Tag Archives: cricket

The Ashes On Ice – Cricket Doesn’t Get Hotter™

So the “leadership group” (I use that term advisedly) of the Australian cricket team has sanctioned premeditated ball-tampering… cheating.

An early prototype of The Ashes On Ice™

Cricket Australia needs an urgent fix. Something to restore the faith of the Australian and global cricket fraternity.

Fear not. I’ve been rummaging around the team kit bag and next to the stained and battered protector, I discovered something that may just save Australian cricket: The Ashes On Ice.

This concept is an absolute jaffa* as Shane Warne says during British TV cricket commentary when he’s pretending to be English. *A jaffa in Australia has a different, orange / chocolatey meaning.

The Ashes On Ice. Just let that sink in.

Imagine the crowd chanting “LILLEE LILLEE” as Dennis Lillee circa 1975 slides to the top of his mark… turns, and comes steaming in from the Nursery End. Gold necklace bouncing…
moustache bristling… ice shredding… that look of unbridled fire towards W.G. Grace who is stoically anticipating a bouncer aimed at his throat. Oh, I didn’t mention the animatronics?

Think about it. Imagine seeing the long-departed Our Don Bradman, Fiery Fred Trueman,
Keith Miller, Richie Benaud and other legends of the game get off the ice and promptly back on it?

I already have boffins working in the shed on the technology where Jeff Thomson would try and knock over Sir Leonard Hutton, Beefy Botham at his prime sledging Victor Trumper who promptly hits him into his own stand at the SCG. Ian Chappell dancing down the pitch to Alec Bedser.
Tony Greig sticking his keys into the ice. The possibilities are endless.

Why ice? Why not.

We can recreate the infamous Bodyline series with those arch-villains Larwood, Jardine and Voce taking on the courageous Aussies.

It doesn’t have to stop at Australia v the old enemy. Imagine the unbeatable West Indies,
with the great Viv Richards just chilling out on the ice. Viv never wore a helmet when he batted,
he wouldn’t need ice skates.

The greats of India, South Africa, Pakistan and New Zealand… all battling it out.
Don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to relive the infamous underarm bowling incident… on ice?
Then there are the streakers…

“Yes, hello… is that Cricket Australia…?”

©Steve Williams 2018

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Richie Benaud – the Voice of Summer

He is being lauded as the “voice of cricket”.

I would go further — to me, Richie Benaud will always be the voice of summer.

I was too young to witness his considerable feats on the pitch, though I remember my first game of club cricket for the formidable under 11/3 side in 1975 was played at Richie Benaud Oval in North Parramatta.

Snapshots of those summers in Australia include the aroma of zinc cream and coconut oil, trying to eat your Splice ice cream before it melted, the backs of your legs sticking to the bench seats in the HR Holden, and the deafening cacophony of cicadas.

But above and beyond all that was the cricket. Playing in the backyard after school (I was always Viv Richards – yes, unAustralian I know), playing Saturday morning, then “Saturday arvo” club cricket — my SS bat was a prized possession, and of course watching the cricket on the telly and listening to Richie.

When Richie raised the microphone there were none of today’s seemingly endless blokey in-jokes and “banter”. Commentary teams of today could definitely do with his eloquence and grace.

I believe it was what Richie didn’t say in his commentary that had the most impact, those dramatic pauses that landed, followed by an insightful, sometimes gently cutting remark, spinning away with that droll and very dry sense of humour.

Richie Benaud was the absolute master of word economy and unlike most commentators, he knew we were seeing in our lounge rooms what he was seeing down the ground, he didn’t need to be constantly speaking, those periods of silence were not “dead air”.

His knowledge of the game and its spirit was incomparable, effortlessly moving from test matches to day / night games, from the SCG to Lord’s and every ground in-between.

I’m loathe to use the cliché “doyen” but…

Vale Richie Benaud. Thanks for those summers.

Words: ©Steve Williams 2015
image: www.joe-digital.com

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Abbott: There is nothing like a Dame (or Sir)

So. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is heading back to the future by dusting off the titles of knights and dames, which were last seen down the back of a lounge in Government House nearly thirty years ago.

Greg Chappell knights a streaker


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tugging his forelock while facing Buckingham Palace, Mr Abbott said the honour would be extended to Australians of “extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit”.

There have been howls of protest from the left-wing-socialist-climate-change-is-real types,
but I for one, am all for it.

My dear Prime Minister, may I be so bold to offer a few suggestions? From the realm of entertainment, Dame Kylie Minogue is a given — for “services” to music and hot pants and Dame Dorothy The Dinosaur (one for the kiddies and / or Wiggles fans) for services to alliteration.

Sir George Lazenby is long overdue — Australia’s only James Bond (and fellow Goulburn boy) would take his rightful place among the other martini shaking and stirring knights Sirs Connery and Moore. What about Dame Lara Bingle for services to… um… there’s gotta be something…

Us Aussies love our sport (and not constructing sentences properly). Dame Evonne Goolagong Cawley is as easy a pick as a simple forehand volley, Sir Newk should get the nod purely for that moustache, and Sir Pat Rafter for services to “sorry mate”.

Cricket tosses up a few juicy full toss choices — Sir Warnie for services to texting and servicing super models, “arise, Sir Boof Lehman” (on bended knee in batting pads) definitely has a ring to it, and Sir Greg Chappell should be rewarded for circumcising streakers with a cricket bat.

Prime Minister, please take my advice rather than anointing the likes of Dame Gina Rinehart
and Sir Alan Jones. Though that would do wonders for the Australian Republic push…

©Steve Williams 2014

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Cricket memories — as summer as cicadas

Officially, summer starts in Australia on December 1, but to me it’s when the first ball is bowled in the first cricket test.

To mark the occasion, here are some of my random childhood cricket memories.

“Don’t rub ’em, count ’em” — Balls of Steel circa 1980

*Watching two blokes carry a polystyrene esky chock-full of beer bottles (KB?) in front of The Hill at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1975, when the arse fell out of it. The beer shattered, they were shattered. The crowd roared, the players laughed.

*Foraging in a box of washing powder (OMO?) to discover a cricket card. That smell has stayed with me for forty years.

*The religious experience of buying a brand new Kookaburra cricket ball. Opening the box, unwrapping the paper, gently taking it out. Earnestly polishing (one side) until you could see your beaming face, and never letting it touch the ground.

*My World Series Cricket t-shirt that I wore until it had to retire hurt.

*Tony Greig walking out to bat wearing a motorbike helmet to much laughter. Later sticking his car keys in the pitch while solemnly discussing the mythical “player comfort level” off the high-tech “weather wall”.

*Getting that first “cherry” on your new cricket bat.

*The body-trembling / mind-numbing nervousness of approaching your favourite cricket player on the fence for an autograph, then the exalted glee as you float away gazing at the scrawled signature. I felt exactly the same way meeting Viv Richards when I was 37.

*Missing seeing a test hat-trick. A day at the cricket with dad, who wanted to leave early because the car park “is a shitfight”. We heard the crowd erupt — three times — from said car park.

*The terror of facing a “rep” fast bowler who started his run-up in the next suburb, and was so fast he had to stop and rest before he actually unleashed the red missile.

*Inventing day / night cricket as a kid in 1977: playing backyard cricket until mum called you in for dinner, then resuming after turning on the single Portaflood light, until mum called “stumps”.

*The voice of Alan McGilvray.

*The “Balls of Steel incident” of 1980. Bowling in a school cricket match, the ball slipped out of my hand and hit the batsmen on the full, in the, er, groinal region. He didn’t flinch. I raced down the pitch “Sorry, mate, are you ok? Good thing you’re wearing a protector.” — “I’m not.”

*Getting into fights for supporting the West Indies instead of Australia (I just preferred the way they played the game). Coruba rum is still a beverage of choice.

*The sound of the stitching of that new Kookaburra cricket ball whizzing past your nose as you missed a hoik over cow corner.

*The image of Dennis Lillee flicking sweat off his brow at the top of his run-up, then that bouncing gold chain as he thundered into bowl.

*Walking into bat, being handed a still-warm protector the just-dismissed batsman had just removed. Talk about player comfort levels.

C’mon Aussie, c’mon…

©Steve Williams 2013

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Shock selection for Asylum Seeker Ashes

Australian cricket’s bold recruitment scheme has proved to be a stunning success.

“Boato” talking to potential bat sponsors today (ABC News)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In what is being seen as a snub to the so-called “Centres of Excellence” and “High Performance Managers”, an asylum seeker arrived on Christmas Island dressed as an Australian cricketer.

This is perfect timing for the upcoming Ashes series.

“Boato” as he was named in the traditional beer-soaked nickname ceremony, identified himself as “a fast bowler” as he stepped off the MV Yeah No Wait kitted-out in nautical quality, high-vis Australian one day cricket gear.

Sources confirm that in gruelling net sessions (strung up fishing nets) on the boat, he was “rather handy” with the delicate late cut, and “not too shabby” with the hoik over cow corner, and managed to obtain reverse swing out of the timber deck when the boat listed badly off Ashmore Reef.

So “Boato” is in fact an all-rounder, which is very timely due to “Watto” being under the proverbial niggling injury cloud or in Australian cricket parlance, “buggered”.

Boato has embraced Australian cricket wholeheartedly — while numerous balls were being fished out of the Indian Ocean, he was seen engrossed in Ricky Ponting’s book, though it is unknown whether he is #TeamPunter or #TeamPup.

Questions are being asked at the highest level as to how Boato and his teammates got through to the Christmas Island keeper, given the left-elbow-very-high-forward-defensive manoeuvres in stopping the swing bowlers and turning back the tweakers. A source claimed Boato slipped through the cracks as the government has not released guidelines concerning soundbite expressions for all-rounders.

Boato will be rushed into the Australian XI and has already signed up for Dancing With This Stars. His signature range of fishing rods and autobiography Boato – In At The Deep End will be released tomorrow.

UPDATE November 12: “Boato” was not announced in Australia’s squad for the First test.
This is obviously a ruse to confuse England.

©Steve Williams 2013

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Great (and not so) moments in Aussie Advertising #453

So I was weighing in on an important social media question the other day about “A man’s most attractive organ”. As you do. My answer was obviously “Wurlitzer or “Hammond”, which then had me thinking about an Australian TV commercial that’s seared into the neural connections of my brain:

Sadly the co-musical and mysterious “Donna” was absent in this one. Can’t remember if she ever appeared with Chris in his organ warehouse.

Australia has produced some television commercial gold. Here are a few other standouts from my misspent youth — obviously watching too much TV:

The hair! The clothes! The dancing! The cinematography! That random woman at the start of the ad! Only the cool people drank Moove. The band Dragon reworked one of their songs for the ad, which sounded like all their other songs. I’m suggesting the bloke standing on the pole and the tree people may have been imbibing something slightly stronger than chocolate milk.

Speaking of beverages:

Yep, the late 1970’s. Rolling ’round the world in a bubble seemed like a pretty good idea. Loved that and all the Coke ads back then. They were ahead of their time — the hobby / sport / stupidity of encasing oneself in a sphere is now called “Zorbing”. Unfortunately it didn’t quite “add life” to two blokes in Russia earlier this year.

Then we had that staple of advertising — pseudo science:

The good professor would terrify the kids into eating chocolate. Mrs Marsh had a somewhat softer approach:

Oooh, it did get in. I wonder if Andrew has dentures now?

High production values you ask? You’re welcome:

Tony became a local politician in Sydney for a few years (combining two of the world’s most trusted occupations), but had a bit of drama concerning planting listening devices in his car dealership. No doubt to hear customers saying how good his ads were.

Don’t think he purchased said devices from here:

“Don’t let your pussy get too thin”… get it? Thaaaaaaaaat’s where you get it.

After slaving away over a hot keyboard, I know what I feel like…

A stirring, patriotic ad, though I always thought it weird there were no crowd shots of euphoric sunburnt types soaking up the amber fluid fuelled victory.

But who gives a rat’s arse? It’s beer, blokes doing blokey things, beer, moustaches, sweat, beer, groins, sport, beer, cricket, beer. F*ck I love bein’ an Aussie, mate.

Have an, er, musical day…

©Steve Williams 2013

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Boy of Summer

Having spent the last eight years living in a country with only one season — ok, one and a bit at a stretch — it was a refreshing and welcome assault on the senses to recently spend two weeks back in a Sydney summer.

Balmoral Beach sky the colour of ” ” (via iPhone)

I always find it fascinating how sights, sounds and smells can conjure up images in your mind, like one of those old clattering film projectors you had in school several lifetimes ago. That was when you felt totally trapped in a sweaty, sweltering demountable classroom with no air conditioning, willing the bell to ring while fidgetingly-enduring some tedious nature documentary you’d probably find quite interesting now almost forty years later — but I digress.

The first flashback of summers past was triggered by that truly unique fragrance of wet beach towels, then in no particular order the smell of a real Christmas tree, coconut oil, and sights of kids riding their new bikes from Santa with the pristine paint glinting — but not for long after a few inevitable “stacks”. You can never erase that wonderful aroma of vinegar on take away chips by the beach, accompanied of course by the obligatory cranky seagull, the searing sensation of hot sand burning feet pathetically softened by years trapped in shoes and offices. There’s that stunning colour of the summer sky, so blue they haven’t invented an adjective for it yet… and sadly the threat and devastating reality of bushfires, which evoked memories of still-smouldering Eucalyptus leaves falling out of a ominously smoke-hazed sky at Palm Beach years ago.

On a slightly brighter note, who can forget that valiant quest for a parking spot in a shopping centre or at the beach — with the moment of unbridled joy when you see the magnificent white aura of reversing lights appear before you.

In case I needed any reminding I was smack bang back in the middle of a glorious Sydney summer, this announcement was made on the ferry to Watson’s Bay, “If anyone’s interested in the cricket, Australia are 4 for 251”.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2012

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Random Swill beach images

“Beach (/bēCH/), n., a shore of a body of water covered by sand, gravel, or larger rock fragments.”

Images ©Steve Williams 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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