Australian cricket, or ‘Cricket Australia’ as they prefer to be known, is doing everything it possibly can to stamp out personality, character and individual thinking from the sport. And it’s pathetic to watch.
Having been humiliated by the cavernous mouth of Glenn McGrath in the West Indies a year ago when he spewed vitriol all over Ramnaresh Sarwan, McGrath’s bosses are now behaving like anally retentive librarians.
A couple of weeks ago former Zimbabwe batsman Murray Goodwin was officially reprimanded by Cricket Australia for having the temerity to suggest that his former team mates were the subject of race quotas during selection. And, therefore, that some players were not in the team on merit. Wow. Murray Goodwin should have been reprimanded for wasting the earth’s air speaking the bloody obvious.
Instead, he was reprimanded and charged with bringing the game into disrepute. What the hell, you may ask, has Western Australia or Cricket Australia got to do with Goodwin’s right to comment on the game in Zimbabwe? And what was disreputable about his comments?
(Incidentally, Australian national teams have been selected for decades with administrators bending over backwards to include a Western Australian, just to keep their distant, Perth-based cousins involved. No matter how undeserving they were.)
But a couple of days ago Australian Cricket’s suits truly extended the boundaries of feeble mindedness. I mean, REALLY outdid even their most pedantic efforts to date.
Right arm fast bowler Brad Williams was omitted from the squad to play the first Test against India after playing well in the previous Test against Zimbabwe. Left armer Nathan Bracken was selected for his debut, instead.
Williams, asked for a comment on his dropping by a journalist, quipped: “Dunno mate, I guess I bowl with the wrong arm.” Well. It took a few days for the 200-or-so people in Cricket Australia’s offices to recover from the shock, but when they did – boy did the Public Relations machine go into overdrive!
Such was the appalling and shocking nature of Williams’ comment that a mere reprimand was deemed wholly insufficient. No, no. Here was a man who needed “counseling”!! I kid you not. Here is the opening line of Cricket Australia’s press release.
“Cricket Australia today said it had counseled fast-bowler Brad Williams about public comments made about his non-selection in the Australian team for the first 3-sponsored Test against India in Brisbane.”
Astonishing. But such is the depth of manpower and talent at the disposal of Cricket Australia’s PR/Communications department that they are even able to release comments and statements on behalf of the errant players whom they are “counseling”.
Here we go: “Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said that Williams had expressed deep remorse about the comments and conveyed those sentiments to Cricket Australia administration, Australian Test captain Stephen Waugh and Chairman of the National Selection Panel, Trevor Hohns.”
Yeah, right. Of course he expressed deep remorse. Wouldn’t you if you’d said something so blasphemously offensive? Anyway, here’s more of the statement – it’s great stuff!
“Cricket Australia has undertaken a complete review of the incident, and whilst it is clear that the comments are not appropriate, it was felt that he didn’t have a case to answer under the Cricket Australia Code of Behaviour,” Mr Sutherland said.
A complete review, huh? That sounds like a wise investment of funds. Clearly no need for the UCB to advise its Aussie counterparts on how to waste money. Sorry, I digress. The statement is only just warming up!
“However from a Cricket Australia perspective, we felt it was necessary to counsel the player and educate him about appropriate protocol moving forward.”
There is more, including a grieving Williams expressing remorse and a desire to “put this behind me and concentrate on my cricket” which was exactly the same comment the PR department used for the recent disciplinary cases of Shane Warne (three times), Brett Lee (twice), McGrath and Goodwin.
Australia has great Academies and they appear to have produced a factory manufacturing excellent cricketers, but the last people to try and engineer their sports peoples’ brains were East German and Russian gymnastic and athletic coaches, and look what happened to them.
By traveling this road Cricket Australia is going to see its arse, in all its hairy glory, and long may they enjoy it.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.