to keep. He looks a better prospect than Wade just quietly.
Me: Really? I didn’t think you taught blokes how to keep anymore, you just looked after the outfielders in the IPL.
Me: How are you going to go working with Darren Lehmann? Are you concerned that you might lose your job? You were appointed as Mickey’s assistant.
Steve Rixon: Look I’ll be fine mate. I knew there was something up when I got sent to the Champions Trophy and then Belfast and Boof got to run the Australia A tour – A tours use to be my gig you know. I’ve had a lot of different masters in my career, I’ve been in this coaching game for a long time, plus I coach in the IPL – it’s a nice little earner. And most importantly no other coach is going to put up their hand up to spend as much time with Matthew Wade as I have to. They’re not going to get rid of me unless they cut Wade from the squad or play him in the tests and that ain’t gunna happen – as long as Wade’s around my job is safe.
Can you put $20 on India to win the Champions Trophy?
Me: Can do, chat to you next week.