The Australian public’s right to select a cricket team
There is a very common saying you might have heard before that states, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
Now I am not here to upset any teachers or sports fanatics but its pertinent to this article that I bust out that oldie, but a goodie.
In cricketing terms it would be more accurate to phrase it like this:
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticise players openly, sometimes blindly and often select their own best XI.”
Having an opinion on the Australian cricket team is not only a birthright in Australia but in my opinion more important than the right to vote.
I’d happily give up my voting rights if I was allowed to have a shot at selecting an Australian team for any match.
Since the modern day ‘fab five’ (Hayden, Langer, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath) retired almost simultaneously, Albion Sports have been pumping out ‘custom made, hand crafted baggy greens’ like never before.
In the 15-year period between 1992 when Shane Warne debuted and 2007, when he retired from Test cricket, Cricket Australia gave out just over 50 baggy greens.
In the five years since, over 30 players have put their hand up to play for Australia at Test level.
On Wednesday, Australia played two games of cricket 8000km apart.
This is not unprecedented but it does show a lack of respect to the T20 game that was played in Brisbane on Wednesday night against an almost full-strength West Indies team.
It seems CA is prepared to de-value these games and stretch the players thinly across different continents.
Gate takings and TV rights deals appear to be the only factor they care about any more.
A very wise “man of the sleeve” once told me “don’t get bitter, get better”, and I am sure he stole it from somewhere.
It’s a motto I try to adhere to.
In the spirit of this I implore the under-siege selectors to come up with some radical selection policies.
Why not open it up to the public to select an Australian XI online?
It could be for the next one off T20 game. We all consider ourselves selectors anyway.
The idea of the public choosing a national XI is not that wild or delusional.
Fantasy sports have become incredibly popular and with the Twitter generation embracing new technologies, they now have high-volume public forums to voices their pleasures or discontent.
Purists will laugh at this notion and say I am living in a fantasy world.
Sounds fair enough, I’ll cop that, even embrace it by holding my own cricket match. I have selected my own teams, so let’s see who turns up.
The match will consist of current players who are highly rated, well-paid, potentially brilliant cricketers yet to consistently live up to the hype generated over the last few summers.
Their opponents are an unlucky bunch of talented men set out for vindication.
HRSC XI (Highly Rated, Swiftly Capped XI)
I am not going to say they haven’t deserved their Test caps, nor am I going to compare talent between eras.
These players all have undoubted gifts and will hopefully fulfil their potential in years to come.
They have been chosen for this fantasy match purely for the rapid rise to stardom they achieved and simultaneous baggy green they collected too early in their careers.
In previous decades Australian cricket has gone through periods of dominance, one that will be hard to reproduce.
In those years, fringe players had to fight and scrounge for a baggy green, some only getting one chance.
I am not saying that some of the past era players haven’t had great careers, they are just the unluckiest cricketers to have played for Australia.
If they were playing in the current times they would have cemented their spots this summer and now be tucking into a lamb saagwala in Chennai waiting to play the first Test against India.
I am looking forward to hosting this game and seeing the talent on show. I expect an evenly fought contest with a close win to the Fringe XI.
Players can ingest, inject or insert whatever they like to gain an edge as neither WADA, ASADA nor Lady Gaga are allowed over the Blue Mountains.
This is an open invite to all the faithful cricketing public. Please drop into the clubhouse, have a neatly cut sandwich and a cold frothy or two.
Most importantly, enjoy the match.
The team lists are as programmed:
Usman Khawaja (NSW)(QLD)
Phil Hughes (SA)
Rob Quiney (VIC)
Tim Paine (TAS) (wk)
Steve Smith (NSW) (c)
Moses Henriques (NSW)
Trent Copeland (NSW)
Xavier Doherty (TAS)
Clint McKay (VIC)
Michael Beer (WA)
Peter George (SA)
Patrick Cummins (NSW) (12th Man)
Phil Jacques (NSW)
Matthew Elliot (VIC)
Bradley Hodge (VIC)
Stuart Law (QLD)
Michael Hussey (WA) (wk)
Darren Lehmann (SA)
Michael Bevan (NSW)
Tom Moody (WA)
Andrew Bichel (QLD)
Stuart Macgill (NSW) (c)
Matthew Nicholson (NSW)
Martin Love (QLD) (12th Man)
Umpires: Dan O’Donoghue (Narromine) and Thierry Albouze (Dubbo)
Match Referee: Nicholas Barnett (Kempsey)
So, Roarers, over to you. Who wins here?