The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2014: Chapter 15 – Part II

Chapter 15

The One Dayers

Australian Squad Selection

Me: Steve, how are the preparations going for the ODI in Perth?

Steve Rixon: Well we’ve brought over the Australia A team. No Clarke, Haddin or Watson and it looked like Bailey wasn’t going to overcome a hip complaint. He was named captain and Mitchy J vice captain of this A team but there was no way we were going to let Johnson actually captain the team. He may have won the Alan Border Medal  on Monday night but he’s a fast bowler, not a captain so we put out an emergency SOS for Hadds to fly over and fill the leadership void. On the AB Medal, what the hell was with that venue? I felt like I was back at my high school graduation, I don’t know why we weren’t seated on tables but it seemed like I was going to have to toast Mitchy J’s victory without a drink. Luckily Boof had smuggled in an esky so we cracked a couple of VBs to celebrate Mitch’s win. You can rely on Boof to always have an esky with some cold ones handy when it’s needed.

Anyway Bailey passed a fitness test today so he’ll skipper the side and Hadds can have that well deserved rest. I was actually disappointed that Hadds wasn’t required as now I’m stuck working with that arrogant little Tassie turd, Matthew Wade. Thank goodness their’s only 2 one dayers left but unfortunately he’s also in the T20 squad so I’ll have to work with him for 5 games. Sigh – 12 days of Wade.

Talking about the T20 squad, what the NSP is going on? Who is this James Muirhead? I had to Google him to find out who he even played for. Seems he’s a professional tour match player, he’s played against England in 3 tour matches this summer but only played two T20 matches for the Melbourne Stars, yet he’s in the T20 squad for the games against England! Thanks Invers. Also Mitch Starc hasn’t played a single game of state level cricket this summer yet his in the T20 squad. How about he retunrs form injury by playing some state cricket first before we think about getting him back in the national team. Fark, I blame Invers and Patsy Howard, and seeing as we are in Perth I decided to pay a visit to my old mate, National Selector, John Inveratrity.

I dropped around to Invers house mid afternoon so I had to rouse him from his daily nap. Once  I’d let him wake up and got him a cup of tea and his slippers I gave him a grilling.

This man selects Australia's national cricket teams
This man selects Australia’s national cricket teams

Rixon: Invers what the Muirhead are you and you mates on the Selection Panel doing? Why are you picking all these no names and injured players for the T20s against England?

Invers: Look here my good man Stephen, we’ve got a scheduling issue with the South African Test tour. We’ve got to get the Test players over there whilst we’ve got the T20s against the Poms. We’ve got the World T20 coming up in March which we’ve never won so we needed to have the captain, George Bailey leading the T20 ship. He couldn’t be in two places at once so we’ve prioritised our resources and removed him from Test squad and we’ve thrown in a few no names to the T20 squad give them a taste while the big boys are away. It’s my new phrase to define the summer, ‘Prioritised our resources.’ It’s taken over from last season’s really successful catch phrase of ‘Informed player management’ We’re all pretty chuffed at the NSP with our new phrase we really think it will catch on.

These T20s aren’t going to get much coverage anyway as all the Englsih journo’s have to leave shortly as their visa only allows them to stay for 90 days and the tour is 100 days long – their missing the T20’s. I think the English journo’s should have ‘prioritised thier resources’ and had a few of them skip the first Test so they could cover these T20s.

Patty’s even sent the  Test boys away sorry ‘Prioritised our resources ‘ to get the Test boys to play for different states in the Futures League to get some red ball cricket. Mind you only the first two days of the games then their off to South Africa.

Proiritisation of resources meant only some players could go on the roller coaster. George Bailey was selected as the roller coaster was a metaphor for his summer.
Proiritisation of resources meant only some players could go on the roller coaster. George Bailey was selected as the roller coaster was a metaphor for his summer.

Rixon: Hmmm, I see. I seem to remember this same scheduling issues with the Indain tour last year when we sent the work experience kids over to play Tests, but I thought  guys on the NSP had finally seen the light with the Ashes squads. You’d stopped picking blokes with ‘potential’ and started picking blokes with strong first class records, in good form, who can actually play!

You picked Chris Rogers with 65 First class hundreds and average of 50 and he repaid you with 3 centuries and he was the highest run scorer from both teams across the 10 Tests.

You chucked George Bailey into the test team with his 14 first class hundreds and average of 37 and you got exactly what you’d expect. Just one half century and 183 runs in total.

So why the fuck have you picked Shaun Marsh? His first class record makes Bailey look like Bradman! 8 centuries with an average of 35. He’s 34th on the Sheffield Shield run scorers this season!

Also why do you have a massive hard on for Alex Doolan? The bloke is shit  – 6 tons and an average of 38. He’s possibly less deserving of a call up than Shaun Marsh, if that’s even possible. Yeah I hear these blokes look great when they bat but need I remind you that Chris Rogers and his armguard that hasn’t been washed since the Great Depression, doesn’t look pretty at the batting crease but he’s damn effective.

Personally I’d rather take a gritty, determined,  unwatchable century over some of the great innings Australian Test debutantes seems to have been defined by in recent history. First their was Usman Khawaja’s awe inspiring and changing the face of cricket, 37 and then their was Rob Quiney’s magnificent debut 9. Actually I hope Doolan does make his Test debut and he gets a blob, that’s right it could be the ‘Great Doolan Debut Duck’. It would be such a inglorious achievement that in future, across all levels of cricket, a batsmen who was dismissed for zero would not have got a duck but would have got a Doolan.

I can see the conversations at the local cricket club now:

How did you go today, mate?

Nah, no good, got a Doolan.

Hahahaha that’s shit! Maybe you should give up playing cricket. A Doolan! That’s terrible!

Yeah no need to rub it in, I’m not as bad as Doolan.

Invers: Stephen, Shaun Marsh is in a good space at the moment and made 44 last time he was in South Africa. And need I remind you that Alex Doolan made 161 for Australia A against South Africa last summer.

Steve: Invers blow it out your arse. Every cricket follower in Australia is in a ‘good space’  – we just won the Ashes 5-0! It would be un-Australian if you weren’t in a ‘good space.’ Seeing as we are digging up the past Marcus North made a century last time he played Tests in South Africa and Phil Hughes made two – in the same test! And both of these guys have nearly made more Shield runs than Doolan & Marsh put together this season. North is the top run scorer and Phil Hughes is third, a little bit better placed than Doolan (17th) and Marsh. Are you sure you didn’t mean Mitch Marsh? Even he’s made more runs than Shaun.

John Inverarity tries to find Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh on the Sheffield Shield top run scorers list.
John Inverarity tries to find Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh on the Sheffield Shield top run scorers list.

And one last thing about Doolan, can he just stop this nonsense about having different bats for different formats. It’s pissing me off. Actually I’ve noticed that there is a massive over representation of Tasmanian’s getting Test call ups of late. First their was Ed Cowan, then Jackson Bird, followed by James Faulkner then George Bailey and now it looks like Alex Doolan is destined to get a Baggy Green. It makes me wonder when they hand out the Baggy Tassie’s these days are they just a Baggy Green with the Tassie logo velcored over the top, so it can be ripped off when the inevitable Australian call up comes? Hmmmm. Who’s next Mark Cosgrove? Jordan Silk? Actually I wouldn’t mind seeing Silk getting a call up, he’s actually making runs!

Can we get back to picking blokes with strong domestic records who are in good form rather then picking blokes who look good or who have potential? Need I remind you of how the Indian series turned out last year when we built our team around Moises Henriques and Glen Maxwell opening the batting and bowling.

My only hope is that the Unchangeables live up to their moniker and Doolan and Marsh both get injured – they both have dodgy backs. Also, why are you filling the squad with spare batsmen who are both Number 3s? We’ve finally got Watto settled in at Number 3, a position where he’s useful, what we need is a Number 6 batsmen. Hell, we could do worse than looking at Cameron White.

Invers? Invers? Wake up!!

Me: So did you get any answers about Doolan?

Rixon: No Invers had nodded off somewhere along the line. I think that’s part of the issue of having a semi senile old duffer as a national selector. That and fucked up selections. Anyway I’m off to lock horns with Matty Wade again. Can you put $20 on Wade to drop a catch in Perth?

Me: Can do mate, see ya.

 

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Ross Slater

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