Bill Lawry has issued a press release today, delivered to news offices via carrier pigeon, signalling his intent to replace Ricky Ponting in the Australian Test line-up for the upcoming Ashes series.
The former Australian Test captain recently retired from his long held post on the Channel Nine commentary team without citing any specific reasons.
When Shane Warne announced his intentions to return to the Test arena the following day, rumours began to circulate that Lawry’s motivation for retirement may be comeback related.
“Shane Warne. The hero. I love him. I want to boof him. Get him up here,” said Lawry of Warne.
“He’s a cricketing deity Shane Warne. I worship him and so do thousands of people around the world; not just Victorians.
“There are some people who believe that his poo is actually pure white, Shane Warne. It has no smell whatsoever and I can believe it.”
When quizzed on whether Warne’s desire to return to Test cricket was the catalyst for his decision, Lawry replied, “Well of course it bloody was!”
“Shane was world famous for his distinct lack of fitness. He’s fitter now than when he was playing. I was known for being ‘a corpse with pads on’. I’m more corpse-like than ever! I reckon I could play well past my funeral.”
Former co-commentator and teammate Ian Chappell supported Lawry’s move:
“Well we call him The Phantom. I’m sure he could play well after he’s passed. Don’t expect him to be ‘the ghost who walks’ though,” Chappelli said.
Even if his middle stump is cart-wheeling its way to the boundary, he still won’t walk until the umpire raises his finger. He won’t run either.”
The announcement has caused headaches for Australian selectors, who, with a raft of opening batsmen at their disposal, are struggling to find a specialist number three.
“No I won’t be batting at three,” Lawry stated.
“I’ll be facing the first ball. Shane and I are the type of players you build a team around.
“To be honest, I don’t understand how these blokes find it so hard to pick a side. You pick the best 11 players in the country and if there’s any doubt, you pick a Victorian. It’s not rocket surgery.”
It appears however that Cricket Australia’s gain is Channel Nine’s loss. Bill Lawry’s passionate commentary and legendary stoushes with commentary partner Tony Greig will be remembered by all Australian cricket fans as a defining part of the sport over the past 35 years.
With Greig’s illness keeping him out of the commentary box, it seems unlikely we’ll ever see the two go at it again.
The lack of distinct voices and personalities among the new crop of commentators has left The 12th Man Billy Birmingham (whom I shamelessly plagiarised earlier), scratching his head. In fact, Billy cites this as the cause of his uniquely receding hairline.
No one purveyed tension and excitement quite like Bill Lawry. When the game was on a knife’s edge, you passed the mic to Bill.
His unbridled excitement, epitomised by his wavering voice, is unmatched in cricket commentary.
He can take a lot of credit for the continuing public interest in a sport that has wrangled with its identity over the course of his commentary career, breathing life into Test cricket as well as the shorter forms of the game in their fledgling years.
Despite the horrible treatment cricket served him at the end of his Test career, Lawry’s contribution to the sport since has been iconic and his exuberance will be sorely missed.