Wednesday 3 November 2010

Sex, bribes, Marcus North...

Colin Cowdrey gets into a fight with his wife in the car on the way back from a party, and pulls out a clump of her hair... Len Hutton checks himself into rehab for alcohol abuse... Geoff Boycott 'forgets' that he's supposed to get out for less than 2o in a one-day international because Ray Illingworth's promised him $20,000 if he does... Don Bradman takes three girls back to his hotel room whilst on tour and then encourages one of them to 'jump ship' onto his roomie's bed because he's feeling 'a bit left out'... The Rev David Shepherd enjoys an encounter with a woman known fondly as 'The Perth Stripper'...

Not very likely, is it? Yet times change, and so do the kind of things that cricketers find themselves doing. Herschelle Gibbs has really raised the bar as far as the tell-all cricket yarn is concerned - To The Point is not exactly Don't Tell Kath. And no doubt agents are already approaching Jesse Ryder, Andrew Symonds etc.

But if you thought that Hershy had provided the most extraordinary thing you'd read this week, think again. Because the Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that the next captain of Australia could be... er, Marcus North. 'The team is not divided to the point of implosion, but a number of senoir players remain firmly opposed to the idea that Clarke will succeed Ricky Ponting...'

It has been generally accepted that an Ashes defeat this winter would mean the end of Ponting. With the kind of vacuum that might admit Marcus North to the job developing beneath him, that can no longer be considered a certainty. In a way, the decision to sack Ponting would smack of a kind of arrogance. If Australia lose, it will be because the team is not good enough any more, and that's hardly Ponting's fault. And unless he was prepared to swallow a demotion, it would also mean sacking Australia's best batsman.

It's easy to forget that England and Australia are the fourth and fifth best Test sides in the world. Both need to be pragmatic about winning and losing. The Australians might be best off regarding Ponting as more of a Border figure than a Waugh.

1 comment:

David Barry said...

I'm going off something a friend half-remembered reading once, so no guarantees if this is true, but apparently there were several Australians who fell sick to "social diseases" during the 1896 Ashes tour. The newspapers of the day didn't give details on the illnesses because that sort of thing wasn't to be talked about publicly.

Keith Miller's exploits are well known. And I'm sure there was the odd cricketer with an alcohol problem in the olden days.

I'm sure things have changed, but I don't know by how much.