The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2013 – Chapter 4

 

A week with Watto....
A week with Watto…. urrrrrrgh.

Chapter 4

Watson, DRS & Brighton

The Second Test: Lord’s

Steve Rixon: Well that Test went pretty well didn’t it? About as well as a cow pat in a bowl of soup – just brilliant.

Firstly, and most importantly for me, the fielding standard dropped at Lords and I’m not happy. Steve Smith took a good catch at gully but was denied by the video replay – I was livid. I’m not sure what the third umpire Tony Hill was on but I want some if I’m going to have to watch another batting effort like that first innings.

I am sick of these useless batsmen, burning DRS reviews like a millionaire in a matchstick factory (Phil Hughes I’m looking at you – 2 from 2 wasted in this test) batting like buffoons with no awareness of the pitch (it’s doing nothing, put your head down and make runs), no awareness of the bowler (Anderson can bowl inswing Watto), no awareness of field placing (there’s a leg slip for Joe Root, Clarkey) and no awareness of the game situation (it’s 20 minutes before lunch, time to be circumspect and face out the overs, not lose 3 for 2). They need to learn how to bat for time, how to build an innings (no Aussie batsmen has made a century), how to apply yourself to a task and see it through (Clarke and Khawaja both made half centuries in the second innings and then threw it away), how to tough it out. They need awareness that a test match isn’t won in an hour, a session or even a day just like Dave Warner’s socks they need to work harder for longer. It’s an indictment on all the batsmen that our leading run scorer after 2 Tests is Ashton Agar. A bloke who batted at number 11! The way the bowlers have performed with the willow we aren’t looking at a team of 6 batsmen, a keeper and 4 bowlers but 7 specialist fielders (not overly good ones mind you) and four allrounders starting at no 8!

One thing that is really pissing me off is the loss of wickets just before or after a break. It shows a lack of concentration and application to the task at hand and a lack of awareness that lunch tastes a lot better when you are still in. Watto is the main culprit he was out the ball after drinks at Trent Bridge and now he was out the over before lunch.

The fielding may have dipped, the batting maybe shithouse but at least the bowling has been servicible – Ryan Harris was impressive with his Michelle in the first innings. Yeah we’ve lost 6 tests in a row but as for this being the worst Australian team ever you clearly didn’t see the 1888 team. They were shocking. I can still remember paying a thrupenny bit to watch Australia get bowled out for 42 and 82 – dark days indeed.

We have found a few weaknesses in the England team. Jimmy Anderson isn’t consistent – he can’t bowl 6 outswingers an over, he keeps accidently slipping in an inswinger. Ian Bell has a real weakness on 109 – he’s been out for that score twice now – we reckon it’s his bogie number – like what 30 is to Watto. Prior can be got out cheaply too when he comes in at 5 for 400. Joe Root is susceptiable to the ramp shot – unfortunately he only seems to pull it out when he’s in the 170s. Hmmm.

The squad traveled down to Brighton today or was it yesterday for the tour match against Sussex but I managed to wangle a leave pass to stay in London. Unfortunately that means I’m doing nets with Watto all week, could be worse I suppose, I could be doing keeping practice with Wadey. Dave Warner will be devastated he’s not going to Brighton. It’s the gay capital of England you know and Warner grew that moustache especially for the weekend at Brighton. Talking of Warner he may have smoked a magnificent 193 for Australia A against South Africa A but it was his dismissal in the last over of the day that concerned me. Also that score had to come with a caveat – Big Show Maxwell also made a century and the Saffers replied with 4/600 with some bloke smoking 200 so the pitch and bowling attack must have been something to behold.

Boof decided to give 6 of the test players a rest from the 3 day match. The guys have been playing so well they deserve a break. Anyway here are the ins and outs:

 

OUT

Clarke (back) Clarke’s back is still sore so Kyly has offered to work on it round the clock in a London hotel room…. just like when the team went to Birmingham for the Champions trophy….

Rogers (omitted) Rogers has handed over the reign’s of ball polishing captain to Steve Smith on a temporary basis. There is a vacuum of international polishing experience and a lack of onfield polishing leadership at present in the Aussie team so I stepped in and decided to step Rogers down from this game so Steve Smith could get some real high class polishing experience in the pressure cooker of a 3 day tour match.

Patto (back) The fast bowlers curse has stuck he’s got another stressie so his tour is over. His attention to grooming and kitbag of styling products will be missed.

Watson (general) Yeah Watto’s body is a bit stiff and sore after Clarkey tried his best to bowl him into the dirt at Lords’ but most of the soreness is Watto’s ego, it took a massive bruising with that LBW review in the first dig – I’m not sure he understands the LBW rule – he was shattered afterwards. Watto is still nursing his ego back to full health by doing a lot of nude batting in front of his hotel mirror, merrily plonking his front foot down the pitch and crisply driving imaginary Jimmy Anderson outswingers through the covers for four and dreaming that the inswinger never comes and smashes into his front pad. He also does a lot of nude squat thrusts in front of the mirror – that’s good for his hammy’s and a good opportunity for him to check out his block and tackle which is good for an ego boost too.

Watto practicing a forward defense in front of the hotel mirror.
Watto practicing his forward defense in front of the hotel mirror.

Actually the real reason Watto didn’t go to Brighton is a delicate one. He’s afraid he might get… ahem how can I put this….he’s afraid his dashing good looks might get him undue amounts of attention from the same sex, something he is very uncomfortable with. He’s concerned that one or two of his numerous previous nude photo shoots have made him a bit of a gay icon and if he needs to change his shirt at a drinks break or something, you know get around shirtless for a while like players so often do in cricket, that a lot of unwanted attention may come his way being in Brighton

Fielding training is best done shirtless according to Watto
What won’t be seen in Brighton: Fielding training is best done shirtless according to Watto

He’s a happily married father of one you know. He doesn’t want any rumours to the contrary getting around. He’s still dealing with the fall out from the story that he and Brett Lee shared a single room after Watto “saw a ghost” in his room on the 2005 Ashes tour. Yeah lots of ghosts at Hotel Ibis. Anyway Watto is steering well clear of Brighton and all it might entail. Instead he’ll spend the week in London – he’s booked into a nice place in Soho.

I'm a happily married man in a pink shirt
I’m a happily married man in a pink shirt, OK

So Watto and I will be doing throwdowns in the nets all week. I’ve tried to explain to Divvers that they have things called bowling machines these days so I don’t have to throw my arm out giving Watto the 150-200 balls he should be facing in a test innings. But we all know Watto will only last about 40 balls so my shoulder should be fine to run the technical fielding drills I do on the morning of each test match. I can’t give away my secrets except to say the fielding drills are a lot about me hitting the ball and the guys fielding it.

Haddin (priorities) Hadds has been so flat out organising team bonding events and restaurant bookings for the team we’ve decided to give him a break from the on’field stuff so he can focus on the off field. He had a ripper week in London – organised some of the best events in the history of the Australian cricket team. Not since Bill Lawry instigated the shuffleboard competition on the 8 week boat trip to England in 1964 has there been such a good team building event. The day before the Test we decided not to bother giving the batsmen and extra net session instead Hadds had organised a ‘Race Around London’ competition. He paired up all the boys and sent them on their way on public transport. Starcy and Patto couldn’t see any train track’s anywhere (no one told them they were underground) so gave up on the transport option and instead decided use the Race as a training run. Patto was complaining of a sore back after running on concrete footpaths all day. Hughes and Khwaja got lost on the tube network and in the end one of the Fanatics was able to chaperon them back to the hotel. Hadds probably could have made it a little bit more intellectually challenging – Cowan and Rogers didn’t bother with the Race part and just went to a café and answered all the question in about 10 minutes.

However far and away the best thing Hadds has organised was the karaoke night after the first days play at Lord’s – it was a cracker. Siddle’s rendition of was “Stand by Your Man” Steven Kernaghan style complete with pouring a beer over his head at the end was judged best mainly for his popped collar and shiny pearly whites. The night did get pretty rowdy I must admit particularly when Hughesy, Wadey,Starcy, Watto & Ussie did a Backstreet Boys number in their whites. It was like some of the boys had never been to a pub before. All of us, except Tank Karpinnen who was on the alkalised waters all night, were heroically drunk by the time we rolled into the hotel at 3am – it’s probably why we batted like a bunch of busted arseholes the next day. Hmmm Boof was fine though – I think he’s had a lot of experience playing and watching cricket with a hangover of biblical proportions.

Hughesy, Wadey, Starcy, Watto & Usssie hamit up in their whites as the Back Street Boys on karaoke night
Hughesy, Wadey, Starcy, Watto & Usssie ham it up in their whites as the Back Street Boys on karaoke night

Siddle (rested) – Invers and have decided to rest Siddle from this tour match so they don’t have to rest him from the 3rd Test – like they did against South Africa in Perth.

Ryan Harris (wool) – A couple of the boys thought it would a good idea to play a prank on Bung. As he’s so injury prone they thought they’d wrap him up, well wrap up his most important parts, in cotton wool as the saying goes so they stuck a heap of cotton buds in his protector. Rhino’s a ‘box stuffer’ as they saying goes – he sticks his protector in just as he’s about to go out to bat. When he went out to bat in the second dig at Lords Ryano just grabbed his protector and shoved it in without looking as he headed out of the dressingroom toward the long room and out onto the ground. Unfortunately the boys forgot Rhino wears 100%nylon cricket whites because he’s allergic to cotton. Rhino had a bit of a reaction to the cotton balls you might say – his testicles had swelled up to the size of a pair of fists. He was in a lot of pain but I’m not sure what hurt more, his enflamed love spuds or when the Doc had to give him the rectal examination, the old thumbsky up bumsky treatment, to check everything was ok. As a precaution Rhino’s not playing this weekend – imagine the chaffing issues – hopefully he’ll be right for the next Test.

Watto models how Harris will be wearing his protector next test.
Also not for Brighton eyes: Watto models how Harris will be wearing his protector next test.

IN

Cowan – Ed’s back as skipper ( which is sort of ironic that his last games in an Australian team could welll be as captain) Hopefully he get’s some runs – and not just to the toilet like at Trent Bridge

Wade – He takes the gloves and I’ve got my fingers crossed it goes as per usual as I decided to hand over Hadds role as fielding captain to Matty. I told him it was part of the Ahes tour tradition that the fielding captain had to pay the fielding coach $50 for every catch the team drops, every missed stumping and every missed run out. He bought it hook line and sinker – should be a nice little earner for me.

Faulkner, Bird & Starc – The Three Amigos as the boys call them because they’re all left armers…except for Bird. Hmmm shit nickname. Anyway Bird will probably play in the next Test.

Ashton Turner – No idea who this bloke is but with Patto gone with stresses and Warner still on safari in Africa, Boof was short a player so rather than call up any of the first class cricketers kicking about the Old Dart, like for example say Simon Katich or Brendan Nash, some kid I’ve never heard of will make his first class debut that’s right his first class debut for an Australian XI. It’s bizzare that’s for sure but that’s the way it is on modern international cricket tours.

Back in the day teams use to stick together and look forward to spending time together in each other’s company and living out of each others pockets for a couple of months or more, but with this current squad it’s better they don’t stay together as they all hate each others guts and Watto has cancer too. Sorry Watto is a cancer.

Me: That’s great that you were able to give me the ins and outs for a tour match after it happened but what about changes to the Test side? You need some awareness of what day it is, Awareness that the next Test starts in two days.

Steve Rixon: Sorry mate, I’ve lost all track of time since I’ve been doing throwdowns with Watto – it’s felt like a year. The Test line up, well, I think Bird will come in and Warner will displace Phil Hughes at number 4 – the team needs someone who can get into a spat with Matt Prior. Can you put a sneaky $20 on Steve Smith to top score for Australia this test?

Me: Can do mate, enjoy MADchester. And Wade owes you $300.

 

 

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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

2 thoughts on “The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2013 – Chapter 4”

  1. yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Another test another defeat. I have a feeling this is going to be the worst and the most embaracing defeat aussies have faced. But a draw is up next test.

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