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Growing Crickt Bats in Australia


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OUR CRICKET HERITAGE SMOULDERING IN THE ASHES OF A PREMIER CRICKET FINAL

Posted on 14 April, 2019 at 20:15 Comments comments (0)

There is something I feel I must say on what came to mind at the conclusion of last Sunday’s Carlton v Geelong 1st XI’s Cricket “Final” at the Junction Oval.


Let me paint the picture.


Geelong had batted first and declared 9/409 and in reply Carlton when I arrived were 5/250. I had been following the game on line so I new the Blues Captain Evan Gulbis had taken charge of the game. It was pleasing for me to see him playing and enjoying his cricket.

 

He was in total control in the middle, composed, he was nt getting ou and picking the runs off without risk. As it turned out he was at the crease at the end hitting the winning runs. It was his first Premiership and the Clubs first Flag since 1980/81.

 

As I drove away from the ground I began picturing the celebrations. After all I’d lead the attack for the Blues in their previous flag win.

 

Fond memories came flooding back.

 

We’d played that final at the Albert Cricket Ground just up the road and the “Albert” as it’s affectionately known, Is a real cricket ground. With wonderful cricketing ambience, charm and tradition. I swear you feel the presence of those who’ve walk its hallowed turf. Yes I remember a time when I stood at the end of my bowling mark to start play, new ball in hand, three slips, a gully, short leg it’s an emotional yet inspirational feeling. Gee! How I miss playing the game.

 

And then I thought what a tragedy that we had been sitting at the Junction Oval and even with all the money spent on it... the ground meant nothing to me, it lacked class and cricketing demeanour.

 

I guess if you played for the Saints it might be different but to me it fails to represent our States cricketing heritage.

 

In truth I have always been suspicious of those who made the decision to spend money on this ground. It smells to much of a St Kilda past player involvement, a conflict of influence. I wonder if other Clubs feel the same way or if our games representatives (Delegates) had been asking questions about this decision.

 

In any case, I began asking myself... what has Victorian Cricket become? I have been critical and have voiced my opinions and changes are being made... but all to slowly. "Cricket House" is over populated and cricket in our State is not benefitting... hasn't for a lobg time.

 

For this competition was once most prestigious competition in our Land and somehow it has been reduced to the insulting standard known as “Community Cricket”.

 

Who is responsible for this injustice and who is to blame for demeaning our cricket?

 

When Carlton last won the Premiership the competition it was known as VCA’s District 1st XI Final and Australian Test Cricketer Keith Stackpole was one of the Captains. Our opponents were Richmond Cricket Club lead by Australian Test Captain Graham Yallop and both sides boasted other home grown Test and First Class cricketers.

 

Watching on last Sunday, it was obvious those on the field of play were well prepared. They were proud to be out there battling it out, they were fit athletic men’s and as a former player I was proud of them.

 

And yet why is competition not recognised as elite?

 

How is this competition not our States best... is there any other cricket played in Victoria better?

 

No there isn’t, nothing compares!

 

Let’s consider this... The birth of District Cricket can be traced back to the early 1800’s from there the players past and present formed an Association that became the Victorian Cricket Association. The Cricketers of that time put plans in place for the game.

 

These men had great foresight in wanting to nurture, pass on and uphold traditions. They were honouring those who played and those of future generations... the records prove this!

 

So why are the traditions of the past no longer valued and why undermine the honour of those before us?

 

More importantly there must be those within the game’s administration who believed they are above those of us who have been there and done that in the game to make decisions to change things. To take away the things we cherish, the history so important for those who aspire to emulate the feats of the champions before us?

 

Wake up Cricketers, there are those within the administration of the game (Not only in Victoria) who fail to appreciate it. The game has or is electing or appointing personnel seeking personal status rather wanting to guard the status quo.

 

Those unable to achieve on the field and fear of those who’ve succeeded in the game. Those frightened others know more and might expose them. How else can you explain the dismantling and downgrading of our Cricket... it has happened because we’ve appointed unworthy unqualified personnel to run the game. They dishonour those worthy and have failed all before them.

 

And it’s not just our beloved District Competition they’ve dismantled, it is the coaching and pathway structures that did make our State Cricket the best in the Nation.

 

You only need to look closely at the two talented Teams fighting it out last weekend. Here was evidence that a great cricketing structure existed... two home grown 1st Class Cricketers leading their perspective clubs.

 

Tim Ludeman Captain Coach of Geelong and Evan Gulbis... both Carlton home grown cricketers.

 

Both men worthy of representing our State with teams mates who deserve every opportunity cricket in this State can provide and yet no one seems to understand this.

 

And each Club worthy of being the winner of Victoria’s elite cricket competition, “District Cricket”, but never in my mind should it be a lowly “Community Cricket Competition”, we can find that type of cricket else where.

TO THE CRICKET GROUND IN THE SKY

Posted on 10 April, 2019 at 4:15 Comments comments (1)

For the past 30 years I have regularly contacted my cricketing mate Jack Houldsworth. Our discussions about family of course and always the Ashes and with the next on our doorsteps, I had been trying to get Jack and his daughters views, so keenly they rub my nose into any Australian defeat.


Unfortunately for the past couples of months my efforts have been in vain because Jack has been poorly.

 

And then last Sunday I opened an email from Annette (Jack’s daughter) informing me that her father had passed away earlier that day. She was worried I might hear it second hand. I felt useless so far away and unable to provide any comfort...the Houldsworth’s were family to me.

 

I first met Jack at his Blackburn Tax Office in Lancashire.

 

In those days Blackburn was the heart and sole of a Cricket League famed by the quality of its paid men, “Test Cricketers hard competitive Professionals and Jack, an amateur from the Church Oswaldtwistle Cricket Club had played and succeed against the best of them. I reckon he would have been 19 when he played 1st team cricket... the year of my birth.

 

When I arrived in England to play as a Professional in Lancashire League, It was a dream come true and I wanted to learn everything about its history, traditions, the clubs, the grounds and the cricketers. Jack was the man I could learn from. He had played against, so many all my childhood heroes. He was the man I went looking for.

 

Over the years to come I would sit for hours listening to Jack talk of these Test greats for he’d played with against or had seen them all... Walcott, Weekes, Hall, Griffith, Simpson, Stackpole, Butcher, Nurse, Cowper, Chappell, Hawke, and the list went on to my time in the game playing against and with Jack. The Professionals we were up against were the likes of Holding, Mudassar Nazar, Mohsin Khan, Lillee, Hookes, Armanath, Kapil Dev, De Silva, Richards V., Lawson and Border.

 

This was they Houldsworth era (1955 and 1987) and they were the golden years for Lancashire League. To be appointed a Professional was an honour and each and every one of us knew it and have taken away fabulous memories. One of mine was being appointed Church Pro in 1985.

 

Taking the field with Jack was as enjoyable and important to me as it was when I took the field with my father for the Heathmont Cricket Club.

 

Jack played over 500 League/Cup games and captured 1200+ wickets during a Stella career.

 

Monday mornings at Jack’s Office became a regular thing. Usually there were three of us, Brendan McArdle Jack and myself. We’d barge into the Inspectors Office... and he’d order his staff to bring cups of Tea and biscuits, he loved it, It was summertime and many enthusiastically joined in the commotion... you can imagine the topic of our conversation and it never changed over the years, Cricket Football and Cricket again.

 

I remember the time when Church was to decide on whether I would be re signed. I hadn’t had a great season and would have liked another season to make amends. It was Jacks job to inform me I hadn’t... I said why wasn’t I re signed Jack? “You didn’t take enough wickets” was his swift reply. How many wickets should I have taken? “100” Shit Jack I had a 100 dropped catches don’t they count?” No! You are the Pro, you should have caught them yourself”.

 

He was always honest and I respected him more for it. The next thing he said was, “How would you like a summer in Sth Africa, I’ve recommended you for a job?” And off I went.

 

I remember fondly sitting with Jack at Bacup, he reckoned God had left his shovel on moors overlooking the ground. It was freezing cold that day, “Long John weather” and Jack nudged me... “You know there’s bears up there too”. “where?” “Up there on’t moors!” “Bull Shit Jack, concentrate on the game!”

 

He was dry, not out spoken and lived for the game... as the years went by the more he told me he missed playing... “We all do Jack” I would say. “I bet there is not one of us we played with or against who wouldn’t, so you’re not on your Pat Malone mate”.

 

To the family Jack loved and was so proud of... Annette, Bethany, Phillip and to his beloved Club Church and the entire Lancashire Cricket Community please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss... he gave the game his all to the very last.

 

RIP Jack, you’ve gone to play cricket on the cricket ground in the sky... and they say it slopes away from the club rooms, just the way you like it.

 

Ian Callen

 

Grass Roots Cricket Concerns

Posted on 15 February, 2019 at 23:35 Comments comments (0)

You might remember the scandalous Cricket Australia (CA) pay dispute where highly paid executives and Board Room Directors, shamefully used Grass Roots Cricket as a pretence to reduce player payments. It turns out however, that it is the top players who are more concerned about the game and that is the way it has been since the early 1840’s?

In truth it is the “best of the best” the top guns who bring in the big dollars for the game and development whilst executives secretly plot to remove the responsibilities from the State bodies elected by players and past playing members all over Australia.

An example of this came to our attention just last week when the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) representing the players announced that it will be providing $30 million to Grass Roots Cricket Clubs from their payments, but wait for it… in conjunction with CA.

Oh scoff & splutter!! I nearly spilt my coffee… who earns that money?

Thanks to the players… Clubs can now apply for $2500 grants through the ACA website and it is a terrific gesture but was it necessary… where is the rest of the money earned by the players? Has it been handed over to the State Association in order to distribute it to Grass Roots Cricket to produce the type of talent the game needs to attract future dividends?

But it raises the question… what exactly is it that CA do?

I expect them to be responsible for International Affairs reporting back to players and past playing members, organizing International and national fixtures, negotiating TV rights, National Teams and collecting the money generated by the best of the best players… and that is all they should be doing.

From the pot of money collected, CA expenses should be paid and the remainder of the very substantial financial wind fall should go to development of the game as determined by each State Association.

I can see this $30 mil being pissed against the wall.

Remember those who participated in CA’s Milo cricket throughout Australia where Parents paid $60 to register their child’s interest in the hope they might learn cricket skills. Apart from the Milo spectacle put on during the lunch break of Test matches it was a disgraceful failure... a bloody embarrassment where the $60 went to CA.

That is CA supporting Grass Roots Cricket while Cricket outside metropolitan areas of Australia is dying!

I guess it’s because I’m from a small country town myself, that the trend alarms me. I began my cricket in Yarck… Yeah I know! "Where the farck is Yarck?"

Yarck is a farming community situated on the Maroondah Hwy which runs north beside the eastern face of Strathbogie Range 14 miles north of Yea and 9 miles from Alexandra to the South East.

Yarck C.C. played in the Alexandra District Cricket Association against Eildon, Marysville, Thornton, three Alexandra teams and Taggerty… but that was many years ago, today the entire Region struggles to field a cricket team.

Just over the range from Yarck to the North West is Euroa where Australian fast bowler Mervyn Hughes was born to play. Euroa made up the Euroa District Cricket Association and further to the north-west between Shepparton and Echuca where the Goulburn meets the Murray River... Australian Test players Matthew Elliott and Jim Higgs learned their cricket in the Kyabram District Cricket Association... they too are extinct.

These are just two of the many Cricket Associations from outside the Metro area all over the country that have folded and in my opinion; nothing of any real consequence has ever been done to solve the problem associated with dwindling numbers. Many reasons have been put forward but nothing to address the issues that might rejuvenate interest or enthusiasm… just lip service.

There are other reasons why am I so concerned about the money going to Grass Roots Clubs… it is because Cricket Clubs these days are all about paying players to bolster the clubs senior side in order to win trophies. In real terms these players have had their chance to advance in the game and are only interested in themselves and what they can get from the game.

Pay Players or investment in junior infrastructure… what should your club do?

"Grass Roots Cricket" in any sense of the phrase is not Senior Grade Cricket and it’s not "Community Cricket", it is those who’ve been attracted to the game in attempt to emulate their idols.

This money offered by the games top players has been done with all the best intentions and should be applied to coaching structures for the grass roots cricket… the children starting out in the game. Skill stations set up about the ground were the kids rotate and participate in drills that will see them develop technique and the confidence to execute the disciplines of the game. Where they learn of its history and traditions handed down by those they wish to emulate… because someday these children will be handing it down to others when their time comes.

Children taught properly learn quickly and progress to competition levels where they should be given every encouragement created by the opportunity of advancement... by producing accomplished cricketers they will have greater confidence and enthusiasm for the game as they progress to higher levels reducing the need for patch up coaching.

I have no doubt this is the best way forward for cricket anywhere. Paying players in an attempt to win medals means nothing compared to the reward of having a youngster representing your club on a Test Arena.

If you were like me you’d remember your time as a child... eagerly wait for his father to come home to bowl to him in the back yard or out in the street. Yes! I like you dreamed of the day I would have the skill to play Test cricket and fortunately I had someone who encouraged and coached me at an early age.

The game has been neglected and development programs have been so out of place that participation numbers have plummeted and this is a stat that belongs to those who voted CA into a position where they’ve been able to dismantle the Governance structures that were not broken.

The Cupboard is Bare

Posted on 14 September, 2018 at 3:30 Comments comments (0)


First of all I don't get paid to comment and I certainly do not rely on Cricket Australia (CA) or any organization associated to them for income... so I am not affraid to say it as I see it... therefore you wont see me sucking up for favour as we see in the media. The only thing I get from Cricket is my 200 club membership. It was something I earned as a player and coach and I am proud of that.


I also wish every Australian Cricketer success and don't be mistaken... I want our players to do well, now and into the future. But most importantly I want cricket in Australia to do well and in my opinion this can only happen if the game is governed by cricketers elected by cricketers with experience in the game... those who work with our great volunteers. 


Just look at the situation the Australian Selectors confronted recently... it seems they opened the door of the High Performance Managers office at CA, walked to his cupboard marked "Players ready for Test Cricket" and found it almost bare... for if we are true to ourselves, how else can we describe the 15 man squad to play two Tests against Pakistan in the U.A.E. in November.


There is no doubt in my mind that our high performance strategies and development pathways are failing... we have nothing at all to fall back on as we have found with Warner and Smith disqualified. Our Australian Test Cricket Team named by Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns has five uncapped players and only two batsmen averaging better than 40. Usman Khawaja (Averaging 42) has 6 Test centuries and Captain Tim Payne (40.82) who has not yet reached triple figures at that level

 

They find themselves relying so heavily on Shaun Marsh (37.60) with 9 Test hundreds and those still trying to cement places... Matthew Renshaw (33.47) who still clingings to a maiden Test century was selected in favour of two time century maker Peter Handscomb. Next best and this really does put Australian Cricket Standards into perspective... statistically Ashton Agar (32.50) who dramatically fell short of a début century at Nottingham four years ago, slots in above two time century maker Mitch Marsh (27.85).

 

There is no doubt that Mitch is the big improver... lets hope he'll be a player of the future and can find someone to bat with and that all the batting stars "Align" so that we are able to out play Pakistan at the crease because our reinforcements... Aaron Finch, Marnus Labuschange and Travis Head, average less than 40 in first class cricket and if we are truly honest... this means that they barely qualify for State selection.


What has happened to the game that was left for us cricketers to nurture. Somehow the responsibility we "Cricketers" inherieted... vanished? 

 

How is it that we now Selectors  and Coaches sending a messages to a player that does not apply to others... for those chosen above Glen Maxwell have not been as successful as he. Do you know Maxwell averages above 40 in First Class Cricket compared to those selected above him and has scored as many hundreds with less opportunities in some instances.

 

Ask yourself this question... Does it seem the game is scraping the bottom of the barrel?


With Hazlewood, Patterson and Cummins injured, it seems like Treveor Hohns resorted to a lucky dip... he dragged out Brendan Doggett from Queensland who has taken 32 wickets in 9 games of First Class Cricket and team mate Michael Neser who at least has captured 98 First Class Cricket scalps... is that as good as it gets?


The saving grace is the 699 Test wickets Starc Siddle and Lyon share between them.


At least that is something to work with and I give them credit for that given the situation.. it will allow Starc to be used in short spells, Siddle to do the grunt work... which provides Payne the opportunity to interchange Siddle and Marsh with Lyon while the ball is holding shape. Then to mix it up with the left arm orthodox of either Holland or Argar... both with Test experience. This could work but as I said... all the cricketing stars in the southern hemisphere will have to align for Australia to finish ahead of Pakistan.

 

To find our cricket in this situation...  does not say alot about the state of Australian Cricket under CA governance or its cast of thousands which include a High Performance Manager, Cricket Development Heads and its "Centre of Excellence" for that matter. They have all taken credit for past glory.

 

The game has disintegrated under current Policies and it does not matter how many coaching level certificates are certified... if players are not coming through the system with proper technique or thought process, all that can be done is "Patch up Coaching".


Game Development has been on the wrong path for years... I doubt they could recognize "Grass Roots Cricket" if they fell over it and sadly this reflects badly on good coaching efforts around the country.

 

In the Players Best Interest and Welfare

Posted on 9 September, 2018 at 22:40 Comments comments (0)

from Callen Crickets Face Book 

I read in the Australian Newspaper that former Australian Captain and Cricket Australia (CA) Director Mark Taylor had defended his CEO James Sutherland over his handling of the “Ball Tampering” incident on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday Show last week.

 

The Australian Newspaper quoted Taylor as saying, “Sutherland straight away wakes up Sunday morning to the Ball Tampering story, he knows it’s going to be big. Straight away he’s on the phone to everybody including me... to get us all together to discuss the next steps”.

 

The paper says that he went on to say that once Iain Roy, head of integrity and Patrick Howard ( High Performance) were on the first available flight to South Africa... within 80 hours Sutherland had sorted all the CA Board Members out and had spoken to all players having flown to South Africa himself.

 

The article also quoted Taylor as having said his CEO’s focus was on player welfare at all times... as it should have been and that his mission was to uncover the facts... not what people assumed, not what people were putting out on Social Media, to find out the facts so we (The Board I assume) could deal with it.


The first thing that struck me about Taylor’s comments was that it was all a bit late as players had already admitted live to the world that they’d cheated.

 

I must admit, Sutherland certainly jumped into action quicker than he did during the Pay dispute.. where was Taylor?.


But how many “On Lookers” like me could be convinced that the Sutherland’s focus or that of his Board for that matter... would ever have been on the players and their welfare given their attitude during the pay dispute or for the men’s game around this country, rather than damage control.

 

And are we expected to believe not one CA Board Members was watching the Test live as the Ball Tampering incident played out. Or that Team management weren’t on the phone ringing Sutherlands phone off the wall as he slept through it all.

 

Did Taylor sleep through the incident as well... he slept through the pay dispute?

  

I doubt we’ll ever get to the real truth of the matter... but If Taylor and his Board expect us to swallow their message that only 3 players are responsible for this incident they’re kidding themselves.

 

What is the first thing anyone does who’s been handed a ball to complete an over (in any level of cricket)?

 

He checks state or condition of the ball.

 

What about a strike bowler... wouldn’t he be checking the condition of the ball each time he returned to the top of his run?

 

7 April 2018 18:29

The Ball Tampering Incident

Posted on 9 September, 2018 at 22:20 Comments comments (0)

From face book at the time;

A Cricketer plays for the team and through his on field contribution earns the respect of his peers. At least that is the way it was once, but not anymore.


The modern game of cricket has just provided us with an example of what it has become and surely you are as shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by it all as I am.

 

On display to the world was our most highly decorated Sporting team executing the most dishonourable act imaginable. Our Australian Cricketers were tampering with the sacred cricket ball in an attempt to gain an advantage and it all unfolded live on TV, day 3 of the 3rd Test at Cape Town South Africa.

 

How could this be happening I thought?

 

Social Media response was immediate and cruel. It also proved Australian Cricket has few real friends or respect and that our Cricket Culture or image is far from liked. The world audience were happily tarnishing the brand with glee forgetting their own misdemeanours.

 

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have received their punishment ban but it is only one part of the issue facing Australian Cricket.

 

I think those handing out the punishment, should be handing in resignations themselves. Not knowing what was going on in that dressing room is not an excuse... it’s a dereliction of duty and it all starts at the top. When the series is done and dusted further changes must be made and here is why!

 

As a past player who has maintained active involvement in the game... I support the idea that punishment should handed down but there should also be a clear is message sent to the other Test playing nations; get your own affairs in order because Australian Cricketers do not accept double standards.

 

Unfortunately this message cannot be sent... because those of us Cricketers who have nurtured and honoured the game so it can be handed it down with all its history and traditions are not represented at the administration level.

 

The sad truth of the matter is that we cannot even vote for those we would like to have representing the game. An investigation into this needs to be undertaken now by the real owners of the game and affiliates.

 

Once upon a time the game was run by its cricketers... those who’d played and performed at a reasonable level. Those respected and who repaid the game over and over again as a volunteer or as a coach... this is how we once inspired the next generation to set the standard.

 

The events in South Africa are not the fault of past Cricketers because Modern day Officials have made certain we have no involvement. This means Cricket has lost its conscience, along with the respect of the club culture and the affiliates. Today the administrators of the game believe the infrastructure that surrounds them belongs to them, not the game.

 

I feel nauseous when James Sutherland uses the words “Cricket Family”. What a joke!

 

Cricketers once steered the game and they relied on other cricketers to be elected into officialdom to carry on upholding the values and traditions we hand down to them.

 

Cricketers have always set out governance procedures. It was first set out in the Articles of Association... until secret back room groups undermined it all... first by altering a word here or a phrase there and not so long ago either.

 

All done in an attempt to keep past players and volunteers out.

 

Today the responsibility that past and present players had to guide and foster the games honoured traditions and principles have became a thing of the past and they have been replaced by a privileged few. From my experience I believe they lack real passion and respect for the time honoured game.

 

And what is more disturbing to me is that these undeserving officials cannot be removed even when playing such a huge part in creating this modern culture. A culture that is so removed from the game... that those showing any respect for it are ignored.

 

And boy didn’t those Corporate types running and sponsoring the game desert the ship leaving their former champion and Australian Cricket Captain to face the baying media on his return to Australia... just a lonely kid facing the aftermath of a terrible judgemental error, a stupid stupid mistake that could have been prevented had the culture bubble surrounding him been respectful to the game.

 

My thoughts

30 March 2018 11:14

THE GREAT EAST LANCS GRASS COURT AFFAIR

Posted on 9 September, 2018 at 22:15 Comments comments (0)

I found this script today, written by a good friend of mine John Pomfret 35 years ago... I remember the incident well and John captured the moment magnificently. Had another good laugh about it today. For those of you who know Brendan and how competitive Bushy” McArdle and I were against each other... I think you’ll love it; enjoy ��


THE GREAT EAST LANCS GRASS COURT AFFAIR

 

Way back in 1983 during a period known at East Lancs as “Callen’s second year” an incident occurred that was destined to go down in Club legend as the Grass Court Affair.

 

Whilst what follows may employ a certain amount of poetic licence it is basically true as I witnessed it as a hysterical 18 year old. In fact the incident led directly to questions being raised in committee as to whether the cricket professional was actually a member of the Club and entitled to use the facilities.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of those two upstanding Australian gentlemen Ian Callen and Brendan McArdle sanity won out. As a result the Professional is now issued with an honourary membership card and no longer has to tug his forelock and avert his gaze when talking to members of the committee

 

In those far off days of 1983 East Lancs had both a head groundsman (curator) and an assistant so there were the man hours available to provide grass tennis courts directly in front of the pavilion.

 

However on the day in question, whilst there were three courts marked out only one had a net in place. It was also occupied by Messrs Callen and McArdle who were engaged in a fiercely competitive match. Enter four tennis members wanting to play who I’ll call Clarence, Daphne, Roger and Penelope for no other reason than the names remind me of the people that they were.

 

This is what happened next!

 

Daphne: I say Clarence.

 

Clarence: What is it old girl?

 

Daphne: There’s someone on our court.

 

Roger: Pretty rough looking chaps if you ask me.

 

Penelope: Rough darling? I’d rather say rugged.

 

Roger: Never you mind rugged, I haven’t forgotten last week.

 

Clarence: Now now you two don’t fall out over old news, Penelope’s already

explained that it was all a bit of a misunderstanding with the Vicar and

his bicycle pump.

 

Daphne: Hear hear.

 

Roger: You weren’t even there.

 

Daphne: (Dreamily) No I wasn’t.

 

Clarence: Steady on, this isn’t going to get our court back.

 

Penelope: (Eagerly) I’ll go and have a word.

Roger: You’ll do no such thing! Clarence will.

 

Clarence: Er, um are you sure? I mean look at the size of the forearms on that

one.

 

Daphne: Oh do get on Clarence, Penny’s right about you being all mouth and no

action.

 

Clarence: (Approaching the court slowly) I say, you chaps there, what are you

doing?

 

Ian: G’day mate. We’re playing tennis.

 

Clarence: (returning to the others) They say they’re playing tennis.

 

Roger: Oh for goodness sake Clarence old man we can see that! Ask them why

they are on our court.

 

(Clarence approaches the court again)

 

Brendan: Look out mate, the soppy Pom’s back.

 

Ian: (to Clarence) What is it mate? We’re trying to finish a game here.

 

Clarence: (grandly) I’m afraid that will not be possible my man, this is our court

and we want to play.

 

Ian: Well we got here first mate and set the bloody net up so you’ll just have to

wait.

 

Clarence: You misunderstand me. We are the top four players at this club, we

never wait.

 

Brendan: Today you do.

 

Clarence: (gaining some ill advised bravery) Who are you chaps anyway? I

haven’t seen you before and I’ll wager you’re not even members.

 

Brendan: Wager all you like sport, this is Ian Callen he’s the Pro here.

 

Clarence: The what? (to himself) I thought that Daphne was the only old pro

around these parts.

 

Brendan: The cricket professional, all the way from Australia.

 

Clarence: (shocked) Australia! You mean he’s Australian?

 

Brendan: We both are you daft Pom, now why don’t you bugger off for some

cucumber sandwiches and let us get on with our game?

 

Clarence: You haven’t heard the last of this.

 

Brendan: (muttering to Ian) Do you think he could talk chewing a tennis ball?

 

Ian: Leave it mate, I’ve got to put up with these people till September. Let’s just

get on with the game.

 

(They continue as Clarence returns to his friends)

 

Roger: Well what did they say? They don’t appear to be leaving.

 

Clarence: (pointing at Brendan) That one there in the blue shorts says that the

other one is Ian Callen the Australian cricket professional.

 

Penelope: I thought that all Australians were criminals and sheep worriers.

 

Daphne: They can worry me anytime.

 

Roger: Daphne please!

 

Clarence: (putting on a brave face) I told them that we are the top four players in

the club and that we never wait but it didn’t do any good.

 

Daphne: We’re the only four players in the club.

 

Clarence: Never mind that now, what are we going to do?

 

Roger: (slapping his forehead) You said it yourself. The one in the blue shorts.

 

Clarence: What do you mean?

 

Roger: I mean that he’s breaking the all whites rule. I’ll have him.

 

Daphne: (to herself) not before me you won’t.

 

Roger: (walks confidently towards the court and calls to Brendan) Hey there

chummy, just a moment.

 

Brendan: (just about to receive serve) What now?

 

Roger: I’m awfully sorry, but you can’t play in those shorts.

 

Brendan: Hold the serve Ian, this bloke’s just asked me to take off my strides.

Jeez mate, I thought you had a dress code here?

 

Daphne & Penelope: (both clapping their hands) Oh well done Roger!

 

Clarence: Ladies really.

 

Ian: (quietly to Roger) Look mate this is match point, what say you run along and

tell your friends that we’ll be finished in a minute. Unless of course you want

a tennis racquet inserting where the sun don’t shine!

 

Brendan: Head first!

Roger: (departing quickly) Righty-ho chaps.

 

Clarence: Well?

 

Roger: I gave them a stern talking to and told them that this is their last point.

 

Daphne: Oh how masterful.

 

Penelope: (snorts with derision) I don’t think.

 

Clarence: Ok then, let’s go inside and get ready.

 

(They go inside just as Ian and Brendan finish their match)

 

Ian: Look mate, I’ve got an Idea to really piss off those stuffed shirts.

 

Brendan: How do you mean?

 

Ian: The curator’s left the roller out on the edge of the pitch and it’s going in the middle of the court. If they can start it they can move it.

 

Brendan: Good on you mate but it’ll cause some trouble.

 

Ian: It’ll be worth it though.

 

(Ten minutes later Clarence, Penelope, Daphne and Roger emerge from the pavilion to find the heavy roller smack bang in the middle of the court to the sound of fading antipodean laughter.)

 

Daphne: (at the top of her voice) CLARENCE! RING THE CHAIRMAN, NOW

21 June 2018 18:50

CRICKET'S SHOW PIECE TO THE WORLD

Posted on 10 January, 2018 at 1:50 Comments comments (0)

"Ashes Cricket" is the sports show piece to the world.

 

The series is a demonstration or if you like, a "Test" not only of character or ability, but commitment, humility, preparation and planning. All in order to maintain a Nations sporting pride.

 

And so the 2017 -2018 Ashes series came to end in Sydney and in the final wash up it was Australia 4 England 0.

 

For the Australian and England Cricket teams every aspect of the game was laid bare and scrutinised but for the respective Nations their "Cricket" can only be judge by the last performance.

 

I don't know how my many friends in the UK feel about it all... perhaps they feel their team lacked discipline and respect. The Ben Stokes incident did not help the cause and certainly disrupted tour preparations.

 

I suppose that might be used as an excuse for some but in my mind, the Tourists underestimated the task before them and certainly the Australian bowling attack. There also seemed to be a lack of support for Joe Root, an inexperienced leader without his deputy. Had this been anticipated... it didn't look that way because Joe was far from his best and always under pressure.

 

To his credit the Captain battled on without retreat from the Sun nor heat nor Pat Cummins.

 

As I watched, I wondered if England's brains trust ever thought Pat would last the series.

 

I know I had my concerns but Pat just got better with every Test match. In the end his stamina strength and hunger for wickets astounded me. The big quick played the entire series... ending it in Sydney with an 8 wicket haul. This performance proving beyond doubt that all batsmen require sound technique when confronting fast short pitched bowling.

 

Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc with Lyon in support were relentless... in comparison to the English attack. With Stuart Broad, under a cloud before the series he went missing when it counted leaving Anderson, Woakes and Overton carrying the burden.

 

I thought Anderson maintained good lines but without any support... the Australians only had to see him off.

 

Woakes look good at times, but refused to work his way about the crease and not once did he get close enough to the stumps to take advantage of his natural gift... the leg cutter. With such a delivery up his sleeve he has the ability to threaten any batting... but unless he's prepared to work the lines this will never happen often enough.

 

Moeen Ali was another great disappointment and seemingly overwhelmed by the Australians and the conditions. I think England could have played Mason Crane much early... it would not have made any difference as it turned out and who knows it might have made him?

 

From an Australian perspective we'd hoped for a series to lift the spirits of "Test Cricket".

 

We needed proof that this format of the game has no comparison to the contests which make up "Test Cricket" and as matches ebbed and flowed the Ashes did not let us down even though it failed to deliver the close fought result we were wanting.

 

It certainly was a terrific appetiser for the Test Cricket that awaits us in South Africa. I will have more to say on this in my next "SportsHounds" contribution.

 

I must congratulate Steve Smith for an outstanding series... his batting is truly Bradman like. I thought Darren Lehmann, David Saker and staff did a terrific job preparing a squad heavily criticised. Especially Tim Paine, Shaun and Mitch Marsh.

 

The selectors were proven right as they were with Khawaja... who's persona at the crease, reminds me very much of David Gower, the great England Left Hander... always relaxed and seemingly doing it with ease.

Boxing Day Test A Disappointment

Posted on 1 January, 2018 at 19:15 Comments comments (0)

So Melbourne's Boxing Day Test ends in a disappointing draw and what a painful 5 days it was for the bowlers. Having watched the first days play I made the prediction that Cook would bat for two days... and he didn't disappoint me. What a humble and modest man he is... a true champions and gentleman of the game, with exceptional concentration skills.


I must say that with the ball barely carrying to the Keeper the bowlers also put in a truly a herculian effort... all plugging away throughout on a very disappointing Test Match Pitch. Special mention must go to Warner and Smith... both leading from the front playing important roles in both innings.


We now look forward to Sydney... and it is shame the series was over before it had reached the two "G's!" The scheduling needs to be looked at by administration, that is for sure.


And so, whilst on the subject of Administration I refer to comments recently made by Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland below:

Yes! Test cricket is in danger I agree, but what is being done about it? We surely cannot blame the Cricketers... or can we?

 

Let me paint a picture for you and if I am off the mark... feel free to tell me. I'll let you make up your own minds.

 

When it come to the administration of the game... Where are all the Cricketers?

 

I think it's a fair question because they are certainly not running the game that's for sure. Otherwise the wickets around the world would be more conducive to good cricket offering an even contest to bat and ball.

 

I suppose I should clarify those who might be a cricketer... in my mind it can only be he or she who has played and performed at a reasonable level.

 

So a cricketer in my mind is someone respected by peers, has gone onto coach and inspire those with youthful ambition. There are some of course, who've gone on and achieved much more.


It is also worth stating that Cricketers never play for themselves, always the team and certainly never at the expense of aspiring youth. A Cricketer will respect and support the club and would never believe it operates for their own personal benefit. And one last thing... a true Cricketer is never a miss field, away from being an negative impact on his/her team mates.


History once proved that Cricketers rely on other cricketers they've elected into officialdom in order to keep the game on course, upholding traditional values,controlling purse strings and of course game develop as set out in various Articles of Association... "Crickets Constitution". Unfortunately this is now a thing of the past... As we've all seen over the past scandalous year.


Today it seems certain that those in power are no longer wanted by the overall majority of cricketers... especially at the grass roots level of "The Game!" And what is more, the incumbent have embedded themselves into office and cannot and will not be removed or replaced.

 

This is a "BS" situation!


A situation where the game is not making decisions on behalf of itself and when you consider the incumbents are telling us Test Cricket is sinking... I am disillusioned and dismayed further. Again I refer to the attached comments by James Sutherland.

 

It seems to me that James and his Board are so full of their own ego's they fail to recognise that it is "They" who are responsible for the state of Test Cricket and the game in general.

 

But for most of 2017 the CEO has been blaming his Cricketers, oblivious to the one real thing destroying the game... the lack of Cricketers involved in running the dam thing... does anyone really think for one moment that a Cricketer would want to produce a poor wicket for its cricketers, especially for Test Matches.


The Perth wicket is a tragic situation and it should not be. The MCG Pitch should be the best in world cricket... and so why isn't it the show piece of "World Cricket Wickets".


So you might ask who's responsible... Guess who, Yes! It is "Cricket Australia" that's who!... And all under the watch of Sutherland and his Board.

 

The MCG wicket once under the control of Cricket Victoria before the rights were sold off to Cricket Australia... the drop in wickets are have an negative impact on the game. But this is also happening everywhere more and more as Test Nation Administrators (Not Cricketers) look to bolster the paid positions they hold.

 

The problem is not just here in Australia... Let us take a look at Australia's last tour of England. History once proves "The Oval" pitch the best batting strip in world cricket. Edgbaston traditionally not far behind, but neither have played to standard in recent tours.

 

I ask the question Why? Is it because Administrators are looking to contrive results?

 

One thing is for sure... it is not the Cricketers... it is those employed by Cricketers to run the game and who now think they own it.

 

Again I think my questions are reasonable and need to be answered... The game has lost Cricketing values during James Sutherland reign and with the introduction of the Corporate High flyers and executives who wilfully turn their backs on unconscionable behaviour and this includes those with the ability to twist and misrepresent conversation, opinions or the information they pass on.

 

I think it all so shameful and I am fed up with those who work the figures to , promote or market the game on guesstimates... using the money belonging to the game, the "Grass roots of cricket" in order to promote or justify their employment.

 

There is a similarity here to the cricket types who for years occupy a position in the team, claiming they they are mentoring youthful aspiration... BS! But "Statistics" can be found on "Mycricket" these days proving conclusively that these types have nothing at all to pass on to anyone but somehow they've infiltrated the system.


Something needs to be done to save not only Test Cricket but the entire game everywhere and the first step is to remove the types failing and abusing it.

 

This is all happening at the expense of true leadership... those with the ability to anticipate and recognise issues before they happen. Yes, I believe this is where the game is at right now... and somehow the Cricketers have to fix it.

The Game of Cricket Moving Forward

Posted on 10 December, 2017 at 17:40 Comments comments (0)

Women's Cricket (WC) is up and running around the world and I am told it is in a financially sustainable situation.

This being the case, I believe it needs to be handed over to the Ladies to develop and nurture from this point on.

It is also time for the game to be handed over to its rightful shareholders around the world. In Australia it is the District Clubs and Associates and they must take control of our State Associations and reinstate their authority over the dictatorship that has become Cricket Australia (CA)... the game must administer itself the way it was established and originally set up or it will be owned by money and influence moving forward as it seems it already is.

As I have said many times a thorough review of those employed in cricket throughout Australia needs to be undertaken... the numbers employed grossly overlap the pre existing duties and responsibilities that naturally evolve within the game. The financial saving from this, better applied to grass roots cricket... after all this is where the responsibility of game development truly lies.

Yes! Administrators need to free up positions and employ qualified junior coaches rather than seat warmers. Quality cricket people to assist community clubs develop cricket skills for the boys and girls who are being attracted to the game.

From my experience the game does not need paid administrative workers across regions telling Volunteers what they should be doing... our cricket people are hard workers and are more than capable.

There is something else that needs to be pointed out... for what ever reason a cricketer fails to advanced to District Cricket (I hate the term Premier Cricket) they have missed their chance. But this does not mean they don't have a responsibility to the game.

It is now the time to nurture and provided opportunity for those coming through. The game need not be lost to you! You can now help the next generation by encouraging others.

The game needs to ensure it provides opportunities for cricketers past and present and reward them to take on roles within the community. This is where funds need to be invested.

To provide good coaching programs at the introductory level of the game because every opportunity should be afforded to those the game attracts... otherwise they are being neglected and I say they have for far too long.

Young children soak up everything that is taught to them and in no time at all... it just clicks for them. I have witnessed this as a coach. The excitement is contagious and in no time they are executing skills correctly, with confidence, technique and style.

Sure their nurturing takes patience, requires reinforcement and encouragement but once the child picks it up it stays with them forever, alleviating the need for corrective coaching at competition levels.

A further recommendation.. the outstanding graduates of this type of program should be employed (paid) as assistants to help advanced other participants in the junior development programs within the club. This promotes self esteem and confidence instilling cricketing values and admiration for those moving through the pathway system.

I believe cricket participation numbers will increase on the back of organised and structured development programs where families can witness the advances being made by their children and others generating greater community support and involvement.

I believe a greater number of talented Cricketers (boys & girls) will emerge from such initiatives... who knows we may even increase playing numbers across the country!

I also would encourage greater investment into junior cricket regional competition with sponsorship for representatives and T20 knockout comp prior to Big Bash games in each state with advancement to a national championship.

I would also like to see the best of the youngsters competing at an international level replacing under 17 and under 19 competition who by now should excelling at district crickets levels against hard nosed cricketers.



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